D-II, NAIA, D-III rankings: Feb. 24

Photo: Rafe Chaumette (Trinity University Athletics)

Last week was the first in which games from each of the three small-school divisions were played this season. While the NAIA is playing games full bore (Arizona Christian has somehow astonishingly managed to play 25 games already), their NCAA counterparts are still slipping slowly into the new season. Consequently, there still isn’t much overall movement in either of the three rankings. Each of the pole-sitters are firmly entrenched, especially in the NAIA and D-II where Tennessee Wesleyan and Angelo State are annihilating competition. Expect that trend to continue for at least one more week before the action heats up across the country.


In regards to the highest-ranked clubs, top-rated Tennessee Wesleyan had another strong weekend with a convincing series sweep of previously 19th-ranked Indiana Tech. In the three-game series, TWC outscored the Warriors 28-2 with the middle game being a 17-0 rout. Despite being mauled, Tech only dropped one spot in the rankings as it was their first series of the season and were facing the juggernaut Bulldog club on the road in Athens, Tenn. 

Despite having their 39-game regular season win streak broken by Warner, Southeastern moved up to the No. 2 position which was vacated by USAO. The Fire were 14-1 through the weekend and would be playing their annual exhibition game with the Detroit Tigers this week if it wasn’t for COVID. Look for SEU to start compiling wins once again with an upcoming schedule thick with northern-based teams traveling down to Lakeland.

The Cumberlands Patriots moved into the top-three with another solid week. UC already has wins over three different clubs in the top-15 and should roll this week with a quartet of contests against St. Ambrose. It is entirely possible that Pats’ outfielder Bryan Leef is the best hitter in the NAIA. After batting .384 with 29 home runs in 2019 and 2020, he is currently hitting .405 with six home runs this season. Leef and the Cumberlands have an upcoming midweek matchup against Tennessee Wesleyan the first week of March which should be a barn burner. 

Three teams fell out of the rankings; Wayland Baptist, Concordia (MI) and Lyon. 

Wayland Baptist had an opportunity to make a big leap in the rankings as they picked up a last minute series against the NCAA D-II’s top team, Angelo State. However the Pioneers were rolled by the Rams and mercy-ruled twice over the weekend as well as a third time on Monday. Luis Vargas, the lone NAIA player on the recently announced Golden Spikes watch list was held to a single hit in the series.  

Middle Georgia State, Bellevue and IU Kokomo entered the NAIA rankings this week. The Knights and Bruins are well-established clubs who are more often in the Top 25 than out, but it is the Cougars debut in the Perfect Game rankings. MGA and IUK incidentally will face each other this upcoming weekend in Georgia for a four-game series. 

RankPrevSchoolStateRecordLast Wk
11Tennessee Wesleyan BulldogsTN9-03-0
23Southeastern FireFL14-14-1
34Cumberlands PatriotsKY9-05-0
42USAO DroversOK1-11-1
55St. Thomas BobcatsFL7-43-0
66Faulkner EaglesAL7-12-1
77LSU Shreveport PilotsLA5-32-0
88Georgia Gwinnett GrizzliesGA8-24-0
99Bryan LionsTN9-33-1
1014Vanguard LionsCA12-25-1
1111Campbellsville TigersKY0-00-0
1210Indiana Southeast GrenadiersIN4-41-1
1313Benedicine Mesa RedhawksAZ8-41-0
1412Oklahoma City StarsOK2-22-2
1516Central Methodist EaglesMO7-02-0
1622Reinhardt EaglesGA9-35-0
1717Keiser SeahawksFL13-41-2
1818Lewis-Clark State WarriorsID710-0
19NRMiddle Georgia State KnightsGA8-34-1
2019Indiana Tech WarriorsIN0-30-3
2120Georgetown TigersKY1-21-2
22NRBellevue BruinsNE6-21-1
2323Central Baptist MustangsAK2-20-0
24NRIU Kokomo CougarsIU2-12-1
2515Freed-Hardeman LionsTN4-72-2


After their season opening series win over Texas Tyler, Angleo State faced another strong opponent in Wayland Baptist. The series not only featured a pair of the top small-school teams in the nation, but also starred two of just five non-NCAA D-I players who were named to USA Baseball’s 55-player Preseason Golden Spikes Award watch list. While ASU pitching held WBU’s Luis Vargas’ damage to a minimum, the Rams’ Josh Elvir had five hits in nine at-bats, which included two home runs in the series sweep.

The bulk of the D-II rankings were unchanged over the past week. Had Delta State not lost their second series in a row, it is entirely possible there would not have been any position changes. 

The biggest news of the week in the D-II division is the Sunshine State Conference’s decision to play an abbreviated, conference-only schedule this spring. Due to COVID-19, the SSC canceled the bulk of fall and winter athletic competition and postponed basketball until last week. While an official statement hasn’t been posted yet regarding baseball, it appears the conference will be limiting competition to conference play only and eliminating overnight travel. The conference is home to several high profile D-II teams including Tampa, Nova Southeastern and Florida Southern. Those three teams, along with Lynn, have captured the D-II title eight of the past 15 seasons. The NCAA Regionals and championship series are still tentatively listed on SSC schools’ schedules, so it seems they still will be in the running for the national championship this season.

RankPrevSchoolStateRecordLast Wk
11Angelo State RamsTX4-12-1
22Central Missouri MulesMO3-10-0
33Colorado Mesa MavericksCO0-00-0
44Tampa SpartansFL0-00-0
55North Greenville CrusadersSC6-15-1
66Mount Olive TrojansNC3-02-0
77Catawba IndiansNC4-13-1
88Augustana VikingsSD0-00-0
99Columbus St. CougarsGA2-02-0
1010Minnesota State MavericksMN0-00-0
1111Georgia College BobcatsGA3-03-0
1212West Texas A&M BuffsTX7-22-0
1313North Georgia NighthawksGA8-13-0
1414Southern Arkansas MuleridersAR2-10-0
1523Wingate BulldogsNC4-14-1
1616Azusa Pacific CougarsCA0-00-0
1717Texas Tyler PatriotsTX4-20-0
1818Ashland EaglesOH0-00-0
1919Nova Southeastern SharksFL0-00-0
2020East Stroudsburg WarriorsPA0-00-0
2115Delta State StatesmenMS2-31-1
2221Newberry WolvesSC2-31-1
2322UNC Pembroke BravesNC3-21-2
2424Millersville MaraudersPA0-00-0
2525Davenport PantersMI0-00-0


Last week was the first occasion a school from the D-III Top 25 took to the diamond this season. Unfortunately it was only one team and for a single game (which was lost by Southern Maine). Thankfully that won’t be the situation for this week as several schools are scheduled to play, including top-ranked Webster, who is hoping to host Warburg and a trio of Texas-based teams, Concordia, Trinity and Texas Luthern, who should start their highly-anticipated seasons.

Keep watch on news regarding the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Like the Sunshine State Conference at the D-II level, the SCIAC is home to some of the division’s top schools, which includes two of the past three title winners in Chapman and Cal Lutheran. Also like the SSC, the SCIAC canceled fall and winter sports due to public safety concerns. The 2021 seasons of member institutions could be in jeopardy. 

RankPrevSchoolStateRecordLast Wk
11Webster GorloksMO0-00-0
22Southern Maine HuskiesME0-10-1
33Randolph-Macon Yellow JacketsVA0-00-0
44UW-Whitewater WarhawksWI0-00-0
55Cal Lutheran KingsmenCA0-00-0
66North Central CardinalsIL0-00-0
77Concordia TornadosTX0-00-0
88Cortland State Red DragonsNY0-00-0
99Trinity TigersTX0-00-0
1010Adrian BulldogsMI0-00-0
1011Texas Lutheran BulldogsTX0-00-0
1111Chapman PanthersCA0-00-0
1313Johns Hopkins Blue JaysMD0-00-0
1414Shenandoah HornetsVA0-00-0
1515Salisbury SeagullsMD0-00-0
1616Washington BearsMO0-00-0
1717Kean CougarsNJ0-00-0
1818UMass-Boston BeaconsMA0-00-0
1919Rowan ProfsNJ0-00-0
2020Spalding EaglesKY0-00-0
2121Babson BeaversMA0-00-0
2222Heidelberg Student PrincesOH0-00-0
2323Concordia University Chicago CougarsIL0-00-0
2424Tufts JumbosMA0-00-0
2525Christopher Newport CaptainsVA0-00-0