The DII baseball regional rankings are set to drop next Wednesday, April 26, and that means it's crunch time in the DII baseball season. For North Greenville, it means it's just another week atop the Power 10 rankings. That's every single week since the Crusaders won the championship that they've held the top spot.
There wasn't too much change in the faces of the latest Power 10; however, several spots have changed. The biggest leap is that Southern Arkansas has played its way back into the top 10, a spot the Muleriders were in to open the season.
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Before we get to the rankings, here are a few series that could have a great impact on both the Power 10 and first regional rankings next week.
DII baseball series to watch
Series of the weekend — St. Edward's at Angelo State: This is a big one. These are the top two teams in the Lone Star Conference and the No. 1 seed in the South Central region is up for grabs. Angelo State has the top hitting team in the conference (and one of the best in DII), but also has a potent pitching staff that tops the LSC. They allow the second-fewest homers in the LSC, while St. Edward's hits the third-most dingers in the conference. If you want to know where to focus, that's a good starting place.
Must-see MIAA action — Central Oklahoma at Central Missouri: The Mules are on a tear and though have the same record as Missouri Southern atop the MIAA, they recently defeated the Lions to have a slight edge. The Bronchos started the season red hot, and though they have cooled a bit, they are still a 28-13 team looking for a spot in the bracket. This is a showdown of the top two pitching staffs in the MIAA, so it should be a fun battle in every game.
Four more series to watch: Each one of these would be a tremendous boost for the winning team, especially if one of the teams can sweep.
- Northwood at Ashland
- Newberry at Lenoir-Rhyne
- Embry-Riddle at Florida Southern
- Slippery Rock at Seton Hill
The seventh DII baseball Power 10 rankings of 2023 season
(All games through April 16)
No. 1 North Greenville | Previous: 1: That was a big series win for the Crusaders against Belmont Abbey, a team that would be high in the Southeast Region rankings were they released today. This team has been No. 1 since opening day and is showing no signs of slowing down. Marek Chlup has been pretty much on fire since his return from the World Baseball Classic and is currently on a 10-game hitting streak with six multi-hit games and four homers over that span.
No. 2 Quincy | Previous: 2: Here's a fun stat I was told. Quincy has played just 36 games this year and has 19 wins over opponents with a plus-.500 record. So, that's a winning record against teams with a winning record, and that's exactly why Quincy remains ranked where it is. The Hawks have played the toughest schedule in DII baseball bar none and just keep winning ball games. Also, since everyone loves the long ball: Quincy is averaging 2.41 home runs per game. The DII baseball record is 2.40 by Azusa Pacific two years ago. We are officially on record watch.
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No. 3 (tie) Angelo State, Tampa | Previous: 3 and 5 respectively: Let's start with Angelo State. The Rams are now 36-6 heading into a huge weekend showdown against St. Edward's. Now, the Rams have not played a tough schedule at all, which hurts their RPI, so I do get asked why the Rams remain top three. It's a fair question, but you play the schedule you are given, and they have utterly dominated it. The Rams offense is among the division leaders in hitting, on base percentage, scoring and stolen bases and may have the pitcher of the year in Kaden Bragg. This weekend is a good litmus test, but if they come out ahead, there should no longer be any questions why this team is ranked so highly.
Tampa has played the third-toughest schedule in DII baseball and currently sits at 30-7. The Spartans get dinged just a bit for series losses against some big DII baseball brass, but they also have signature wins against tournament teams all over their schedule. What is remarkable about Tampa is how balanced the team is. The Spartans are top five in DII baseball in fielding percentage (.980), ERA (3.31), WHIP (1.22), and batting average (.344) and their .440 on base percentage is a mere 0.01 points away from being a top-10 mark. This team can do it all, and should without a doubt be a Super Region (at least) team once again.
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No. 5 Rollins | Previous: 4: Can't ding Rollins too much for the loss to Colorado Mesa, especially on the road. But as I'm sure you've already noticed, things are pretty tight among teams in the Power 10 from top to bottom right now. The Tars have played a super tough schedule and have one of the best RPIs in the division, so one series loss with all the signature series wins they already have keeps them very high in the rankings. I honestly don't know who would be No. 1 in the South right now. The overall metrics leans towards Tampa very slightly, but Rollins has the head-to-head. With a series left against Florida Southern, it's going to be an amazing finish in the SSC.
No. 6 (tie) East Stroudsburg, Millersville | Previous: 6 and 7 respectively: Last week I mentioned how close the Warriors and Marauders were in the selection metrics that it made it so hard to separate the two. They are still both top-10 in RPI (with Millersville slightly ahead), and Millersville has played a slightly tougher schedule. The difference last week was East Stroudsburg was coming off the big series win over the Maruaders. However, this past weekend, the Warriors lost a series to Bloomsburg, while Millersville swept a Shippensburg team that has played a very tough schedule and is better than what its record may say. These teams are still incredibly close, and while East Stroudsburg may have the slightest edge in the head-to-head, the overall picture lands them tied.
No. 8 Colorado Mesa| Previous: 10: The Mavericks are 23-4 since a start to the season that saw them kind of all over the place. They picked up another massive series win and seem to be trending in the right direction. Building off the momentum of the Rollins series, they have three weekends left in the regular season agains three of the bottom four in the RMAC, so it is very possible to win out. Right now, the Mavericks have an edge in some categories for No. 1 in the South Central for the first regional rankings, so for both Angelo State and Colorado Mesa, every single game counts from here on out.
No. 9 (tie) Central Missouri, Southern Arkansas| Previous: 9 and First five out respectively: Southern Arkansas is winning some big series and has seen both its SOS and RPI rise quickly the past few weeks. Now with 30 wins, the Muleriders are back in their Power 10 perch and with wins over Ouachita Baptist and Arkansas Tech are creating a bit of a cushion atop the GAC. Central Missouri, simply put, remains on fire. The Mules now have a midweek win against Quincy, and back-to-back series wins against nationally ranked Missouri Southern and regionally ranked (I would think) Pittsburg State. Another huge series against Central Oklahoma awaits, but it the Mules win that one, they will have a firm edge on the Central Region host seed.
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First five (ish) out (in alphabetical order):
As it was in the Power 10, the first five out were very tight as well. Here's a few extra for you this week.
- Cal State Monterey Bay: The Otters could have hit the top 10 with a series victory over Cal State San Bernardino, but the two West powers split a thrilling series. This team's metrics could have them No. 1 in the West right now.
- Florida Southern: I don't know why the Mocs don't get more love on the national level because this is a really good team. Bryce Safferwich and Jeff Liquori are two proven stud hitters, and while the pitching may not be elite, the bullpen is deep, which is big in the postseason. A big series against a tricky Embry-Riddle awaits this weekend.
- Illinois Springfield: The Prairie Stars fall out, but just barely. For me, they have played two tough series in the past three weeks and split each one. That shows they can hang with anyone, but simply needed to win one of those to stay in the top 10.
- Missouri Southern: The Lions have been on fire since the Central Missouri series loss and have a good chance to keep that rolling this week. Nate Mieszkowski continues to be one of the best all-around hitters in the MIAA, hitting .399 with 11 doubles and 12 home runs with a team-high 10 stolen bases.
- Montevallo: The Falcons are now tied in record atop the GSC with West Florida after bouncing back with a much-needed series win against Delta State. I still think this team has an incredibly balanced lineup that is hitting .322 with 84 doubles, 58 homers, and 44 stolen bases, but the pitching will have to really tighten up to go far in the South.
- St. Edward's: The Hilltoppers have matched their 2022 win total and have a big one this weekend against Angelo State on the road. Lance Little, Cullen Ainsworth, and Luke Johnson, who have combined for 35 homers so far this year, will need to bring the boom sticks to San Angelo to give St. Edward's a chance.
- Wayne State (MI): The Warriors have been hovering around 16 or 17 for much of the season and finally get their due. They have handled business against some Midwest foes like Grand Valley State and Ashland in April to build their resume. Keep an eye on this starting rotation, as all three arms can make some noise this postseason.
- West Florida: The Argos are heating up at the right time, and are on absolute fire. The have won nine games in a row and won 12 of their last 13 against meaningful teams in the region and against the fourth-toughest SOS in DII baseball. It starts with a solid three — Kade Mandersheid, Dalton Neuschwander, and Major Posey — on the mound.
In the conversation
This is the best of the rest. As you can tell from all the ties above, the 2023 DII baseball season has been a great one thus far, and the top of the heap isn't that far apart. This list will remain for the rest of the season, in alphabetical order, and rounds out what would be a top 35.
- Arkansas Tech
- Azusa Pacific
- Belmont Abbey
- Cal State San Bernardino
- Columbus State
- Mount Olive
- Minnesota State
- MSU Denver
- New Haven
- Point Loma
- Seton Hill
- Southern New Hampshire
- Valdosta State
- West Chester