ms haven’t been ranked at all this season, but have perpetually been a club considered for inclusion. WCU have been especially on point as of late, going 12-3 to end the regular season and have won their last seven, which included a sweep of an excellent Bloomsburg crew that will rise the postseason stock considerably. With a current record of 29-13, a position in the Atlantic Regional is all but assured as they’d have to completely embarrass themselves in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference tournament to not advance past PSAC play. It’s particularly important to never count out a team headed by the Rams’ maestro Jad Prachniak. Headed into this season he’d only been at the helm of the Golden Rams for seven seasons, yet has already guided the program to a pair of national championships in 2012 and 2017.
Missouri Southern State Lions
Like West Chester, the Lions have not been ranked this season but have frequently had their name penciled into the Top 25 a couple of times before receding as one of the last teams out. A team with strong starting pitching can go a long way in the shortened postseason and that is what MSSU excels at. Their trio of hurlers – Zach Parish, Zac Shoemaker and Wil Bausinger – have combined to earn 20 of the team’s 32 wins and have 2.44, 3.29 and 3.43 ERAs, respetively. In 249 1/3 innings the three have only allowed 200 hits while striking out 297 batters. If they’re able to go deep into games and give the offense an opportunity to take the lead, the Lions could be a terror in bracket play, especially with the new Regional/Super Regional format devised for D-II.
The Panthers have an incredible 34-6-1 record and have only lost one game (a narrow one-run loss to Le Moyne) since April 1. Adelphi ran away with the Northeast-10 Southwest Division and are rivaled only by fellow NE10 rival Southern New Hampshire for the top wining percentage in the nation. Aside from themselves and the aforementioned Penmen, there aren’t any other clear-cut favorites from the East Region to advance to the D-II Baseball Championships. Should the Panthers advance to Cary they’d be unquestioned underdogs, as all teams from the northeast are, but nevertheless have the moxie to come home with the title.
|1||1||North Greenville Crusaders||SC||40-9||0-0|
|2||3||Colorado Mesa Mavericks||CO||41-9||3-1|
|4||4||Lubbock Christian Chaparrals||TX||35-13||2-1|
|5||5||Central Missouri Mules||MO||34-13||2-1|
|6||6||Angelo State Rams||TX||42-8||0-1|
|8||8||West Texas A&M Buffs||TX||39-10||3-1|
|9||10||UC San Diego Tritons||CA||35-10||4-0|
|10||17||Columbus St. Cougars||GA||30-18||2-1|
|11||12||West Florida Argos||FL||36-15||3-1|
|12||15||St. Cloud State Huskies||MN||38-10||4-1|
|13||16||Minnesota State Mavericks||MN||38-11||4-1|
|15||14||Mount Olive Trojans||NC||31-16||0-1|
|17||20||Delta State Statesmen||MS||37-12||3-1|
|18||9||North Georgia Nighthawks||GA||32-18||1-2|
|19||19||Nova Southeastern Sharks||FL||32-15||0-0|
|21||23||Southern New Hampshire Penmen||NH||36-11||4-0|
|25||18||Illinois Springfield Prairie Stars||IL||34-14-1||1-3|
Dropped out: None.
The 35-19 Crusaders are one of the most tested programs, having played Bryan, Southeastern, Bellevue, St. Thomas, Warner and Indiana Tech, all teams that are currently in the Perfect Game rankings. Admittedly, their overall record in those matchups hasn’t been exactly something to write home about, going 5-10 overall, but at least they have experience playing against elite competition unlike some of the opposition they’ll face in NAIA Opening Round. Their 15-7 record was second overall in the competitive Wolverine–Hoosier Athletic Conference and reached the finals of the WHAC tournament, which again gives them exposure in big game situations. If they can focus and sharpen their competitive spear, the Crusaders could eliminate a lot of schools this May.
Rio Grande Red Storm
The Red Storm have not been in the Top 25 this season but have nonetheless put together results thick in both quantity and quality wins. They have a 38-19 record, which includes victories over Bryan, Campbellsville, Fisher (who amassed 42 wins this spring) as well as the River States Conference tournament title. They are a well-rounded club that ranks in the top 10 nationally in hits, stolen bases and batters struck out. They’re also in the top 20 in batting average and runs scored. If they’re able to win their first two games in the NAIA Opening Round and get their starting pitchers an extra day of rest, they could be especially dangerous. Their ace Zach Harvey is one of NAIA top pitchers, earning a 12-3 record with a 2.66 ERA, four complete games and 121 strikeouts.
The Bruins are a terribly difficult team to forecast for the national postseason. BU has won their last 23 games, which included 26-5 mauling in the North Star Athletic Association tournament title game. They also pulverized Waldorf, the team that was second in the NSAA standings, 71-17, in a recent four-games series. With numbers like those it would be easy to think they’d be on the fast path to Lewiston. However, Bellevue played comparatively poorly at the beginning of the year against more stringent competition. They went 1-5 against the tandem of Central Methodist and Science and Arts and February, but they did give Oklahoma City one of their rare losses this spring. The Bruins also split with Warner and shut out St. Thomas, but were blown out by Madonna 15-4. As a result, you just don’t know which team will take to their positions game to game. Nevertheless they will unquestionably be a team to watch in the NAIA tournament and it will be interesting to see which Bellevue team takes to the field.
|1||2||Tennessee Wesleyan Bulldogs||TN||47-8||3-0|
|4||4||Georgia Gwinnett Grizzlies||GA||43-11||2-0|
|7||7||Oklahoma City Stars||OK||45-11||1-0|
|8||10||Oklahoma Wesleyan Eagles||OK||43-9||4-0|
|11||6||St. Thomas Bobcats||FL||42-13||0-2|
|12||13||LSU Shreveport Pilots||LA||43-10||2-0|
|13||12||Middle Georgia State Knights||GA||39-14||2-2|
|14||15||Texas Wesleyan Rams||TX||42-13||1-1|
|16||16||William Jessup Warriors||CA||37-12||3-2|
|18||19||Indiana Tech Warriors||IN||36-14||3-0|
|21||21||Webber International Warriors||FL||36-20||3-2|
|23||NR||Lewis-Clark State Warriors||ID||34-13||0-0|
|24||22||Central Methodist Eagles||MO||34-14||2-2|
Dropped out: Lyon (24), Arizona Christian (25).
NCAA Division III
Coe has college baseball’s top wining percentage at .914 (32-3), are batting .334 as a team and have a pitching staff which has a team ERA more than five runs less than their opposition. Consequently the Kohawks are on the short list of teams favored to play in their hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for the D-III title. The strike against them, and the reason they’re only positioned 21st overall despite such lauded numbers, is they haven’t playing an inning against any teams that have been even in the neighborhood of being ranked this season. Nevertheless, with such lopsided numbers it seems they should be able to compete with whatever teams should find themselves in the same regional bracket as them.
The Gorlocks have been in the rankings the entirety of the season, but never advanced better than the 17th position. During the year they earned top-shelf wins over Concordia Chicago and UMass-Boston and also played well in a road doubleheader against Spalding. The Gorlocks have an insanely high fielding percentage at .981 thanks in large part to senior shortstop Matt Staker. Webster also is aggressively awesome on the basepaths, with a stolen base total nearing the century mark. Andrian Santiago, a bullpen specialist who has thrown 45 innings in 20 appearances with a 1.80 ERA, can keep any game within reach.
La Roche Redhawks
The preseason outlook for La Roche was extremely optimistic as they were positioned sixth in the initial national rankings. However after an unimpressive 9-8 start the Redhawks were expunged from the Top 25 and haven’t been back. Nevertheless, the Redhawks remained in constant consideration as the potential for big success was unfading. They’ve had a much better second half of the season as they finished atop the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (where they led in team hitting and ERA) standings and are 27-13 overall.
|1||1||Southern Maine Huskies||ME||32-5||5-0|
|2||4||Concordia University Chicago Cougars||IL||33-5||3-1|
|3||5||Randolph-Macon Yellow Jackets||VA||25-8-1||3-0|
|4||2||Christopher Newport Captains||VA||33-6||3-1|
|8||7||Texas Lutheran Bulldogs||TX||31-12||2-2|
|12||10||Wooster Fighting Scots||OH||24-10||3-2|
|19||18||Cortland State Red Dragons||NY||31-10-1||2-1|
|22||22||Johns Hopkins Blue Jays||MD||29-11||2-1|
|25||25||Denison Big Red||OH||34-6||4-1|
Dropped out: None.