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National champion Texas Lutheran closes out year on top in NFCA poll

National champion Texas Lutheran closes out year on top in NFCA poll

SEGUIN, Texas – For the first time in school history, the Texas Lutheran Bulldogs are ranked No. 1 in a national softball poll.
 
After winning the 2019 NCAA Division III Softball National Championship, the Bulldogs received all eight first-place votes and a perfect 200 total points to finish No. 1 in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association Division III Top 25 poll.
 
A week ago today, the Bulldogs stormed to the national title in Tyler, Texas with 12-4 and 6-1 victories over Emory (Ga.) in the best-of-three championship series.
 
TLU won all five games it played at the DIII College World Series and went 10-1 in NCAA post-season play during its championship run.
 
The Bulldogs were 3-0 in the Marshall, Texas Regional, 2-1 in the McMinnville, Ore. Super Regional (against Linfield College), and 5-0 at the World Series.
 
Counting the three wins and no defeats at the 2019 Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference Championship, the Bulldogs were 13-1 overall in the 2019 post-season.
 
The Bulldogs (40-8) ended 2019 with an 11-4 record against teams ranked in the final Top 25 poll.
 
In the run to the title, TLU tallied victories over: then-No. 2 East Texas Baptist, then-No. 6 Birmingham Southern (Alab.), then No. 5 Linfield, then-No. 4 Williams (Mass.), unranked Eastern Connecticut State, then-No. 19 Trine (Ind.), and then No. 18 Emory.
 
Emory (39-14) jumped up to second in the final rankings after securing the national runner-up finish. The Eagles suffered their only two losses (to TLU) of the World Series on the final day in Tyler.
 
The six other NCAA championship finals teams all made the NFCA final top-eight, with third-place national finishers Eastern Connecticut (36-13) and Trine (37-8) ranked third and fourth.
 
Fifth-place finishers Williams (39-7) and Illinois Wesleyan (39-10) came in at fifth and sixth, and seventh-place finishers St. Thomas (43-7) and Randolph-Macon (30-17) concluded their seasons at seventh and eighth, respectively.
 
Linfield (39-8-1) and Lynchburg (37-15), who lost to the two national finalists in the NCAA super regionals, completed the top 10.
 
Linfield and Lynchburg were followed by two-time national champion Virginia Wesleyan (42-6), which was upset by Lynchburg in the NCAA regionals.
 
The NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll is selected by eight NCAA Division III head coaches representing the eight NCAA regions.
 
Final 2019 records are listed, with first-place votes in parentheses.
 
NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll – June 3, 2019
Rank Team 2019 Record Points Previous
1 Texas Lutheran (8) 40-8 200 8
2 Emory 39-14 192 18
3 Eastern Connecticut State 36-13 184 NR
4 Trine 37-8 176 19
5 Williams 39-7 168 4
6 Illinois Wesleyan 39-10 160 7
7 St. Thomas (Minn.) 43-7 152 3
8 Randolph-Macon 30-17 144 RV
9 Linfield 39-8-1 136 5
10 Lynchburg 37-15 128 17
11 Virginia Wesleyan 42-6 114 1
12 East Texas Baptist 39-6 113 2
13 Rowan 33-15 96 23
14 Birmingham-Southern 35-7 90 6
15 Christopher Newport 37-9 78 11
16 Ithaca 28-9-1 62 10
17 Thomas More 34-11 54 12
18 Geneseo 37-13 52 RV
19 Carthage 30-16 49 NR
20 The College of New Jersey 33-8 47 9
21 Central (Iowa) 27-10 39 15
22 Mary Hardin-Baylor 28-16 34 22
23 Massachusetts Institute of Technology 30-12-1 32 NR
24 Tufts 32-10 24 20
25 DePauw 33-14 19 16
 
Others receiving votes: Wisconsin-La Crosse 16, Arcadia 12, Southwestern 12, Cortland 7, Manhattanville 5, Coe 3, and Lake Forest 2.
 
Dropped out: Calvin, Endicott, Kean, and Wisconsin-Eau Claire.
 
* NOTE: Texas-Tyler is reclassifying to NCAA Division II, and Pfeiffer continues the process of going from Division II to Division III. Neither were eligible for the NCAA Division III Championship.