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Wayne Cavadi | NCAA.com | May 6, 2022

UT Tyler is back on top of latest DII softball Power 10 rankings

DII softball preview: What to look forward to in the 2022 season

The DII softball conference tournament season is upon us, and the selection show is a mere days away. Naturally, heading into the tournament there has been a shakeup in the DII softball Power 10 rankings.

Reclaiming its top spot in the land is UT Tyler with its unbelievable 40-4 record as two new teams crack the top 10.

TOURNEY TIME: Track every DII softball conference tournament

Remember, these are my rankings and mine alone. I try to blend what you see in the coaches' poll with some of the metrics used by the selection committee for a rankings all their own. There is no voting body, just me, so it usually leaves plenty room for (welcomed) disagreement.

The DII Softball Power 10 rankings (through May 4)

No. 1 UT Tyler | Previous No. 2

The Patriots finished the regular season 40-4, concluding with a huge series sweep of nationally-ranked Texas A&M-Commerce. Now, UT Tyler looks to make some program history, eligible for the DII softball postseason for the first time since transitioning from DIII. You will have a very hard time finding a more well-rounded team in the nation: UT Tyler is slashing .359/.453/.558 while combining for a 2.13 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in the circle while tied for the third-best fielding percentage (.980) in DII softball.

LOOK BACK: The previous Power 10 rankings

No. 2 Auburn Montgomery | Previous: No. 1

The Warhawks went 7-1 since the last Power 10 rankings and still check many of the boxes that keep them highly ranked. That includes a first-round victory in the Gulf South Championship. They also went 8-4 against several of the teams ranked in the top eight of the most recent South Region rankings. Battle tested and balanced, AUM also has Kat Fallen leading the way. The sophomore leads the team in average (.383), doubles (14), home runs (12) and RBIs (52).

No. 3 (tie) Central Oklahoma | Previous: No. 3

The Bronchos lost a pair of games since the previous Power 10 rankings but finished the regular season at 44-8 and atop the Central Region rankings. Much like all the teams in the upper echelon in DII softball, Central Oklahoma got here with incredible balance (with a .980 team OPS and combined 2.34 ERA in the circle) but also went 6-2 against teams in the final regional rankings. Jacee Minter had quite the season, leading the team in hitting and tied for the DII softball lead with 22 doubles.

No. 3 (tie) UIndy | Previous: No. 6

The Greyhounds keep climbing, jumping from the unranked to No. 6 in the last Power 10 and now firmly inside the top 5. UIndy finished on top of the Midwest which is impressive considering surging Grand Valley State and Southern Indiana are hot on its trail. It has a nice blend on offense, with Megan Nichols and Gianni Iannantone both hitting at least .400 and Lexy Rees knocking the cover off the ball with 14 home runs. It seems UIndy always has an elite ace, and that holds true in 2022: Kenzee Smith is 23-5 with a 0.95 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 211 strikeouts in 162.1 innings.

SLEEPERS: 5 DII softball teams you do not want to play right now

No. 5 Cal State San Marcos | Previous: No. 4

The Cougars' historic season continues, now winners of their first CCAA regular-season title and ready for their first conference tournament appearance. Their 39 wins are a 32-win improvement from 2020 and they have one of the highest regional RPIs in DII against a pretty tough schedule (.544 overall opponents winning percentage). That includes a 14-7 record against DII-ranked opponents, showing this team is very much for real. Paige Donnelly is one of the best hitters in the land, hitting .442 with 15 doubles and seven home runs.

No. 6 Tampa | Previous: No. 5

Though there is no SSC conference tournament, the schedule couldn’t have ended up any better for DII softball fans. The Spartans face off against Rollins in a series that could decide the conference and who gets the automatic bid to the 2022 DII softball tournament. Tampa has played one of the toughest schedules in DII softball and minus an early season sweep by a very under-the-radar Nova Southeastern team, Tampa is 8-2 against its regionally ranked competition. The Spartans are in the DII softball top 5 in both ERA and WHIP, and that kind of pitching is invaluable this time of year.

No. 7 Lubbock Christian | Previous: NR

This may surprise some with Texas A&M-Kingsville ranked higher in the latest national poll. Yes, the Javelinas have a few more wins, but per the last regional rankings, the Chaps have a higher SOS and RPI as well as more wins against ranked opponents and teams with a winning record. LCU has split against most of the heavyweights it has faced, including those Javelinas, UT Tyler and Angelo State. That’s the top of the South Central Region for those keeping score at home.

No. 8 Rogers State | Previous: No. 8 (tie)

This is where it gets tricky. From here on out — from the Hillcats to the “first five out” — most have suffered some dings on their record that could flip flop anyone of them higher or lower. Rogers State has been swept by both Central Oklahoma and Washburn down the stretch, but that speaks volumes to the fact that the Hillcats are still No. 2 in the Central Region as of this week. Andrea Morales is going to be tough to beat in tournament-style play: she’s 26-3 with a 1.01 ERA, 0.61 WHIP and 265 strikeouts.

HISTORY: DII softball programs with the most titles

No. 9 Grand Valley State | Previous: NR

The Lakers and Midwest Region rival Southern Indiana were both really close for these final two spots. The Screaming Eagles actually have a higher RPI, but what boosts the Lakers into the top 10 was a 7-1 record against ranked teams and a 19-2 record against DII teams with a winning record. That’s battle tested right there and shows a team that’s not going to back down from anyone. As always, the Lakers have a strong pitching staff and Lydia Goble hitting just about everything that comes her way.

No. 10 Augustana (SD) | Previous: No. 10 (tie)

The Vikings NSIC rival Minnesota State was also one of the teams considered here, but with a 25-3 end to the regular season — which began on April 2 with a split against those very Mavericks — Augie gets the pick. Mary Pardo is one of five Vikings with at least 10 home runs (she has 24 if you’re curious) and the pitching staff has a pair of aces in a rotation that has combined for a 1.91 ERA.

First five (ish) out (in alphabetical order)

As I said, it was super close. By my calculations, there were six teams that qualified for this part of the rankings.

  • Angelo State
  • Concordia (CA)
  • Minnesota State
  • Southern Indiana
  • Texas A&M-Kingsville
  • Valdosta State

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