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Brenden Welper | | April 26, 2021

Valdosta State jumps to the top of the topsy-turvy DII college softball rankings

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Not only is there a new No. 1 in this week's Power 10 for DII softball, there's an entirely new top half of the rankings. Nothing changed between No. 7 and No. 9. But everyone else was on the move.

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. (2) Valdosta State (32-3)

It's been 44 days since the Blazers lost a game. Their 21-game winning streak is the longest in the country, and they're the new No. 1 in this week's Power 10. Valdosta State now ranks first in slugging percentage (.709) and third in batting average (.365). For those keeping score at home, Nicole Pennington still leads the nation in home runs at 21.

2. (1) Augustana (SD) (32-4)

The Vikings saw their 14-game winning streak end in a 2-1 loss to unranked Sioux Falls on April 22. But they weren't the only team in this Power 10 to suffer an upset last week, and we'll get to the others shortly. Augustana (SD) responded by sweeping MSU Moorhead and Northern State in doubleheaders over the weekend. 

3. (6) Oklahoma Christian (33-5)

Oklahoma Christian's meteoric rise in the Power 10 continues. The Eagles, who were ninth in these rankings two weeks ago, have won their last 16 games. But it was their sweep of then-No. 6 Texas A&M-Commerce in a doubleheader on April 25 that put the country on notice. Oklahoma Christian is now 10-3 against ranked opponents in 2021.

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4. (3) UT Tyler (31-5)

UT Tyler has won 10 straight, and yet, it still dropped one spot. But somebody had to given Oklahoma Christian's recent success. Luckily for the Patriots, they'll get their shot at those Eagles when they travel to Edmond, Okla., on Tuesday, May 4, to conclude the regular season. UT Tyler is idle until Saturday, May 1, when it visits Texas A&M-Commerce for a doubleheader. 

5. (4) North Georgia (33-5)

Caught in a similar predicament is North Georgia. The Nighthawks have won their last 11, but they fell one spot in these rankings. Their overall record is identical to Oklahoma Christian's at 33-5. However, North Georgia is 4-2 against teams ranked in the NFCA top 25. That's respectable, but it pales in comparison to the Eagles. 

6. (5) UIndy (34-3)

The Greyhounds had the longest winningest streak this season at 25, before it was snapped by Drury on April 25. But UIndy bounced back and swept Missouri S&T in a doubleheader on April 26. UIndy is also one of two teams (with Rollins being the other) to rank in the top five in both ERA (1.14) and fielding percentage (0.982). 

7. (7) Young Harris (29-8) 

Young Harris is the only team that hasn't moved once in these rankings. Granted, the Mountain Lions lost to unranked UNC Pembroke on April 23. But again, that was a common theme for most of the clubs on this list. Young Harris regrouped with two dominating wins over Francis Marion to sweep the doubleheader on April 25. 

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8. (8) Rollins (16-2) 

Rollins was shut out for the first time this season on April 24, and narrowly lost to Florida Tech, 1-0. That ended an eight-game winning streak for the Tars. But their pitching continues to excel. Rollins' ERA ranks second in the country at 0.76. Ali Shenefield's ERA of 0.43 ranks fourth among all DII pitchers. 

9. (9) Lincoln Memorial (36-6)

For the second time in eight days, the Railsplitters were not only shut out, but beaten handily by an unranked opponent. This one occurred in the SAC championship game, where No. 1 seed Lincoln Memorial fell to No. 6 Tusculum seed, 8-0. 

10. (NR) West Texas A&M (29-10)

Welcome to the party, West Texas A&M. The Buffaloes needed some help to make the Power 10, and Oklahoma Christian's sweep of Texas A&M-Commerce didn't hurt. Still, West Texas A&M has won its last eight games. The last four victories have come via the mercy rule. 

In the hunt

Texas A&M-Commerce (25-12)

The Lions would've remained in the Power 10 if they had split the doubleheader with then-No. 10 Oklahoma Christian. But they're now 8-7 against ranked opponents, and it won't get any easier. Texas A&M-Commerce will host UT Tyler for a doubleheader on May 1.

Alabama-Huntsville (27-10)

Just three games remain for Alabama-Huntsville in the regular season, and all three are against Valdosta State. A good showing against one of the country's best teams could lift the Chargers into next week's Power 10. Their three-game series against the Blazers begins on Sunday, May 2. 

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