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College  | Rankings  | 3/27/2024

DII/DIII/NAIA Rankings Update: March 27

Nick Herfordt     
Photo: Peeko Townsend (Blue Mountain College Athletics)
The top teams typically have many of the top players, but there are always a number of athletes who put together superlative seasons on schools who are not amongst their divisions’ Top 25. Along with the updated rankings this week is a look at some of the players from each of the three small school divisions who are compiling All-American numbers for schools not currently ranked. For many of the players mentioned, their remarkable performance on the diamond to date has their club on the cusp of the rankings and they may power their team into national contention before the season is over. 

NCAA DII 



Rk School State Record Lst Week Prev Rk
1 Tampa Spartans FL 26-2 4-0 1
2 Central Missouri Mules MO 26-4 4-0 2
3 Point Loma Sea Lions CA 22-7-1 4-0 3
4 North Greenville Crusaders SC 22-8 1-1 6
5 Mount Olive Trojans NC 20-8 4-0 10
6 Millersville Marauders PA 21-5 3-2 7
7 Young Harris Mountain Lions GA 24-5 3-0 8
8 Angelo State Rams TX 22-10 2-1 9
9 Augustana Vikings SD 17-4 4-0 16
10 UNC Pembroke Braves NC 21-9 1-3 5
11 Missouri Southern St. Lions MO 26-6 3-1 11
12 West Florida Argos FL 18-10 1-4 4
13 Colorado Mesa Mavericks CO 18-8 5-0 18
14 Ashland Eagles OH 16-3 4-1 14
15 St. Leo Lions FL 24-4 3-1 13
16 Georgia Southwestern Hurricanes GA 24-7 4-0 17
17 Seton Hill Griffins PA 14-7 2-2 12
18 West Texas A&M Buffs TX 22-8 3-1 19
19 East Stroudsburg Warriors PA 19-3 4-0 25
20 Catawba Indians NC 22-8 3-2 20
21 Lee Flames TN 22-8 4-0 NR
22 Lander Bearcats SC 20-9 3-0 NR
23 Northwest Nazarene Nighthawks ID 19-5-1 3-1 24
24 Lubbock Christian Chaparrals TX 19-10 1-3 23
25 Cal State Monterey Bay Otters CA 18-10 1-3 15

Dropped: North Georgia (21), Southern Arkansas (22)

While the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference doesn’t have any teams in the Top 25, they can lay claim to one of the DII’s most elite offensive performers. Garrett Musey has  been an spectacular hitter since arriving at Goldey-Beacom and has earned a pair of All-CACC honors as well as rewritten the Lightning record book. This season he is batting .446 with 17 extra base hits in only 65 at bats for a lofty .954 slugging percentage. With his 24 combined BB/HBP, his robust .589 OB% also ranks among the nation’s leaders. His presence in the lineup is a big reason GB is one of the East Region’s top teams and are leading the conference in total wins.

The Lander Bearcats joined Georgia Southwestern as Peach Belt Conference representatives in the rankings this week to give the conference a pair of teams in the Top 25. Another team being strongly considered, but on the outside for now is Georgia College & State. The Bobcats won a series over GSW recently and swept Flagler last week thanks in part to the performance of Matthew Mebane. After tearing it up at South Georgia State and at Rockford in the Northwoods League, the former MLB Junior Home Run Derby champion is batting .360 with a DII leading 14 home runs. When his nine doubles are added into the computation, he is slugging .768 on the season. 

Royal Hobson was a highly ranked prep player who spent some time at Columbia State CC before moving on to Christian Brothers. He put up decent numbers in limited action last season, but has really emerged this year to help the Bucs to one of their best starts in well over a decade. The senior second baseman and leadoff hitter is batting .310 with five doubles and six home runs, and had a 16 game hitting streak earlier this season. He also has a team leading 22 walks to amass a .423 OB%. However, what truly makes him a remarkable player is his speed. His 30 stolen bases lead DII and he has only been caught stealing three times.  

The last team out of the rankings this week were the Barton Bulldogs. They have a 24-7 record and played North Greenville tight in a series this past weekend. It’s likely Barton will join the Top 25 soon as they have an incredible pitching staff led by Tanner Halverson. The senior southpaw was one of DII’s top pitchers last season with a 1.71 ERA as he held opposition to a .220 batting average with 10 complete games. This season he has been near unhittable again. Opposition is only managing to hit .229 against him as he has struck out 64 batters in only 48 ⅓ innings with only eight walks. He is also an integral part of the offense. He has a .329 average over three seasons at Barton and is slugging .533 this spring.     


NAIA

Rk School State Record Lst Week Prev Rk
1 Southeastern Fire FL 27-2 4-0 1
2 LSU Shreveport Pilots LA 25-3 4-1 2
3 Georgia Gwinnett Grizzlies GA 26-5 3-0 3
4 Cumberlands Patriots KY 27-4 4-0 4
5 Faulkner Eagles AL 22-8 2-1 5
6 Central Methodist Eagles MO 25-4 4-0 6
7 Webber International Warriors FL 24-8 3-1 8
8 William Carey Crusaders MS 18-10 2-1 7
9 Missouri Baptist Spartans MO 21-7 4-0 9
10 Tennessee Wesleyan Bulldogs TN 20-10 3-1 10
11 Doane Tigers NE 20-4 6-0 12
12 Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes KS 21-7 3-0 13
13 Benedictine Mesa Redhawks AZ 22-7 4-0 14
14 William Jessup Warriors CA 25-5 2-1 15
15 Lewis-Clark State Warriors ID 17-7 4-0 16
16 Loyola Wolf Pack LA 21-8 4-0 17
17 Bellevue Bruins NE 20-9 5-0 18
18 Hope International Royals CA 20-9 4-0 20
19 Vanguard Lions CA 22-11 3-0 19
20 Reinhardt Eagles GA 20-10 3-0 21
21 Taylor Trojans IN 21-9 4-0 22
22 Oklahoma City Stars OK 21-10 3-0 23
23 Concordia Bulldogs NE 19-8 3-3 11
24 Freed-Hardeman Lions TN 23-8 1-2 25*
25* Keiser Seahawks FL 20-10 1-3 25*
25* Ottawa (OUAZ) Spirit AZ 21-11 0-3 24


The Blue Mountain College Rams have been an offense juggernaut this season with a team batting average of .347, .576 slugging percentage of .576, and have reached double-digit run total 17 times this year. Leading the onslaught is Arderrius “Peeko” Townsend. The junior, who started his career at Northwest Mississippi CC before spending some time at Jackson State, broke both the school’s home run single-season RBI records just 23 games into the season. The masher is leading the NAIA with 19 home runs in 30 games while batting .456 with seven doubles and a pair of triples. He even has 11 stolen bases. Earlier this year he hit home runs in 10 of 11 games and has deservingly been named the Southern States Athletic Conference Player of the Week twice while earning the national honor once.   

Tabor’s Tyler Mata Lloyd batted .322 last season after transferring from NCAA DI Coppin State where he had hit .310. In 2024 the Colorado native has been one of the NAIA top hitters as he is among the leaders in batting average with a .494 mark. He additionally has 25 walks with only 14 strikeouts and has stolen 19 bases. He is also an elite performer in the middle infield and has earned honors for his defense. Lloyd has helped the Bluejays to an 18-8 record and a third place position in the always competitive Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.  

Columbia was ranked in the preseason, but dropped into “RV” territory after a slower-than-anticipated start. The team scores runs in bunches and it takes quite a bit to stand out on a club which is slugging .629, but Cayden Nicoletto has done just that. The Australian native was an NAIA Second-Team All-American honoree last year, and it looks like he should start clearing out space for a First-Team trophy this year. He is batting .410 with 17 home runs, eight doubles and a triple. His 109 total bases top the team and he currently has a 13 game hitting streak in which he has had multiple hits in 11 of the games. 

Oakland City University has never been in the Perfect Game Top 25, but that could change this season as the Mighty Oaks have one of the stingiest pitching staffs in the NAIA. While there are several pitchers worthy of mentioning, two in particular are putting up All-American caliber numbers. Thomas King, who previously pitched at LSU Shreveport and Houston Baptist, has dominated opposition in 2024. He had a 1.77 ERA and 62 strikeouts in only 40 ⅔ innings. Gehrig Tenhumberg has put up just as impressive statistics.   In eight starts he has thrown 45 innings while only allowing 30 hits (.188 B/AVG) while only walking 10 batters and striking out 63. The pair has helped the Oaks accumulate a dainty 3.00 ERA while no other school in the River States Conference has one below 5.33.


NCAA DIII   

Rk School State Record Lst Week Prev Rk
1 Endicott Gulls MA 12-1 3-1 2
2 Salisbury Seagulls MD 16-4 3-1 3
3 Shenandoah Hornets VA 16-3 2-1 4
4 Rowan Profs NJ 12-2 3-0 5
5 East Texas Baptist Tigers TX 17-6 2-2 1
6 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays MD 11-6 4-2 6
7 Denison Big Red OH 15-2 3-0 7
8 Salve Regina Seahawks RI 13-1 2-0 8
9 Lynchburg Hornets VA 14-6 3-0 9
10 Baldwin Wallace Yellow Jackets OH 15-3 3-0 10
11 UW LaCrosse Eagles WI 8-3 4-1 11
12 La Verne Leopards CA 13-4-1 3-1 13
13 Eastern Connecticut Warriors CT 9-5 3-0 15
14 UW-Whitewater Warhawks WI 9-3 0-0 14
15 Christopher Newport Captains VA 13-6 2-1 12
16 Montclair State Red Hawks NJ 16-3 4-1 16
17 Aurora Spartans IL 12-3 2-0 17
18 Benedictine Eagles IL 13-1 2-0 19
19 Trinity Tigers TX 14-7 3-2 20
20 Case Western Reserve Spartans OH 14-5 5-0 NR
21 Pomona-Pitzer Sagehens CA 19-5 3-0 23
22 Buena Vista Beavers IA 14-4 3-0 NR
23 Misericordia Cougars PA 11-7 2-0 21
24 NC Wesleyan Battling Bishops NC 15-5 2-1 25
25 Cortland State Red Dragons NY 6-8-1 0-0 24

Dropped: Birmingham-Southern (18), Washington (22)

Andrew Mazzone earned All-Centennial Conference honors at Dickinson College (where he also played football) before moving on to Claremont-Mudd Scripps as a graduate student this season. He is currently one of DIII’s top hitters with a .468 average as the Stags have a 15-6 record and are battling for supremacy in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. In addition to his outrageously high average, he also has nine of the team’s 21 home runs on the season to amass a .922 slugging percentage which places him third nationally. 

Swarthmore’s Aidan Sullivan earned a number of accolades last season including being the Centennial Rookie of the Year and a conference First-Team selection. This spring the sophomore is batting .522 in his first 19 games with 11 doubles, two triples and three home runs in just 67 at bats. He has also walked 25 times and been plunked another six to generate a .673 OB% His OPS is a jaw-dropping 1.554. He even has 13 stolen bases. 

Dane Jones has been an impressive performer in his three previous seasons at LeTourneau and hit .366 last season with 15 home runs to earn a list of honors. He has elevated his game once again and is currently batting .432 with 12 home runs in only 21 games.  His 72 total bases are second in DIII and his .973 slugging percentage puts him just outside the top ten. Over the Yellowjackets’ last 14 games, Jones earned a hit in 13 of them and had multiple hits in 10 of the contests.

Adrian Montenegro had a 3-10 record coming into this season and allowed 73 hits in 54 innings pitched in 2024. This season he had been on the most difficult pitchers in all of DIII to get on base against. In 46 ⅔ innings he had only allowed 35 hits and eight walks. Opposition is batting .208 against him and he has a 2.89 ERA. He has thrown a pair of shutouts and struck out 56 batters.