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Brenden Welper | NCAA.com | April 12, 2021

DII softball: Augustana (SD), North Georgia lead the first Power 10 for the 2021 season

augustana-softball AUGUSTANA (SD) IS 11-2 ON THE ROAD AND 6-1 AT NEUTRAL SITES THIS SEASON. THE VIKINGS ARE ALSO PERFECT AT HOME WITH A 4-0 RECORD

Welcome to the first Power 10 of the 2021 DII softball season. A new edition will be published each Monday.

To be clear, these are my rankings, and mine alone. I take a variety of factors into account, including: overall record, record against ranked teams, NFCA rankings, winning streaks, losing streaks, head-to-head matchups and team statistics. 

1. Augustana (SD) (21-3)

The Vikings are 9-1 in their last 10 games and 6-1 against top 25 opponents this year. Offensively, Augustana (SD) is led by senior outfielder Kendall Cornick, whose batting average of .519 ranks first on the team. She also leads the Vikings with 41 hits and has driven in 23 runs. Cornick is one of five Augustana (SD) hitters that are currently batting over .300.

2. North Georgia (22-4)

The Nighthawks are 3-1 against ranked teams in 2021, but aren't scheduled to face another top 25 opponent for the remainder of the regular season. North Georgia's combined ERA of 1.23 ranks fifth in DII. Junior pitcher Laken Chambers sports a 0.63 ERA and an 8-0 record, while senior Kylee Smith has a 1.16 ERA and an 8-2 record. 

3. UT Tyler (25-5)

UT Tyler began the season 0-3 against ranked opponents, but have since won seven straight over top 25 teams. The Patriots also have two starters with more than 10 wins. Senior Erin Hill is 14-2 with a 1.00 ERA and hasn't allowed a single home run. Sophomore Payton Foster is 11-3 with a 1.14 ERA. Opposing batters are hitting just .180 against Foster.

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4. Valdosta State (25-3)

The Blazers are 3-0 against ranked clubs this season, with all three victories coming against then-No. 17 West Florida during the last weekend in March. Valdosta State ranks second in slugging percentage (0.675), sixth in scoring (8.1 runs per game) and eighth in ERA (1.81). Junior infielder Nicole Pennington leads the nation in total home runs with 16. Her slugging percentage of 1.136 is the second-highest in DII. 

5. UIndy (25-2)

The Greyhounds are on an 18-game winning streak and are a perfect 12-0 at home. UIndy ranks third in DII with an ERA of 1.09, and has two starting pitchers with two double-digit victories. Senior Hallie Waters is 13-1 with a 0.99 ERA. Freshman Kenzee Smith is 11-0 with a 0.97 ERA and has thrown 11 complete games.

6. Rollins (10-1)

The Tars' season began exactly one month ago. They're 2-1 against ranked opponents this year, with all games coming against then-No. 23 Saint Leo in early April. Six of their 10 wins have been shutouts. Rollins' pitching staff ranks second in the country with a 1.08 ERA. The Tars remain undefeated on the road with a 6-0 record.

7. Young Harris (23-7)

Young Harris is 5-3 against ranked teams this season after splitting a doubleheader with then-No. 15 Alabama-Huntsville on April 11. The Mountain Lions have drawn 137 walks in 2021, which ranks third in DII. Senior catcher Jill Torres is responsible for 33 of those. It's no surprise that her on-base percentage of .583 is the highest on the team. 

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8. Lincoln Memorial (29-4)

Lincoln Memorial's 29 wins are the most in DII. Sure, the Railsplitters are just 1-1 against ranked opponents (both games were against then-No. 13 Young Harris on March 30). But they're still one of the better defensive teams in the country, boasting the fifth-best fielding percentage at 0.981. Their regular season will conclude this week with doubleheaders against King (TN), Lenoir-Rhyne and Wingate. 

9. Oklahoma Christian (27-5)

Oklahoma Christian's season began all the way back on Feb. 4. The Eagles are 8-3 against ranked teams, and just swept then-No. 10 West Texas A&M in a doubleheader on Sunday, April 11. Freshman outfielder Kylie Janzen is one of three Eagles with at least 20 RBI, and she leads the team with 34. Winners of 10 straight, they're peaking at the right time. 

10. Texas A&M-Commerce (23-10)

The Lions are 8-5 against ranked teams this season, and split a doubleheader with then-No. 12 Texas A&M-Kingsville on April 11. They're also 4-6 in their last 10 games. Still, Texas A&M-Commerce has one of the sport's more consistent hitters in Madison Schaefer. The sophomore has appeared in all 33 games, and is batting .418 with 27 RBI and nine home runs. 

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