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Brenden Welper | | April 19, 2021

Valdosta State, Oklahoma Christian rise in the latest Power 10 rankings for DII softball

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Every team in last week's Power 10 for DII softball made it into this edition. But there was still considerable movement, including one school that rose three spots. 

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

Here they are, with each team's ranking in the previous Power 10 in parentheses.

1. (1) Augustana (SD) (27-3)

The Vikings went 6-0 last week and outscored their opponents 51-7. Some teams have good pitching, others have good hitting. Augustana (SD) has both. Opposing batters are averaging just .218 at the plate against this club, while the Vikings are hitting .330. They've also won 13 straight games and remain atop the Power 10.

2. (4) Valdosta State (29-3)

The Blazers have rattled off 18 straight victories and haven't allowed a single run over the last six games. Their 2.38 home-runs-per-game average leads the country, and infielder Nicole Pennington ranks first in DII with a total of 18. She's one of four Valdosta State batters that've hit at least 10 in 2021. 

3. (3) UT Tyler (27-5)

The gap between Valdosta State and UT Tyler is incredibly close. While the Patriots aren't as hot the Blazers, they're still on a six-game winning streak and have won their last seven against ranked opponents. Four Patriots are batting above .330, five have more than 15 RBI and six have more than 22 hits. 

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4. (2) North Georgia (25-5)

It was hard to bump the Nighthawks down a few spots, so I'll explain my reasoning. Both Valdosta State and UT Tyler took care of business last week. North Georgia began with a 5-3 loss to then-No. 13 Alabama-Huntsville on April 15. Granted, the Nighthawks did win their next three games (one of which featured a five-inning no-hitter from Tybee Denton). But the logjam of the 2, 3 and 4 spots on this list leaves little room for error.

5. (5) UIndy (31-2)

It's been over a month since UIndy's last loss on March 17. The Greyhounds have now won 24 in a row. Of their 31 wins this season, 18 have been shutouts. They're also 20-0 in conference play and 16-0 at home. UIndy had an ERA of 1.81 at this time last week. Now it's down to 1.00. Only St. Anselm (0.83) and Tampa (0.99) fare better in that category. 

6. (9) Oklahoma Christian (31-5)

The Eagles made the biggest jump on this list and rose three spots. Last week, I said they were peaking at the right time. But that may have been premature, because they continue to raise the bar. Oklahoma Christian has now won a program-record 14 straight games. Sophomore Kali Crandall is 20-1 on the mound with a 1.88 ERA. Those 20 wins are the second-most for a pitcher in DII.

7. (7) Young Harris (26-7)

Young Harris ranks seventh in the country with 250 runs scored. Thirteen players have recorded at least 10, and four have scored more than 20. Junior infielder Emily Harris leads the team with 28. She's batting .368 and has 20 RBI. Those numbers are impressive, but she only ranks sixth on the team in RBI. Jill Torres has the most with 36, while Ashley Autuori, Haylie Shope and Carly Rigsbee each have 28. Maddie Urquiola is also part of the 20+ club with 22.

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8. (6) Rollins (14-1)

The Tars won all four of their games last week in nail-biting fashion, with final scores of 1-0, 2-0, 2-0 and 1-0. Those last two victories came on the road against Palm Beach Atlantic. Rollins is 8-0 away from its home ballpark this season. Despite this success, the Tars aren't an easy team to evaluate. They've only played 15 games. That's too small of a sample size to rank them any higher right now. 

9. (8) Lincoln Memorial (34-5)

The Railsplitters' nine-game winning streak was snapped by unranked Wingate in the regular-season finale April 17. Still, their 34 victories are the most in the country. Lincoln Memorial is idle until the SAC tournament begins on Friday, April 23. The Railsplitters will have the No. 1 overall seed. 

10. (10) Texas A&M-Commerce (25-10)

Texas A&M-Commerce went 2-0 in the past week, with both wins coming against St. Mary's (TX) in a doubleheader April 18. Those victories, combined with the losses by three teams we'll cover in a moment, were just enough to keep the Lions in the Power 10. 

In the hunt

Texas A&M-Kingsville (24-10)

Less than two days ago, Texas A&M-Kingsville had won its last three games right after losing three straight. But the Javelinas were swept by unranked Angelo State in a doubleheader on Sunday.

West Texas A&M (26-10)

The Buffaloes are on a four-game winning streak. However, their 3-7 record against top-25 opponents keeps them out of this week's Power 10. 

Alabama-Huntsville (25-9)

Alabama-Huntsville upset then-No. 3 North Georgia in the first game of a doubleheader on April 15. While the Chargers ultimately split the series, they bounced back to win their next three games. 

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