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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | May 15, 2022

A look at the DII baseball Power 10 rankings before the championship begins

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

The 2022 DII baseball championship is about to begin. Before the 56-team bracket is unveiled on Sunday, May 15 on NCAA.com, we need one final pre-tournament DII baseball Power 10 ranking.

As I’ve mentioned in the previous rankings, this season’s upper echelon of teams has been extremely tight, and once again that is the case. In looking at my spreadsheet, there are four teams that could be No. 1 right now. North Greenville, who reached No. 1 right here on April 29 in the previous Power 10, won the Conference Carolinas championship and maintain the top spot.

PREVIOUS POWER 10: North Greenville on top of the last rankings

One thing to note. A team winning its conference championship certainly helped in these final rankings, but in the same respect, I tried not to weigh losing a conference championship too heavily. DII baseball is a fickle beast, and one series should not be a season make. The DII playoffs, be it the conference tournament or the NCAA DII tournament, is not always for the favorite. Outside of Wingate, N.C., who picked the Bulldogs to win the 2021 DII baseball championship? The answer is no one, and if you think losing the SAC championship game to a ridiculously talented Lenoir-Rhyne team makes them any less of a contender, think again.

Your weekly reminder: These are my rankings and not a poll — there is no assembly of voters deciding which team ranks where. I try to combine the eye-test (what you see in the standings and DII stats) with the metrics (what the selection committee sees) to come up with a unique ranking somewhere in between the NCBWA coaches poll and the regional rankings.

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DII baseball Power 10 rankings (all games through Saturday, May 14)

No. 1 North Greenville | Previous: 1

The Crusaders finally moved into the No. 1 spot nationally and hold tight at No. 1 in the Power 10 for a second-straight ranking. The Southeast is an absolutely loaded region so to be sitting atop the regional rankings is quite the impressive feat. North Greenville tested itself all season, playing the top teams in the region, including those outside its conference, and came out of those ranked matchups with a winning record. Talk about being battle-tested.

No. 2 Central Missouri | Previous: 2

The Mules are MIAA champions and in other news, water is wet. Central Missouri now has back-to-back-to-back-to-back MIAA tournament wins, so for me to tell you this was the best coaching job Kyle Crookes has done in his tenure speaks volumes. The Mules lost two of the best players in DII baseball and utterly dominated a tough conference and DII baseball after a shaky first week. The Mules have been among the final three teams standing in each of the past two DII baseball championships… don’t be surprised to see them there again.

No. 3 Tampa | Previous: 4

The Spartans won another Sunshine State Conference title and look poised to make another deep run in the DII baseball championship. This pitching staff is absurd, leading DII baseball in ERA at 2.61 and tied for the third-best WHIP at 1.16. When you combine the timely hitting and experienced bats on offense with a pitching staff this stingy, another trip to Cary doesn’t seem unreasonable.

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No. 4 Point Loma | Previous: 5

I don’t care a single bit if I sound like a broken record: One of the greatest regular-season turnarounds in recent DII baseball lore is complete. Point Loma finished 43-7 and PacWest champions one year after winning a mere 11 games and posting the second-worst record in the conference. This team is loaded with a high baseball IQ, and it shows as they are among the top three in DII baseball in ERA, WHIP and fielding percentage. When a team executes almost seamlessly in those departments, you are looking at a strong contender to head to Cary in June.

No. 5 Angelo State | Previous: 9

The Rams took a little bit to get going this season, but here we are, ready for the selection show and Angelo State is Lone Star Conference champions once again. West Texas A&M took a four-game series from the Rams in San Angelo, Texas, the weekend of April 8-10 and ignited a fire. Angelo State hasn’t lost since, and that includes defeating West Texas A&M in back-to-back games to win the LSC tournament.

No. 6 Wingate | Previous: 3

As I said, the Bulldogs take a very slight ding for not coming out on top of the SAC, and that’s for a few reasons. One, Lenoir-Rhyne is very good in every department, so this was a pretty even matchup and by no means deserving of falling out of the top-10. Secondly, despite the loss to the Bears, Wingate still has a higher in-conference RPI, higher performance indicator and one more win against teams with a .500 record. Now, the Bulldogs enter the DII baseball championship (though the bracket hasn’t been announced, I am confident they will still get an at-large bid) with a ton of experience from last year’s run. This Southeast bracket is going to be really fun to watch.

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No. 7 Columbus State | Previous: 6

The Cougars are in the Peach Belt Conference championship once again and, win or lose, look like yet another DII bracket-bound team that is going to cause utter chaos in the Southeast. Kudos to Robert Brooks. The power-hitting catcher slugged his 18th home run of the season, giving him 63 in his career to tie the conference’s all-time mark. This team has a lot of heavy lumber with its 98 home runs a top-10 mark in DII baseball.

No. 8 Southern Arkansas | Previous: 8

The GAC champions have been a top-10 team pretty much all season, and nothing changes heading into the tournament. Dropping 17 on Henderson State to win the GAC tournament speaks volumes to how well this team is playing entering the DII baseball championship. The Muleriders have four sluggers with double-digit home runs which provides the firepower this pitching staff needs. We’ll see how the offense holds up in the DII tournament when it feels like all the pitching steps up a notch.

No. 9 Augustana (SD) | Previous: First five out

This could quickly change as the Vikings square off against nationally-ranked Minnesota State, having to defeat the Mavericks twice to win the NSIC tournament. The Vikings have been a power all season, led by a balance of big hitters and one of the best pitching staffs in all DII baseball, leading the division in WHIP (1.06) and second to Tampa in ERA. The top four teams in the Central Region are as good as it gets, so that pitching may give Augustana an edge next week.

No. 10 Colorado Mesa | Previous: 7

I can see some people debating this on the heels of the loss to MSU Denver in the RMAC championship game (shout out to the Roadrunners for leaving no doubt in a tournament bid after missing out last year), but this team is still very good. The Mavs finished the regular season with the No. 2 RPI in the conference and a 19-7 record against teams with a plus-.500 record, so they handled business, even beating MSU Denver on Friday. Haydn McGeary alone makes this a top-10 team, but the Mavs have three players with at least 22 home runs. This lineup is explosive.

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

First five (ish) out (in alphabetical order)

  • Cal State Monterey Bay
  • Illinois Springfield
  • Lenoir-Rhyne
  • Millersville
  • Minnesota State
  • Southern New Hampshire

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