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College | Rankings | 2/19/2020

DII, NAIA, DIII rankings: Feb. 19

Nick Herfordt        
Photo: Josh Elvir (Arthur Spragg/Angelo State Athletics)

2020 Preview/Preseason Top 25: Division II | NAIA | Division III

With this being the inaugural update of the 2020 Perfect Game small school Top 25, there wasn’t much remarkable movement in any of the three rankings. There was some minor shuffling of teams they had exceptionally inauspicious or overwhelming starts, but for the most part it is still too early to get overzealous for outcomes on the field.

At the D-II level top-ranked Angelo State has been playing as forecasted. The Rams reeled off 10 straight wins and are batting an astonishing .401 as a team. Their pitching staff has been holding it down as well as opposition is batting a feeble .228 against them so far. With a rebuilding Lubbock Christian team next on their agenda the Rams should continue to roll headed into a big series with West Texas A&M to close the month.

A big jump into the third position was made by North Greenville. The Crusaders were last season’s leader the bulk of the year, but lost several weapons on offense following the last out. After sweeping a highly touted Bellarmine team NGU appears to be on the short list on contenders once again.

In the NAIA Freed-Hardeman didn’t explode out of the gates, but the Lions’ 6-2 start is still more than respectable enough to keep them in the pole position. Nevertheless, with high-octane teams like St. Thomas, Southeastern, USAO, Faulkner, LSUS and defending champions Tennessee Wesleyan starting the season a combined 53-7, there won’t be trouble finding another club to take the top spot if they slip.

Just as there is plenty of competition for the top spot, there are a number of teams ready to jump into the rankings that are currently on the outside. Most remarkably is Wayland Baptist. The Pioneers are a solid 11-4, but what makes them remarkable is outfielder Luis Vargas and first baseman Brendon Foust. Through 15 games Vargas is batting .511 with 11 home runs in 45 bats. Foust is hitting .426 with seven home runs himself.

There was very little movement in the D-III rankings, primarily because 14 of the 25 teams have yet to play this season. However, that will change this weekend as the overwhelming bulk of the idle teams have games on their schedule.

Rankings are based on games through Sunday, February 16.


NCAA Division II

1. Angelo State Rams (10-0) – The Rams have started the season strong with 10 straight wins. In all but one of their games ASU has scored at least nine runs and are averaging nearly 13 runs per contest. Josh Elvir, the only D-II player to be named to USA Baseball’s Watch List for the Golden Spikes Award, is batting .531 with five home runs and five doubles with seven stolen bases.

2. Central Missouri State Mules (8-3) – The Mules’ 8-3 record keeps them in the No. 2 position, but the wins have been far from convincing. Half of their wins were by a single run and they suffered a loss to the University of Mary, a team which went 34-105 collectively the last three seasons. UCM’s pitching has been formidable as they’ve held their opposition to a .190 batting average, but the offense has been lackluster.

3. North Greenville Crusaders (8-1-1) – The Crusaders opened the season 1-1-1 against teams in Florida, which included a 15-9 win over Nova Southeastern to start the year. After earning a win over Lander, NGU swept three games from a highly touted Bellarmine club and three more over Kentucky Wesleyan. The offense has been particularly pungent to start the year as they are hitting .355 as a team with 14 home runs to amass a .602 slugging percentage.

4. Minnesota State Mavericks (0-0) – The Mavericks’ season opener is this week against the Maryville Saints. 

5. Catawba Indians (7-2) – The Indians lost their first two games to Barton and Columbus State, but have won seven straight since which includes sweeps over WV State and Shippensburg.

6. Mount Olive Trojans (9-1) – The Trojans earned a big win in their opener against Tampa on the road but lost to Georgia College the next day. After earning a pair of wins over Francis Marion and Queens, UMO swept Lenoir-Rhyne and Queens. Hunter Stevens has thrown two complete game shutouts and earned a save in his first three outings of the season.

7. Colorado Mesa (5-1) – The Mavericks played a pair of ranked opponents to start the season and won each of the series. CMU took two of three over Nova Southeastern in Fort Lauderdale and easily swept Southern New Hampshire by outscoring the Penmen 38-10 at home. Spencer Bramwell, who hit seven home runs last season, is batting .481 and already has five home runs.

8. Tampa Spartans (6-3) – The Spartans lost two of their first three as they were defeated by Mount Olive and Georgia College. They rebounded to outscore Post 39-3 and win three of four on the road against Carson-Newman. UT hosts long-time rival Florida Southern this week.

9. Georgia College Bobcats (8-1) – The Bobcat’s opened the season with wins over a pair of top 10 teams in Mount Olive and Tampa. GC has also earned a win over West Georgia, pummeled Augusta on the road and split a pair of games with Francis Marion.

10. UC San Diego Tritons (7-2) – The Tritons swept Concordia (OR) to start the season, won a pair over Point Loma and split four close contests with Cal Poly Pomona. Luke Mattson has a 0.71 ERA and has held opposition to a .170 batting average in four appearances to earn a 3-0 record.

11. Delta State Statesmen (6-3) – The Statesmen won their opening series against East Central and swept Lynn at home but could only muster one win of three against Alabama Huntsville.

12. Augustana Vikings (2-2) – The Vikings split a four-game series at Arkansas Monticello to start the season.

13. North Georgia Nighthawks (7-2) – The Nighthawks reached double-digit run totals in six of their first seven games of the season but lost their series last weekend to USC Aiken. Six of Andres Perez’s 12 hits this season have been home runs and half of the remaining six were doubles.

14. Azusa Pacific Cougars (5-7) – The Cougars have lost six straight games which included a 2-20 mauling at the hands of Cal State Monterey Bay. They won their last two against a good Dixie State team, and while it’s way too early to count them out at this point, they obviously need to perform better. After a couple weeks off they’ll play Hawai’i Pacific and Hawai’i Hilo in a pair of four-game series which should put them back over .500.

15. Bellarmine Knights (3-3) – The Knights lost their first three games of the season to a very tough North Greenville team on the road, but responded by sweeping Union to even their record.

16. NYIT Bears (0-0) – The Bears have yet to take to the diamond this season but will be playing in the Northeast Challenge at the Ripken Experience this week against Franklin Pierce, New Haven, Southern Connecticut State and Wilmington.

17. Dixie State Trailblazers (9-2) – The Trailblazers started the season with seven straight wins against the likes of Cal State San Marcos, Northwest Nazarene and Cal State LA. Their winning ways continued as they took the first two games of four against Azusa Pacific, but the Cougars won the final two games to split the series. Jake Engel, who hit .276 with two home runs in 32 games last season, is batting .442 and already has four home runs.

18. Newberry Wolves (11-1) – The Wolves started their season with series wins over Belmont Abbey, Alabama-Huntsville and Nova Southeastern with single-game victories over Lenoir-Rhyne, Lander and Mercy mixed in. Thomas Sorcia Jr. has 26 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings while only allowing seven hits for a .117 opposing batting average.

19. East Stroudsburg Warriors (5-1) – The Warriors split with Chowan, took two from Le Moyne and earned wins over Frostburg State and Assumption.

20. Flagler Saints (9-1) - The Saints started the season by winning each of their games at the Houston Winter Invitational which included victories over Central Missouri, Arkansas-Monticello and Arkansas Tech. They then swept Queens, earned a win over Florida Tech and took two of three from Georgia Southwestern.

21. Ashland Eagles (0-0) – The Eagles start their season on the road against Charleston WV this week.

22. Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars (2-1) – The Stars started their season winning two of three against Newman. 

23. Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils (4-6) – The Weevlis lost each of their games at the Houston Astros Winter Invitational with losses to Colorado School of Mines, Flagler and Millersville. Since then they respectfully split with Augustana and took two of three against Harding.

24. Davenport Panthers (2-1) – The Panthers started the season winning two of three over D-II stalwart Southern Indiana. The Panthers have four games scheduled with Missouri S&T this weekend.

25. Southern New Hampshire Penmen (0-3) – The Penmen started their season with the difficult task of taking on Colorado Mesa on the road. SNHU lost each of the three games but should have better luck this week as they play Mercy, Felician, Dominican and Bridgeport.

Dropped out: Nova Southeastern Sharks (3-6) – The Sharks’ slow start can be partially explained as they have played ranked opposition in eight of their nine games this season. Nonetheless, new head coach Laz Gutierrez certainly would like to see betters results than three wins in nine games especially considering each of the games were played on their home field.

Rk. Prev. School ST Record
1 1 Angelo State Rams TX 10-0
2 2 Central Missouri Mules MO 8-3
3 8 North Greenville Crusaders SC 8-1-1
4 4 Minnesota State Mavericks MN 0-0
5 5 Catawba Indians NC 7-2
6 7 Mount Olive Trojans NC 9-1
7 9 Colorado Mesa Mavericks CO 5-1
8 6 Tampa Spartans FL 6-3
9 15 Georgia College Bobcats GA 8-1
10 12 UC San Diego Tritons CA 7-2
11 11 Delta State Statesmen MS 6-3
12 10 Augustana Vikings SD 2-2
13 13 North Georgia Nighthawks GA 7-2
14 3 Azusa Pacific Cougars CA 5-7
15 14 Bellarmine Knights KY 3-3
16 16 NYIT Bears NY 0-0
17 17 Dixie State Trailblazers UT 9-2
18 24 Newberry Wolves SC 11-1
19 20 East Stroudsburg Warriors PA 5-1
20 NR Flagler Saints FL 9-1
21 21 Ashland Eagles OH 0-0
22 22 Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars IL 2-1
23 19 Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils  AR 4-6
24 25 Davenport Panters MI 2-1
25 23 Southern New Hampshire Penmen NH 0-3

Dropped out: Nova Southeastern (18).



NAIA

1. Freed-Hardeman (6-2) – The Lions started the season with a sweep of Northwestern Ohio and split a close series with Loyola. Alex Huey has been magnificent to start the season with a complete game shutout and 20 strikeouts in 14 innings while only allowing seven hits and three walks. Josh Sears, the NAIA’s leading candidate for the USA Baseball’s Golden Spikes Award, has a pair of home runs.

2. St. Thomas Bobcats (8-2) – The Bobcats swept Middle Georgia State, earned single matchup wins against Florida Memorial and Florida National and took two from Keiser. STU went 1-2 against a trio of Florida-based D-II teams from the Sunshine State Conference. Ernesto Pino has only allowed a pair of hits in 12 innings with 19 strikeouts to lead the staff.

3. Southeastern Fire (10-1) – The Fire took two of three from Georgia Gwinnett to start the season and have since earned another eight wins over Grand View, Edward Waters and Thomas. Eleven of Zach Cornell’s 23 hits have gone for extra bases as he tops the team with a .511 batting average and 1.022 slugging percentage.

4. Science and Arts Drovers (10-1) – USAO took two of three from Our Lady of the Lake to start the season and went on to win eight more against the likes of St. Mary, Friends and Hastings. The Drovers pitching staff has 114 strikeouts in 80 innings while holding opposition to a .153 batting average with a 1.69 ERA.

5. Faulkner Eagles (9-1) – After taking two of three from Thomas, Faulkner won series over Shawnee State and Lindsey Wilson. The quick-strike offense has scored 75 of their 94 total runs in the first four innings of contests.

6. LSU Shreveport Pilots (10-1) – The Pilots started the season with series sweeps over Kansas Wesleyan and Cumberland. They next took to the road and impressively earned wins in three of four games against Lyon.

7. Tennessee Wesleyan (6-1) – The Bulldogs started the season with a sweep over St. Xavier and a win over Reinhardt. TWU split a pair with Indiana Tech and rallied to defeat Milligan by scoring five runs in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and no one on base.

8. Texas Wesleyan Rams (11-5) – The Rams are winning games but have won six of their 11 games by two or less runs. Over the weekend they rebounded from losing two games to Our Lady of the Lake by besting Bellevue twice.

9. Oklahoma City Stars (6-5) – The Stars started the season with five straight wins but lost their next five to fall back to .500. Four of the losses were to ranked opponents as Central Methodist, Bellevue and Madonna bested them. Tyler Williams had six home runs in 30 at-bats with 15 hits.

10. Bryan Lions (8-1) – The Lions won their first eight games to start the season before being edged by William Carey in the bottom of the final inning to stop their streak.

11. Cumberlands Patriots (10-0) – The Patriots started the season with a sweep over Florida Memorial and went on to win additional games against Siena Heights, Midway and Milligan. Pedro Mazario, who hit eight home runs last season, already has four and is leading the team with a .481 batting average.

12. Arizona Christian Firestorm (12-4) – ACU has played well out of the gate with remarkable wins over Benedictine Mesa, Taylor and Antelope Valley. The speedy ‘Storm already has 50 stolen bases on the season.

13. Georgia Gwinnett Grizzlies (8-2) – The Grizzlies lost their season opening series to Southeastern but have since gone undefeated with wins over Georgetown, Middle Georgia State and Truett McConnell, among others. GGC has a big game this week with Tennessee Wesleyan and will host WVU Tech.

14. Georgetown Tigers (3-4) – The Tigers are the only team in the top 10 that hasn’t lived up to preseason expectations so far. After losing their first three games of the year in which they allowed double-digit runs, they recovered to win three of four over IU South Bend.

15. Bellevue Bruins (3-4) – The Bruins have continued their recent tradition of underperforming to start the season by losing four of their first seven games. In their defense each of their losses were to ranked opponents as they lost to Oklahoma City, Central Methodist and Texas Wesleyan.

16. Campbellsville Tigers (5-4) – The Tigers have been alternating wins and losses against the ilk of Talladega, Mobile, Bryan and William Carey. While their pitching staff has performed admirably with a 2.57 ERA, and they’ve only allowed 42 hits in 200 at-bats, their offense has been dormant as they are only batting .227 with two home runs.

17. Benedictine Mesa Redhawks (11-5) – The Redhawks have split with Arizona Christian and lost two of three to Vanguard. BenU looked to be in a bit of a free-fall after losing their first two games against British Columbia but came back to split the four-game series.

18. Central Methodist Eagles (6-3) – The Eagles started the season with an unexpected series loss to Our Lady of the Lake but responded by earning wins over ranked opponents Bellevue and Oklahoma City as well as Bethany, Tabor and Missouri Baptist. The wins have come without much output from star Mason Schwellenbach who is only batting .077 and had a 6.10 ERA on the mound.

19. Madonna Crusaders (9-2) – The Crusaders, who earned five wins in the fall, won a series over Union, took two close games from Oklahoma City and were bested by Cumberland. Frankie Lucska is once again putting up big numbers as he is hitting .480 with nine extra-base hits.

20. Indiana Southeast Grenadiers (5-0) – The Grenadiers are perfect on the young season with wins over Georgetown College and Indiana Wesleyan and a three-game series sweep of St. Ambrose.

21. Lyon Scots (8-3) – The Scots started the season with seven straight wins – which included three victories over Oklahoma Wesleyan – but could only manage one of four against LSU Shreveport.

22. Concordia Cardinals (2-2) – The Cardinals split with Pikeville and Goshen, two teams they should have easily beaten. They have an upcoming series against Wright State-Lake which should help cure their slow start.

23. Taylor Trojans (8-1) - The Trojans won their first seven games of the season which included a sweep of the College of Idaho and wins over Lewis-Clark State, Westmont and Southwest (NM). After losing a slugfest to Arizona Christian, Taylor responded by defeating Olivet Nazarene 17-14.

24. Concordia Bulldogs (4-2) – The Bulldogs have won three of four against McPherson and split with Sterling.

25. Mobile Rams (11-2) - The Rams earned a sweep over Midway and took two from both Talladega and Tougaloo. They also split with a quality Campbellsville club before taking two of three from Point.

Dropped out: Oklahoma Wesleyan Eagles (7-7) – The Eagles won their opening series over Bacone, but then went on a road trip in which they were swept by Lyon, split with Hope International and lost two to Westmont. Drenis Ozuna, who hit .437 with 22 home runs last season, will now be redshirting this season which is a huge loss for OKWU.

Rk. Prev. School ST Record
1 1 Freed-Hardeman Lions TN 6-3
2 2 St. Thomas Bobcats FL 8-2
3 3 Southeastern Fire FL 10-1
4 4 USAO Drovers OK 10-1
5 6 Faulkner Eagles AL 9-1
6 8 LSU Shreveport Pilots LA 10-1
7 10 Tennessee Wesleyan Bulldogs TN 6-1
8 7 Texas Wesleyan Rams TX 11-5
9 5 Oklahoma City Stars OK 6-5
10 13 Bryan Lions TN 8-1
11 16 Cumberlands Patriots KY 10-0
12 14 Arizona Christian Firestorm AZ 12-4
13 15 Georgia Gwinnett Grizzlies GA 8-2
14 9 Georgetown Tigers KY 3-4
15 11 Bellevue Bruins NE 3-4
16 12 Campbellsville Tigers KY 5-4
17 19 Benedicine Mesa Redhawks AZ 11-5
18 18 Central Methodist Eagles MO 6-3
19 21 Madonna Crusaders MI 9-2
20 23 Indiana Southeast Grenadiers IN 5-0
21 22 Lyon Scots AR 8-3
22 20 Concordia Cardinals MI 2-2
23 25 Taylor Trojans IN 8-1
24 24 Concordia Bulldogs NE 4-2
25 NR Mobile Rams AL 11-2

Dropped out: Oklahoma Wesleyan (17).


NCAA Division III

1. Webster Gorlocks (0-0) – The preseason favorite’s first games are this week against Transylvania, Rhodes and Coe in Memphis, Tenn.

2. UW-Whitewater Warhawks (2-1) – UWW has split with Spaulding and held off a late rally by Anderson to start the season. They don’t play again until the end of the month when they’ll go up against Heidelberg, Baldwin Wallace and Anderson once again.

3. Wooster Fighting Scots (0-0) – The Scots first game is March 1 at Case Western Reserve.

4. Cortland State Red Dragons (2-1) – Cortland outscored Pitt-Bradford 18-3 and split a pair of games against Randolph-Macon.

5. Southern Maine Huskies (0-0) – The Huskies season doesn’t start until mid-March when they play Roger Williams, Trinity and Case Western Reserve.

6. Washington Bears (0-0) – The Bears first games are this weekend when they play three on the road at Hendrix.

7. North Central Cardinals (0-0) – The Cardinals open their season this week at Itchy Jones Stadium against Blackburn, Wisconsin-Stout and Wilmington College.

8. Texas Lutheran Bulldogs (4-2) – After a disappointing 1-2 showing at the Rusty Greer/Jackie Moore Classic, the Bulldogs swept three games from Hardin-Simmons.

9. St. John Fisher Cardinals (0-0) – The Cardinals’ first game are this weekend in Baltimore against Johns Hopkins.

10. Heidelberg Student Princes (0-0) – Heidelberg’s first games are this weekend against Anderson and Oswego State.

11. Trinity Tigers (4-0) – The Tigers have earned a pair of wins over Le Torneau and single game victories over La Verne and Concordia (TX).

12. Concordia Tornados (3-3) – The Tornados went 2-1 at the Rusty Greer/Jackie Moore Classic, split with La Verne and lost a game to Trinity.

13. Salisbury Seagulls (2-0) – The Seagulls outscored Gwynedd Mercy and Alfre State by a combined score of 31-4. They have two games scheduled with Cortland this weekend.

14. UMass-Boston Beacons (0-0) – The Beacons don’t start play until the end of the month when they host Suffolk and Stevens.

15. Concordia Chicago Cougars (0-0) – The Cougars start the season next week with matchups against top-ranked Webster, Wisconsin-Oshkosh and North Park.

16. Shenandoah Hornets (2-0) – The Hornets have earned a pair of one-run wins over Misericordia.

17. Birmingham-Southern Panthers (4-1) – The Panthers started the season with wins over Piedmont and Emory before taking two of three against LaGrange.

18. Spalding Eagles (2-2) – Spaulding split with both UW-Whitewater and Anderson to start the season.

19. Rowan Profs (0-0) – Rowan begins competitive play this week with games against Stevens, Immaculata and Cabrini.

20. Chapman Panthers (7-0) – The defending champs have a perfect start to their season after rolling through the Cactus Classic in Tucson and sweeping East Texas Baptist.

21. Randolph-Macon Yellow Jackets (4-1) – The Yellow Jackets earned wins over Rhodes, Belhaven and Pitt-Bradford before splitting a pair with Cortland.

22. Swarthmore Garnet (0-0) – The Garnet’s first game is this weekend against Misericordia.

23. Tufts Jumbos (0-0) – The Jumbos are one of the last teams to take to the diamond this spring. Their first games are in the middle of March.

24. Babson Beavers (0-0) – Babson’s first games are this weekend at Trinity (TX).

25. The College of New Jersey Lions (0-0) – TCNJ will play their first games of 2020 this weekend against Randolph-Macon.

Dropped out: None.

Rk. Prev. School ST Record
1 1 Webster Gorloks MO 0-0
2 2 UW-Whitewater Warhawks WI 2-1
3 3 Wooster Fighting Scots OH 0-0
4 4 Cortland State Red Dragons NY 2-1
5 5 Southern Maine Huskies ME 0-0
6 6 Washington Bears MO 0-0
7 7 North Central Cardinals IL 0-0
8 8 Texas Lutheran Bulldogs TX 4-2
9 9 St. John Fisher Cardinals NY 0-0
10 10 Heidelberg Student Princes OH 0-0
12 11 Concordia Tornados TX 3-3
11 12 Trinity Tigers TX 4-0
13 13 Salisbury Seagulls MD 2-0
14 14 UMass-Boston Beacons MA 0-0
15 15 Concordia University Chicago Cougars IL 0-0
16 16 Birmingham-Southern Panthers AL 4-1
17 17 Shenandoah Hornets VA 2-0
18 18 Spalding Eagles KY 2-2
19 19 Rowan Profs NJ 0-0
21 20 Randolph-Macon Yellow Jackets VA 4-1
20 21 Chapman Panthers CA 7-0
22 22 Swarthmore Garnet PA 0-0
23 23 Tufts Jumbos MA 0-0
24 24 Babson Beavers MA 0-0
25 25 The College of New Jersey Lions NJ 0-0

Dropped out: None.


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