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Wayne Cavadi | | April 29, 2022

North Greenville tops the latest DII college baseball Power 10 rankings

DII baseball preview: The top teams and players to look out for in Cary this June

Buckle up, DII baseball fans. The first regional rankings are out, conference tournaments are about to begin and it is just about the most wonderful time of the year: The DII baseball championship tournament.

North Greenville takes over the top spot in the new Power 10 rankings. Like last week, there is little separating No. 1 from No. 5 right now.

Remember, these are my rankings and not a poll — there is no assembly of voters deciding which team ranks where. What I have always tried to do is blend what coaches see in the national poll and what the committee sees in the regional rankings. It is kind of like taking the old "eye test" and mixing in modern metrics to get a ranking all its own.

DII baseball Power 10 rankings (all games through Thursday, April 28)

No. 1 North Greenville | Previous: No. 3

Not sure what’s left for the Crusaders to prove to move to the spot in the national rankings. They have the top RPI in what is, in my opinion, the toughest region in DII baseball this season. They are 21-7 against DII teams with a plus-.500 record. This offense is fun to watch, slashing a combined .344/.435/.555 with 70 home runs and 452 runs scored. The Southeast Regional is going to be one for the ages.

No. 2 Central Missouri | Previous: No. 2

The Mules have played the bulk of their schedule against teams with a better-than-.500 record and are 24-5 against said teams. Central Missouri posted an impressive .640 in-region RPI in the first regional rankings, which is tops in this week’s Power 10. It has been fun to watch new names emerge in this offense like Brennen van Breusegen and John Prudhom who are both hitting for high average and double-digit home runs.

No. 3 Wingate | Previous: No. 4

The Bulldogs have put the win in Wingate the past two seasons and look poised to make their title defense an exciting one this May. They have shown they can beat the big teams, now 17-5 against teams with a plus-.500 record and 42-6 overall as they await the SAC tournament to start. Much like last year, this team is balanced and can win games by outscoring its opponent or shutting them down at the plate.

No. 4 Tampa | Previous: No. 1

The Spartans have had a rough April but don’t be fooled — this is still one of the best teams in DII baseball. They really shine on the bump where they are third in ERA at 2.78 and sixth in WHIP at 1.20. Tampa has dropped a series to Lee and Florida Southern in April and have a huge series to open May against Rollins remaining on the slate. We know this team is tournament ready, it’s just a matter of bringing it altogether in May… like they tend to do.

NO-NO TIMES TWO: St. Cloud State pitches two no-hitters in six days

No. 5 Point Loma | Previous: No. 5

What a season for the Sea Lions. In one of the largest turnaround seasons in recent DII baseball history, Point Loma sits at 38-6 and in firm control of the West. This is a scrappy team that wins games because of sound fundamentals: the Sea Lions lead DII baseball in ERA (2.32), WHIP (1.04), strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.58), and are second in fielding percentage. This will be a very tough team to beat come tourney time; we’ll see how the lack of experience holds up in May.

No. 6 Columbus State | Previous: No. 6

I told you I think the Southeast Region is the best in the land, and the Cougars show why. They are the third team from the region in the top six of the Power 10 rankings. Per usual, Columbus State checks the big boxes for regional play with a 36-8 record — including 16-7 against teams with a winning record — the second-best RPI in a stacked region and a strong performance indicator. The pitching is starting to look good, but this team can slug its way to victory any day of the week.

No. 7 Colorado Mesa | Previous: No. 8

The Mavericks are starting to look like the Colorado Mesa team that scares opponents in the tournament on an annual basis. They took over the top spot in the South Central with a strong RPI and 15 wins against teams with a record of .500 or better. As usual, teams will have to have their best day pitching to stop this lineup: the Mavs are .372/.451/.655 with 87 home runs and 441 runs scored.

BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE: Ridiculously hot offenses right now

No. 8 Southern Arkansas | Previous: No. 7

The Muleriders have been strong from the first pitch of the season, and dropping a spot is no indication that they aren’t among DII baseball’s elite this season. Southern Arkansas is winners of seven in a row and getting even hotter when it matters most. It has a nice blend of power and average in its lineup and while it can bomb away, it doesn’t need the home run to win ballgames. A 17-8 mark against teams with a winning record shows this team is battle tested.  

No. 9 Angelo State | Previous: First five out

It’s an odd season for the Rams when they aren’t in the top five all year long, and that speaks to the program head coach Kevin Brooks has built in San Angelo, Texas. But here they are, peaking at the right time and back in the Power 10. The Rams are 36-10 and got there having to replace their best bat and ace from last season. It will be interesting to see how the pitching holds up in tournament play, but as always, this team can hit and score runs.

No. 10 Augustana (SD) | Previous: First five out

This final spot could have gone several ways, including the Vikings' NSIC-rival Minnesota State. The bottom line is Augie has a strong record, signature wins, has played a reasonably tough schedule, and has the third best RPI in a tough Central Region. The Vikings are balanced with a .324 team batting average and 2.82 team ERA. Those are the teams most dangerous come tourney time.

SURPRISE, SURPRISE: 5 DII baseball teams that have pleasantly surprised, so far

First five out (in alphabetical order)

  • Gannon: Typically, teams in the Atlantic Region don’t have as strong a strength of schedule that Gannon has (.565) which makes its .600 in-region RPI and 13.8 performance indicator more impressive. A recent series win over Seton Hill made a statement.
  • Illinois Springfield: It’s funny. I had the Prairie Stars in the preseason top 10 when no one else did, and now that they have returned to the national top 10, I have them just outside. It really comes down to metrics, because talent-wise, this team can hit with the best of them and has nice pitching to complement the lineup.
  • Minnesota State: A low SOS is what kept these Mavericks out of the top 10, but man, this pitching staff is strong and can do serious damage in short tournament play.
  • Trevecca Nazarene: See Illinois Springfield. Talent-wise, there is no doubt that this is one of the best teams in the land, but in Power 10 rankings, I try to balance regional metrics into the equation. Don’t sleep on the Trojans.
  • West Texas A&M: The Buffs have been in the Power 10 for the bulk of the season and just missed here — by centimeters. A series win over Angelo State earlier in April could lead to some debate here; let’s see what the Buffs do to close out the regular season.

Just missed: Cal State Monterey Bay, Florida Southern, Newberry, Southern New Hampshire, Slippery Rock

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