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College  | Rankings  | 5/24/2023

DII/DIII/NAIA Rankings Update: May 24

Nick Herfordt     
Photo: Shaun Gamelin (Rhode Island College Athletics)
Last week was initially going to be the last small school rankings update before the final release, but with the postseason still reaching a crescendo following an incredible week of postseason play, the decision was made to squeeze in one more. 

There were some surprising results on the field last week with one number one being eliminated. There have also been some incredible runs by surprising teams who have kept their national title dreams alive by getting hot at the right time. Consequently there is a new number one team school at the D-II level, along with one school making their Perfect Game ranking debut. Interestingly they share a name with an acclaimed TV drama - Quincy and Barry. In D-III two teams are making their first appearance in the rankings this year, and three are listed for the first time in NAIA, including the surprising MidAmerica Nazarene Pioneers.

However this week’s update isn’t so much about the top teams, but the top players in each of the three small school divisions. Along with the updated rankings are a listing of the top candidates for their overall most outstanding player and pitcher, as well as a selection of candidates for the most valuable player for each division. The MVP differs from the most outstanding designation as there is a greater emphasis on that particular player elevating their team to the next level. Without them in the lineup or on the mound, their school would unquestionably not have been as successful as they have been this season.

Rank School State Overall Rec. Week Rec. Prev Rank
1 Quincy Hawks IL 47-9 3-0 2
2 North Greenville Crusaders SC 47-9 3-1 3
3 Colorado Mesa Mavericks CO 48-9 3-0 4
4 Angelo State Rams TX 50-9 3-1 5
5 Rollins Tars FL 37-17 3-1 13
6 Millersville Marauders PA 43-8 3-0 9
7 Tampa Spartans FL 43-11 3-2 1
8 Seton Hill Griffins PA 48-11 4-1 12
9 Central Missouri Mules MO 43-15 2-2 6
10 Cal State Monterey Bay Otters CA 39-16 3-0 17
11 Mount Olive Trojans NC 38-17 2-2 8
12 West Florida Argos FL 39-17 2-2 7
13 Belmont Abbey Crusaders NC 41-16 3-0 NR
14 Minnesota State Mavericks MN 42-16 3-1 21
15 Southern New Hampshire Penmen NH 40-11 3-0 NR
16 Barry Bucs FL 35-17 3-0 NR
17 Cal State San Bernardino Coyotes CA 41-17 3-0 24
18 Augustana Vikings SD 45-18 3-0 NR
19 Newberry Wolves SC 43-15 2-2 11
20 Montevallo Falcons AL 39-16 1-2 14
21 Southern Arkansas Muleriders AR 40-18 1-2 10
22 Azusa Pacific Cougars CA 35-19 1-2 20
23 UNC Pembroke Braves NC 39-17 1-2 15
24 Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars IL 36-15 1-2 18
25 Wayne State Warriors MI 42-13 0-2 16

Dropped: Valdosta State, Metro State, East Stroudsburg, Columbus St.

Top Most Outstanding Player Candidates

Julian Boyd, Colorado Mesa - Boyd helped lead the Mavericks to their 11th straight regular season. He is currently leading the team with 86 hits and batting .441 with 24 doubles, six triples and 10 home runs for a .779 slugging percentage. He also had 39 walks to amass a .534 on base percentage. The senior outfielder also has 37 stolen bases to lead the team.

Sam Kuchinski, Montevallo - Kuchinski won the Gulf South Conference Player of the Year for the second season as he batted .399 with 15 doubles and 16 home runs. He also earned 46 walks and 16 HBPs to accumulate a robust .542 on base percentage which places him in the top ten nationally. Kuchinski helped the Falcons to their most wins in 16 years.

Luke Napleton, Quincy - The Quincy catcher was the unanimous Player of the Year in the GLVC. He is leading all divisions of the NCAA in league in home runs (29) and total bases (183) while slugging .836 with a .469 on-base percentage. His 78 hits on the season so far also include 16 doubles and a triple. With Napleton in the middle of the order Quincy has set a new program record for wins in a single season, won both the GLVC regular season and conference tournaments and back-to-back regional championships 

Carson Ogilvie, Lubbock Christian - Ogilvie batted .407 with 29 doubles, nine triples and eight home runs for the Chaparrals to lead the Lone Star Conference in total bases. He also added 38 walks and eight HBPs to push his on base percentage to .505. He successfully stole 15 bases and only grounded into a double-play twice. On defense as LCU’s shortstop he had 137 assists and 91 putouts with only nine errors for a .962 fielding percentage. 

Top Most Outstanding Pitcher Candidates

Kade Bragg, Angleo State - Bragg was the Lone Star Conference Pitcher of the Year and currently has a D-II leading 1.11 ERA with 108 strikeouts in just 89 innings. He has only allowed 50 hits and issued 32 walks for a 0.92 WHIP and .160 B/AVG. He threw four complete games on the season, two of which were shutouts in two of his last three outings.

Mitch Farris, Wingate - Farris struck out 127 batters in 89 innings while only allowing 39 hits and 16 walks. Opponents batted .128 against him and he earned a tops in the nation 0.62 WHIP. He threw three complete games including two-hit shutouts in his two of his final three outings of the season. He was one of two D-II players named to the 45-player 2023 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List. He also batted .270 with six home runs in 74 at bats as a DH.

Dalton Neushwander, West Florida - Neushwander earned a 1.87 ERA with a 0.99 WHIP as he helped West Florida to a resurgent season in which they swept the Gulf South regular season title and tournament titles. He threw 101 ⅓ innings on the season and only allowed 73 hits and 27 walks with 77 strikeouts. He threw three complete games, one of which was a two-hit shutout in the opening round of the NCAA South Regional.

Most Valuable Player Candidates

Jakob Christian, Point Loma - Despite finishing as the national runner-up last season, Point Loma lost much of its roster over the summer. One of the few weapons returning on offense was slugging sophomore first baseman Jakob Christian. He batted .408 with 28 home runs which broke the PacWest single season record as the Sea Lions won the regular season conference title and advanced into regional play. His .908 slugging percentage was .253 points higher than any teammate and his .408 average led the team. He also paced the club with 65 runs scored and 70 RBI.

Drey Dirksen, Augustana - Dirksen’s batting average has risen from .275 to .354 this season and along with it has been the Vikings’ postseason prospects. Only one member of the team has a higher average, and none can match his 17 doubles, 16 home runs or come close to his 143 total bases. He serves as the team’s catcher and has thrown out 11 of 21 attempted base stealers while handling a pitching staff that is second in the NSIC in ERA and has compiled over 100 strikeouts than any other conference rival.  

Drew Donaldson, UIndy - Donaldson’s prowess as the plate has the Hounds on the precipice of advancing to the NCAA DII Baseball Championship. He is batting .427, which is .050 points higher than any everyday player on the team with 21 doubles, seven triples and 10 home runs - all of which lead the team. He is also tops on the team in hits, runs, total bases and RBI. He has successfully stolen 17 of 21 bases and has made only seven errors in 226 chances in the middle of the infield. 

Christian Jayne, UNCP -  The Braves concluded the 2023 season with their third highest win total in history and earned their third straight NCAA postseason bid. A big part of their success this season was due to centerfielder Christian Jayne. The former MLB draft pick led the team in batting with a .381 average, as well as doubles (23), RBI (59), total bases (131) and on base percentage at .482. He also added 41 stolen bases to help the Braves finish a half-game behind Barton in the ultra-competitive Conference Carolinas standings. 

Rank School State Overall Rec. Week Rec. Prev Rank
1 Southeastern Fire FL 55-4 3-0 1
2 Georgia Gwinnett Grizzlies GA 50-6 3-1 2
3 Cumberlands Patriots KY 49-6 3-0 4
4 Bellevue Bruins NE 48-8 3-0 6
5 Westmont Warriors CA 43-8 3-0 7
6 William Carey Crusaders MS 47-9 3-0 10
7 LSU Shreveport Pilots LA 47-10 3-2 3
8 Tennessee Wesleyan Bulldogs TN 43-11 1-2 5
9 Missouri Baptist Spartans MO 44-9 2-2 9
10 Hope International Royals CA 33-11 0-2 8
11 Benedictine Mesa Redhawks AZ 44-14 2-2 13
12 Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes KS 44-15 2-2 14
13 Vanguard Lions CA 35-18 2-2 16
14 Freed-Hardeman Lions TN 40-21 3-2 18
15 Lewis-Clark State Warriors ID 33-16 3-0 NR
16 Oklahoma City Stars OK 32-21 2-2 24
17 Indiana Wesleyan IN 39-18-1 3-0 NR
18 Taylor Trojans IN 40-15 3-0 NR
19 Cumberland Phoenix TN 36-15-1 1-2 17
20 Central Methodist Eagles MO 36-19 2-2 20
21 Webber International Warriors FL 40-17 0-2 11
23 McPherson Bulldogs KS 37-16 1-2 19
22 Doane Tigers NE 43-12 1-2 12
24 Mobile Rams AL 35-15 0-2 15
25 MidAmerica Nazarene Pioneers KS 34-26 4-1 NR

Dropped: Columbia, Reinhardt, Texas Wesleyan, Concordia

Most Outstanding Player Candidates

Jhors Gomez, Southwest Christian - Gomez put together a prolific season despite playing second base - a position not traditionally known for offensive output. He hit .505 with 101 hits in 200 at bats for the Eagles. His hits included 21 doubles, five triples and 18 home runs. He also walked 44 times for a .602 on base percentage which is second in the nation. While SCU missed out on the NAIA Opening Round, they are still playing in the NCCAA Baseball World Series and are one win away from their first ever NCAA National Title.

AJ Sczpkowski, Georgia Gwinnett - Sczepkowski has a .417 batting average and an NAIA leading 52 extra base hits to compile 203 total bases. His 30 home runs are second in the NAIA and could overtake the lead if the Grizzlies continue to win at the NAIA World Series. On the season his on base percentage is .518 and he has also stolen 36 bases to become the NAIA’s first 30/30 player.

Cole Turney, Cumberland - Turney’s numbers this season have been ridiculous. He has easily outpaced the opposition nationally in slugging as he has compiled a mind-blowing 1.286 percentage. Only Sczepkowski’s .985 percentage is within .360 points of that mark. In just 140 at bats he has an NAIA leading 32 home runs with nine doubles. His batting average is .521 and he has been walked 53 times and hit by a pitch 13 times to amass a lofty .675 on base percentage.

Most Outstanding Pitcher Candidates

Eli Davis, Oklahoma City - Davis was the Sooner Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year and finished the season with a 1.83 ERA and 137 strikeouts in 103 ⅓ innings. He only allowed 74 hits and issued 32 walks for a .196 B/AVG and 1.03 WHIP. He threw six complete games and even earned a save as he helped OCU advance to the NAIA Opening Round finals.

Hector Garcia, Hope International - Garcia twice struck out 15 batters in a start for a total of 30 in only 13 innings of work. On the season he finished with a 2.72 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 56 ⅓ innings for an NAIA leading 14.86 K/9. He also only allowed 34 hits and 11 walks for a dainty 0.80 WHIP.

Darien Smith, Southeastern - Smith has a remarkable season emphasized by the fact that half of his outings were against teams which advanced to the NAIA Opening Round. He currently has a 2.96 ERA with 111 strikeouts in 76 innings and has only allowed 57 hits and 31 walks. Opponents have only managed to accumulate 16 extra base hits and a .204 batting average against him. His 13.14 strikeout per nine innings rank eighth in the NAIA.

Most Valuable Player Candidates

Blane Besse, Missouri Baptist - The Spartans had a remarkable season in 2023, fueled in large part by leading off hitting outfielder Blaine Besse. He raised his batting average from .324 to a team leading.424 while boosting his home run total from six to sixteen which also paced the club. His 39 walks helped him compile a .528 on base percentage as he was named the American Midwest Conference Player of the Year. He helped MBU finish with its highest win total in six years and its highest winning percentage ever.

Lucas Goodin, Indiana Wesleyan - The Wildcats are headed to Lewiston for the first time in program history and the play of Lucas Goodin is a major part of it. Their win over Missouri Baptist to send them to the World Series is an encapsulation of what he had done for the team as he led off the game with a home run and regained the lead late with a three-run blast. On the season he is batting .373 with 12 doubles, 19 home runs and 38 stolen bases - all of which lead the team.

Ryan Major, LSU Shreveport - Major will likely end the season with an NAIA leading 45 stolen bases, accumulated in large part due to his .472 batting average. In just 212 at bats he knocked out 100 hits (which are currently second nationally) which included 22 doubles and nine triples. The Pilot outfielder earned Red River Conference Player of the Year honors. 

Will McCall, Freed-Hardeman - The Lions’ third baseman McCall kept FHU competitive the entire season and pushed them into the postseason with a strong senior season. He led the team in batting average (.389), home runs (16), RBI (78) as well as easily outpacing his fellow Lions in slugging percentage (.717) and on base percentage (.527).

Alan West, Central Methodist - West was one of the top pitchers in the NAIA and was named the Heart of America Conference Pitcher of the Year as he threw 89 ⅓ innings on the mound while striking out 117 batters. He had a 3.02 ERA and incredibly threw eight complete games. He also played outfield and topped the team in hitting with a .404 average with 10 doubles, seven triples and nine home runs. 

Rank School State Overall Rec. Week Rec. Prev Rank
1 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays MD 42-4 3-0 1
2 Salisbury Seagulls MD 33-6 3-1 2
3 Lynchburg Hornets VA 41-7 3-1 3
4 Shenandoah Hornets VA 42-8 4-1 5
5 Aurora Spartans IL 42-4 3-0 7
6 Endicott Gulls MA 43-7 4-1 6
7 Baldwin Wallace Yellow Jackets OH 34-10 3-0 9
8 East Texas Baptist Tigers TX 38-12 3-1 11
9 Birmingham-Southern Panthers AL 39-11 3-2 4
10 Denison Big Red OH 36-10 2-2 10
11 Marietta Pioneers OH 37-11 3-0 15
12 Rowan Profs NJ 33-13 3-0 16
13 UW LaCrosse Eagles WI 34-10 3-1 14
14 UW-Stevens Point Pointers WI 32-12 3-1 19
15 Wheaton Lyons MA 41-7 4-1 18
16 Christopher Newport Captains VA 33-11 2-2 12
17 Arcadia Knights PA 32-14 0-2 8
18 Ithaca Bombers NY 31-14 3-0 NR
19 La Verne Leopards CA 31-16 3-1 NR
20 Misericordia Cougars PA 37-13 4-1 NR
21 Eastern Connecticut Warriors CT 35-12 1-2 13
22 Salve Regina Seahawks RI 39-10-1 2-2 17
23 Cortland State Red Dragons NY 34-13 2-2 23
24 NC Wesleyan Batting Bishops NC 36-10 1-2 20
25 Augustana Vikings IL 39-9 1-2 24

Dropped: Tufts, Trinity, Penn State Harrisburg 

Most Outstanding Player Candidates

Sam Angelo, Montclair State - Angelo placed in the top ten nationally in both slugging percentage and on base percentage. He hit .457 with 17 doubles, 13 home runs and two triples to amass an .891 slugging percentage. He also drew 42 walks and was hit by a pitch to compile a .578 on base percentage. Combined his OPS was 1.469.

Matthew Cooper, Johns Hopkins - Hopkins is second in D-III with a .957 slugging percentage for the top ranked Blue Jays. He is batting a team leading .444 with 12 doubles and 23 home runs which is tied for tops in the division. The lowest the senior outfielder’s batting average has been all season was .421 after he went 1-4 in the third game of the season. His 155 total bases also lead D-III.

Ben Lea, East Texas Baptist - Lea is leading the Tigers in batting with a .413 average and has hit 23 home runs to amass a .922 slugging percentage. He has also walked 25 times and been hit by a pitch five times to generate a .503 on base percentage. The sophomore outfielder, who was named the American Southwest Conference Player of the Year, also has stolen ten bases as he has helped the Tigers earn their first NCAA Regional championship.

Most Outstanding Pitcher Candidates

Harrison Boushele, Augustana - Bouchsele was the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin Pitcher of the Year as he helped Augustana to a new program record in wins. He had a 1.63 ERA and struck out 109 batters in just 83 innings. He only allowed 57 hits for a .189 B/AVG and his 25 walks kept his season WHIP to 0.99.

Sayers Collins, East Texas Baptist - Sayers struck out 119 batters in only 86 ⅔ innings while limiting opposition to 58 hits and a .185 batting average. He had a 2.28 ERA on the season and threw four complete games to earn recognition as the American Southwest Conference Pitcher of the Year. He threw a minimum of five innings in each of his fourteen starts and never had less than six strikeouts in a game. 

Shaun Gamelin, Rhode Island -  Gamelin struck out a D-III best 143 batters in 89 innings - a total currently two dozen higher than any other pitcher as he reached double-digit strikeout totals in 10 of his 13 starts. He had a 2.93 ERA and held opposition to a .194 batting average. He only walked 26 batters for a 5.50 K/BB ratio and threw three complete games.

Gerald Terry, La Verne - La Verne is headed to a Super Regional and the pitching of Terry is a big part of the Panthers’ success. He had a 2.04 ERA on the season and has struck out 117 batters in 97 innings. Opponents have only managed 68 hits against him for a .190 batting average. Hewas named the SCIAC Pitcher of the Year and struckout 19 batters in 8 ⅓ innings against Caltech. In the previous game he struck out 15 in a win over nationally ranked Endicott. 

Gabe Van Emon, Endicott - Endicott is leading D-III in the ERA at 1.05 to help the Gulls advance to the Super Regionals. In 77 innings he has struck out 98 batters while only allowing 50 hits. He was named the Commonwealth Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year and had a two-hit, 14 strikeout shutout against Wentworth in his top outing of the year.

Most Valuable Player Candidates

Noah Campanelli, St. John Fisher - St. John Fisher’s senior second baseman was named the Empire 8 Conference Player of the Year for a second time after a masterful season in which he batted .435 with 19 doubles, seven triples and eight home runs. His .733 slugging percentage was over .130 points higher than any of his teammates and his .502 on base percentage easily topped the team as well. He also stole 51 bases as Fisher went undefeated in conference play and won their third third-consecutive conference championship before being eliminated from the post season by top ranked Johns Hopkins.

Brett Carson, Marietta - Carson was named the Ohio Athletic Conference Player of the year as he led Marietta to a second place finish in both the OAC regular season and conference tournament with a .424 batting average with 12 home runs and 21 doubles. His 149 total bases are third nationally. Those numbers also are worthy of MVP honors, yet he additionally had a 1.95 ERA on the mound over 50 ⅔ innings with 64 strikeouts. 

Jack Thomson, Lewis & Clark - Thompson helped the Pioneers to one of their most successful seasons in program history as they earned their first-ever trips to the Northwest Conference Tournament and NCAA Tournament. It’s unlikely they would have been as accomplished had it not been for the contribution of senior third baseman Jack Thomson. He led the team in several offensive categories including batting average (.382), doubles (15), home runs (23), runs (71) and RBI (55). Both his .934 slugging percentage, which is third in D-III, and .576 OB% were significantly higher than any of his fellow Pioneers.