The DII baseball selection show is just days away, streaming right here on NCAA.com at 11 p.m. ET this Sunday, May 14. Before the tournament begins, we have one more Power 10 rankings to uncover.
Despite Mount Olive winning the Conference Carolinas tournament after North Greenville was surprisingly ousted (dropping back-to-back games no less) the Crusaders are still our No. 1 team. To be honest, there was a really strong case for Millersville to jump a few people and take the No. 1 spot until the Marauders, too, were ousted from the PSAC tournament in upset fashion. The balance of the Marauders roster gives their metrics — which are some of the best in DII baseball — a big boost. Instead, the Crusaders go from the preseason to the final rankings before the tournament as the No. 1 team — a first in the history of these Power 10 rankings.
Now, with all the regional rankings in the books and many conference tourneys underway, let's make a first prediction for who makes it to Cary, NC for the DII baseball finals. My official predictions will come next week after the selection show.
8 for Cary
Atlantic: Millersville — The Marauders will be fueled by that stunner to Indiana (PA) and avenge the early season series loss to East Stroudsburg. But Seton Hill makes a compelling case — these Griffins are a really good team and may have this spot next week.
Central: Central Missouri — The meaningful series and games the Mules have won down the stretch make them a contender to win it all.
East: Franklin Pierce — If I'm being honest, I really like this SNHU Penmen team. But the East is known for surprises, and if the Ravens roll to the NE10 title and have that momentum, watch out.
Midwest: Quincy — This is a team that has shown it can beat anyone, including Illinois Springfield, which will be a huge obstacle in reaching Cary. However, this year seems like a year of destiny for the Hawks.
South Central: Angelo State — As always, this is both the easiest and toughest to project. It's easy, because at the beginning of the season you can pick the Rams or Mavericks and have a real shot. It's hard, because those two are in the hunt every year until the last pitch. Right now, with the Rams the host seed, they have the edge, but if something happens and Mesa becomes the host, my prediction will change.
South: Tampa — Can Rollins keep the momentum going and make it two trips in a row? Maybe, but I think we are heading to a very deep run for the Spartans.
Southeast: North Greenville — Seriously? I need to explain why? They have been No. 1 for a calendar year. There you go.
West: Point Loma — I have felt this team was better than its record showed all season. We're about to see why.
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No. 1 North Greenville | Previous: 1: The surprise of the week was certainly North Greenville not winning a game in the Conference Carolinas tournament. They were stunned by Francis Marion and defeated by a very good Belmont Abbey team. That said, the Crusaders have a top-five RPI and more wins against teams with a winning record than anyone in DII baseball. The desire to repeat and the vision of how hard it truly is may have re-awoken this lineup for what it needs to do. Marek Chlup and John Michael Faile are a nightmare to face, much like Mike "The Nightmare" Rodriguez is in the back of that bullpen. The pitching will need to come together and not repeat what happened this past weekend, but this is still the team to beat.
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No. 2 Quincy | Previous: 2: By the time you read this, the GLVC baseball tournament will be underway and the Hawks will be on a quest to end the season as dominantly as they have played all year. They are red-hot, entering the postseason winners of 10 in a row and are top five in just about everything the selection committee values (RPI, wins against plus-.500 competition, and SOS to name a few). Luke Napleton, the leader of the DII baseball bomb squad that is on a historic home run pace, was named GLVC player of the year, putting up an outstanding .370/.434/.878 slash line with 26 home runs.
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No. 3 (tied) Angelo State, Tampa| Previous: 3 (tied): There is little that separates these two teams in the metrics, and both are looking good so they stay tied. Tampa has a tough series against fellow Power-10-er Newberry that could honestly boost them to No. 1 with a sweep were there to be a Power 10 rankings next week. Angelo State opened the Lone Star Conference tournament with a pair of wins but need to win it all to hold onto that top seed. As if Kade Bragg wasn't great enough, he picked up his first save of the season. The Rams' ace has had an incredible season.
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No. 5 Colorado Mesa | Previous: 6: The Mavericks are on fire right now, winners of 14 in a row and coming off a win to open the RMAC tournament. Despite not having much depth in pitching, the offense may be too much to handle, hitting .376 as a team with a combined 1.095 OPS and 89 home runs to go with a stupendous 567 runs scored. Who needs pitching when you're scoring more than 11 runs per game?
No. 6 Millersville | Previous: 3: The Marauders lost in their opening game of the PSAC championship to a sub-.500 team, so the drop pretty much explains itself. That said, this team has the history and coaching experience to navigate an always tough Atlantic Region and as I mentioned earlier, has so much balance. Bren Taylor is a superstar, hitting .415 with 23 extra base hits and 19 stolen bases, while the starting rotation is deep, a huge weapon this time of year.
No. 7 West Florida | Previous: 7: Yup, I still have this team very highly ranked, but now that the Argos are Gulf South champions, it was hard to drop them. They have won 21 of their last 22 games and that includes having to beat Delta State and Valdosta State in a Tuesday doubleheader to win the GSC. And they did it in fun fashion, scoring two in the 10th on a pinch-hit home run to take the title. The South is deep, but the Argos are showing that all they do is win.
No. 8 Central Missouri | Previous: 8: I already said it up top, but Central Missouri has played some tough teams down the stretch and keep on winning. The MIAA tournament will be tough, but this really seems like a contender to win it all. The lineup can make contact and hit the long ball and this bullpen is deep. As long as Conner Wolf and Cole LaLonde can give the Mules significant innings, the bullpen will be a major weapon.
No. 9 Rollins | Previous: 9: The Tars dropped one game but still won the series against Saint Leo. Now, only a tricky Embry-Riddle awaits as Rollins preps for another run to Cary. The biggest takeaway this season on Rollins is it is a lot like last year: The Tars seemingly have gotten better from first pitch to today. That was the kind of roll they got on when they took down Tampa in the Super Regional, so don't be surprised if they are in the conversation again in a couple of weeks.
No. 10 Newberry | Previous: 10: Newberry just won its first South Atlantic Conference tournament of this millennium (that is not a typo). Congratulations — you win a three-game series against Tampa to close out the season. How the series goes against the Spartans won't hurt or help the Wolves too much in the Southeast Region rankings, but a victory would rocket them up these rankings. If you follow my stuff, you know what I think of the Southeast. If Newberry is the top team in the SAC, then it is a top-10 team in the country.
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First five (or so) out (in alphabetical order):
Here's a few extra for you this week.
- Cal State Monterey Bay
- Illinois Springfield
- Missouri Southern
- Mount Olive
- Seton Hill
- Southern Arkansas
- Southern New Hampshire
- Wayne State (MI)
In the conversation
This is the best of the rest. The 2023 DII baseball season has been a great one thus far, and the top of the heap isn't that far apart. Here are the teams that round out what would be a top 35 in alphabetical order.
- Alabama Huntsville
- Azusa Pacific
- Belmont Abbey
- Cal State San Bernardino
- Columbus State
- East Stroudsburg
- Florida Southern
- Minnesota State
- MSU Denver
- Ouachita Baptist
- Point Loma
- St. Edward's
- UT Tyler
- UNC Pembroke
- Valdosta State