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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | February 18, 2020

Augustana (SD) claims top spot in DII softball Power 10 rankings shakeup

Augustana (S.D.) wins the 2019 DII Softball National Championship

What a wild week in DII softball. Four teams in last week's Power 10 suffered multiple losses, while the defending national champs got back on track with a perfect week. That led to some new faces and a changing of the guard in the latest DII softball Power 10.

ICYMI: 5 things we learned on DII softball's opening weekend

Almost every team is finally underway. Grand Valley State was supposed to start this past weekend, but the Music City Invitational was washed out. The Lakers — probably unfairly — fall from the Power 10, but still just miss. Because of odd situations and early off weekends, we'll continue to extend the Power 10 to five teams that just missed. 

How do the DII softball Power 10 rankings work? These are my top 10 rankings, put together using much of the same criteria the selection committee uses for the DII softball championship tournament. These early rankings will be based more on current record and preseason ranking, but as we move forward I'll look at strength of schedule, head-to-head matchups and records against DII ranked opponents amongst other criteria.

Let's break down the second Power 10 of the 2020 DII softball season.

The DII softball Power 10: Week 3 (all games and stats through Feb. 16)

No. 1 Augustana (SD) | 8-2 | Previous: 2
The Vikings headed to Denver this past weekend after a week off and looked refreshed. They won four games by a combined score of 29-4. Ashley Mickschl is looking sharp in the circle, already 5-0 with a 1.71 ERA and 0.76 WHIP. The pitching staff has a combined 2.09 ERA while the offense is hitting .320. It looks like full-steam ahead as Augustana heads to Clermont, Florida, for the Spring Games. 

ICYMI: How the Power 10 fared last week 

No. 2 Young Harris | 9-0 | Previous: 5
This is certainly a little aggressive, but the Mountain Lions climb the rankings for the third consecutive week. I had Young Harris low, sitting at No. 9 in the preseason Power 10 because I thought there were questions surrounding its pitching. Thus far, those questions have been answered as starters Sam Davis and Sara King are a combined 6-0, allowing just 15 runs in 48.1 innings pitched. Emily Harris and Morgan Curley are leading a balanced offense, both hitting over .400 in the early going. 

No. 3 Texas A&M-Kingsville | 11-4 | Previous: 1
The Javelinas had their first rough week of the season, going 2-3 in Tucson, Arizona, at the Cactus Classic. Still, it's hard to overlook the 4-0 record against top-25 teams just three weeks into the season. Keep your eyes on Matisen Onofrei who already has five home runs, posting a 1.209 OPS through 15 games. Saidi Castillo continues to be a force in the circle leading a pitching staff that should bounce back after a rough weekend in the desert. 

No. 4 North Georgia | 11-1 | Previous: 8
The Nighthawks have also been a steady climber, from the just-missed all the way to No. 4 thanks to a big 6-0 weekend. North Georgia responded to its first loss of the season last week with four straight shutouts and wins over nationally ranked Southern Indiana and West Chester. Kylee Smith continues to impress, now with a 0.19 ERA through six starts, but Laken Chambers and Riley Patton are proving strong in the circle allowing a combined three runs in 29.2 innings pitched. 

PLAYER OF THE YEAR WATCHLIST: NFCA's 50 to watch

No. 5 UC San Diego | 11-4 | Previous: 3
It could be argued that the Tritons should fall a bit more due to a two-loss weekend, especially with Concordia (CA) back on track with two wins in the West, but all but one of the Tritons losses have been nail-biters, with three of the four losses coming in one-run fashion. Robyn Wampler and Alanna Phillips are straight fire in the circle and there is plenty of firepower at the plate. We learned this past week good teams will lose, it's how they rebound that matters and UCSD is already back on track.

HOME RUNS: Here's the top sluggers returning for 2020

No. 6 Southern Arkansas | 10-2 | Previous: 10
The Muleriders debuted last week and climb four spots behind a perfect 4-0 week. They piled on 55 runs in four games at the Alvy Early Memorial Classic. This team is an offensive juggernaut, hitting .374 with 24 doubles and 17 home runs, but Sydney Wader has been a monster as the ace in the circle as well, already 6-0 on the season. The Muleriders are always a threat to an opposing pitcher and right now, it looks like they are the complete package. 

No. 7 Chico State| 9-0 | Previous: 9
The Wildcats didn't lose this week, but they also didn't win. That said, it does have a big top 25 win over Concordia (CA) and has looked pretty dominant thus far. They are back this weekend on the road at Humboldt State in California Collegiate Athletic Association action. 

No. 8 Rollins |11-0 | Previous: NR
Now Rollins hasn't played elite competition like some of the other teams in the Power 10, but 11-0 is 11-0. And the Tars have done it in pretty dominant fashion, outscoring their opponents 57-10. Freshman Ashley Troutman is off to an impressive start in her career, leading the way with a .421 average, while junior Chelsea Peace has blasted three home runs and driven in 12 runs, both team highs. Rollins has an intriguing March slate, so we'll see how they fare against stiffer competition in a few weeks. 

DII SOFTBALL HISTORY: Programs with the most titles | Complete list of winners

No.9 Indianapolis | 6-1 | Previous: NR
Since dropping a one-run loss to Montevallo in Game 2, UIndy has been on fire, whipping through its competition. The Greyhounds were on the outside looking in since the preseason and needed a hot start to jump into the Power 10 and that's exactly what they got. This team is hitting .332 with four hitters over .400 while Hallie Waters has been sensational in the circle, a perfect 4-0 with a 1.06 ERA.

No.10 Lincoln Memorial | 9-1 | Previous: NR
And let's welcome the Railsplitters to their first Power 10. Unfortunately a Tuesday showdown with Young Harris was postponed, but Lincoln Memorial has still won eight in a row and are turning heads early on. You won't find many wins via the long ball, but this team his hitting .342 overall. In the circle, the Railsplitters have a combined 1.94 ERA with Bailey Griffith leading the way, now 5-0 on the season. 

Also considered (in alphabetical order)

  • Concordia (CA): The Eagles were once again the first out despite winning two games this week. Callie Nunes is still a special pitcher and I expect them in and out of the Power 10 all season.
  • Grand Valley State: Simply put, I couldn't keep a team that has yet to play a game in the Power 10 any longer. Expect to see the Lakers back when we finally (hopefully) get some results. 
  • Trevecca Nazarene: The Trojans are 8-0 and that includes an impressive — and shocking — sweep of No. 18 Alabama Huntsville.
  • Texas A&M-Commerce: The Lions didn't play this week, and while that dropped them from the Power 10, they still remain in the conversation. 
  • Winona State: Much like the Lakers, we need to see some more results. The Warriors finally got started, winning two games, but face some nice competition this weekend that could mix things up. 

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