Angelo State maintained its hold on No. 1 but North Greenville may have thrown together the most impressive weekend, sweeping No. 17 Bellarmine. That helped the Crusaders jump into the top 3 of the latest DII baseball Power 10 rankings.
PRESEASON RANKINGS: The NCAA.com top 25 | NCBWA
This continues to be a somewhat incomplete Power 10. Three teams remain in the top-10 rankings despite not having thrown a pitch yet in the DII baseball season. Because of that, I'll take a look at three teams outside the Power 10 that were highly considered this week based purely on their hot starts.
So, how do I figure out the NCAA.com Power 10 rankings? I use much of the criteria the DII baseball selection committee will use come tournament time, including — but not limited to — strength of schedule, head-to-head matchups, and record against DII opponents. Like last week, with so few games under our belt, I used my preseason rankings, any ranked opponents some teams took down, and how commanding their wins were until more games unfold.
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Here's a look at the second Power 10 of the 2020 DII baseball season.
DII baseball Power 10 rankings: Week 2 (all games through Sunday, Feb. 9)
No. 1 Angelo State | 5-0 | Previous: 1
The Rams are off to a hot start at the plate and on the bump. Trent Baker looks like the ace he was expected to be having struck out 18 and walking just two in his first two starts, allowing two total runs. The team is hitting .349 overall with seven home runs and Jordan Williams, Josh Elvir, Justin Lee and Nicholas Novak all have scored eight runs apiece. It's a long season of highs and lows, but this team is loaded with talent and will be in the top- 10 conversation all year long.
No. 2 UC San Diego | 5-0 | Previous: 3
The Tritons were rolling to a three-game sweep of Point Loma when the final game of the series was cancelled, but still came out taking two much-need wins. Small sample size aside, Brandon Stewart and Aaron Kim are off to red-hot starts, both batting .400 in the early going. If they can stay hot, they make an already dangerous lineup that much scarier. Head coach Eric Newman hasn't really unleashed the pitching just yet, taking two from the Sea Lions in "bullpenning" style, but Luke Mattson looks like a dangerous weapon, already 2-0 with 13 strikeouts in 7.1 innings of relief.
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No. 3 North Greenville |5-1-1 | Previous: 5
I was high on Bellarmine entering the season and the Crusaders had little problem with the Knights, sweeping the weekend and outscoring Bellarmine 21-6 in the process. Of the Crusaders five wins, four are over a pair of top-20 teams, so they have put themselves to the test early. Jeremy Whitehead had a huge weekend, going 8-for-12 — with the rare three-triple game thrown in — but Brady West has been out of his mind, tied for the team lead in hits (12) and home runs (3) while hitting .571 with 13 RBIs already on the season.
No. 4 Colorado Mesa | 2-1 | Previous: 2
It's probably unfair to drop the Mavericks after going on the road to No. 16 Nova Southeastern and coming out ahead, but there isn't much separating the top four teams right now. Their bats look just fine, hitting a combined .324 over the weekend and Spencer Bramwell, Jordan Stubbings, and Haydin McGeary are leading the charge as expected. McGeary, the then-freshman slugging prospect, saw his 2019 season end short, not playing in Mesa's run through Cary, but he's wasted little time getting back into things with two home runs in the series win.
No. 5 Central Missouri | 5-2 | Previous: 4
It was like a repeat of opening weekend for the Mules. Central Missouri lost the opening game of the weekend in heartbreaking, late-inning fashion before storming back to take the series. Ace Mason Green has had no luck this season, having gone five innings in each of his two starts, allowing no runs and striking out 14, but has yet to get a W. This team isn't even playing its best baseball yet and is still 5-2, which is why they keep their high ranking.
No. 6 Ashland | 0-0 | Previous: 6
Not much to report just yet. The Eagles are one of three Power 10 teams who have yet to face a pitch in 2020. In fact, Ashland is still two weeks away from its opening day on Feb. 22, and that will be no easy task. The Eagles open against a Charleston (WV) team that reached Super Regionals last year and then head to Southern Indiana.
No. 7 Mercyhurst | 0-0 | Preseason: 7
The Lakers also await opening day 2020 which comes on Feb. 21 at Davis & Elkins. Millersville, a fellow Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference foe and also in my preseason top 25, is off and running, already 5-2 on the season, setting the bar for the PSAC to chase. Despite some big losses, the Lakers should be able to compete, but we will just have to wait and see.
No. 8 New York Tech | 0-0 | Preseason: 8
New York Tech opens Feb. 20 at the Northeast Challenge and will face some stiff competition in Franklin Pierce and Wilmington (DE) in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina before a four-game series against Southern New Hampshire in a 2019 Super Regional rematch. The Bears return a ton of talent — including player-of-the-year candidate EJ Cumbo and three starting pitchers — so we'll see how much that experience comes into play.
No. 9 Georgia College | 7-0 | Previous: 10
The Bobcats entered the Power 10 last week after taking games from nationally-ranked Tampa and Mount Olive. They followed up a surprising opening weekend by going 4-0 scoring and averaging 13 runs per game. Through seven games the team is hitting .387 with a combined 1.035 OPS having scored 80 runs already on the season. Brennan Crooms and Kyle King have both made two starts, winning both while allowing just one run apiece. Everything is going well for Georgia College right now.
No. 10 (tied) Delta State | 5-1 | Previous: 9
The Statesmen fell one spot to no fault of their own, it's just that the Bobcats are scorching hot. That said, Delta State went 3-0 this weekend, sweeping Lynn. Everyone is hitting right now, evidenced by the .359 team batting average, but Chad Ragland seems to be the catalyst, reaching 17 times in 20 plate appearances thus far (including three hit by pitches, which is an art form when it happens that often).
No. 10 (tied) Mount Olive | 6-1 | Previous: NR
The Trojans improved to 6-1 thanks to a four-win week. Joe Mason, someone we had on the Conference Carolinas player-of-the-year watchlist, is of to a red-hot start, hitting .500 with three long balls already. The starting pitching hasn't been as expected thus far, but with the offense clicking and a favorable couple of weeks on the schedule, Mount Olive needs to be on your radar.
Also considered (in alphabetical order):
- Newberry: The competition hasn't been elite thus far, but I'm not leaving the 7-0 Wolves off the list this early in the season.
- North Georgia: I had the Nighthawks right outside the preseason top 25 coming into the season because I liked their pitching, but apparently it is the bats that make this team dangerous. They've scored double-digit runs in five of the six wins and the one 4-0 victory happened to be head coach Tom Cantrell's No. 900.
- Tampa: The reigning champs had a disastrous opening weekend, but rebounded with a big three-game sweep, winning the weekend by a combined score of 39-3.