May 20, 2013

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. – TMC concluded its regular-season schedule with a first-place finish in the Golden State Athletic Conference and a No. 7 ranking in the NAIA.  A 43-15 regular season record punched the Mustangs' ticket to the 57th annual NAIA World Series Tournament (May 24-31) in Lewiston, Idaho. Below are some notes that highlight the Mustang's 2013 campaign.

Team Notes:

  • The Mustangs are making their second appearance in the NAIA Baseball World Series, and their first since 2000 when they finished third.
  • Their 43 wins (43-15) through the regular season, the GSAC Tournament, and the Opening Round are the most in school history, topping the previous standard of 37, achieved three times
  • After winning their first-ever GSAC regular-season championship by three games, the Mustangs swept through the conference tournament in three games and equaled that in winning the Santa Clarita bracket of the National Championship Opening Round.

Individual Player Notes:

Led by GSAC Player of the Year Steve Karkenny and GSAC Pitcher of the Year A. J. Work, the Mustangs placed five players on the all-conference squad.

#5 Steve Karkenny (Chatsworth, CA):

  • Karkenny, a sophomore outfielder, led the GSAC with 58 rbi, 21 doubles, and 129 total bases.
  • Karkenny finished third in hitting (.354) and second in hits (73), home runs (11), and stolen bases (25).
  • Karkenny also had nine assists and was named to the GSAC Gold Glove Team.

#16 A.J. Work (Boise, ID):

  • Work earned all-conference honors for the second year in a row, going a GSAC-best 12-4 and leading the conference in innings pitched (115.2) and earned-run average (2.49).
  • The senior lefthander made 17 starts and walked only 23 while striking out 77 and worked six or more innings 15 times
  • Chosen to the GSAC Gold Glove Team.

#6 Jon Popadics (Boise, ID):

  • Sophomore shortstop Jon Popadics was brilliant in the field and at the plate, joining both Karkenny and Work on the all-conference and Gold Glove teams.
  • Hitting at or near the top of the order throughout the season, Popadics led the conference in hits (77), runs scored (61), and stolen bases…
  • Popadics notched 24 multi-hit games and had 170 assists.

#27 Tyler Elrod (Modesto, CA):

  • Senior righthander Tyler Elrod was outstanding in his lone season in the blue and gold, fashioning an 8-4 record as the pitching staff’s No. 2 starter.
  • En route to all-conference honors, Elrod made 15 starts and struck out 52 batters in 76.2 innings of work.

#26 Tommy Kister (Saugus, CA):

  • Earning all-conference kudos for the first time, Tommy Kister solidified himself as one of the GSAC’s top closers, posting a single-season record 10 saves.
  • The junior righthander made a staff-high 26 appearances and struck out 32 batters.

Coach Staff Notes:

  • Head coach Monte Brooks led the Mustangs to their most successful regular season in program history and then added a GSAC Tournament title and National Championship Opening Round victory to that.
  • 2013 was Brooks’ eleventh winning season in 17 years at the helm.
  • Brooks currently is the winningest coach in school history and  possesses a 490-365 (.573) record at The Master’s College.

Preview: TMC vs. Northwood (Texas):

On the heels of an impressive 11-7 victory over conference rival San Diego Christian in the final game of the 2013 NAIA National Championship Opening Round-Santa Clarita Bracket on May 11, the Mustangs (43-15) learned on Monday afternoon that they will face Northwood of Texas (43-11) in the first round of the 2013 NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho. First pitch is scheduled for noon on Friday.

TMC, which is making its first NAIA World Series appearance since 2000, enters as the tournament’s No. 5 seed while Northwood is seeded fourth.

The other eight participants are: Faulkner (Ala.), Lee (Tenn.), Embry-Riddle (Fla.), York (Neb.), Lewis-Clark State (Idaho), Sterling (Kan.), Missouri Baptist, and Rogers State (Okla.).

Notably, as of May 5, seven of the 10 World Series teams are ranked among the top ten in the NAIA.

Commenting on the Mustangs’ trip to Idaho later this week, 17th-year head coach Monte Brooks stated, “We are thrilled for the opportunity to play and represent The Master’s College and the Golden State Athletic Conference in the 2013 NAIA World Series.”