DII/DIII/NAIA Rankings Update: April 10

Photo: Reed Raymond (Brielle Sovis)

The updated rankings include the top twenty-five teams in each of the three small school divisions; however, limiting the list to the standard count this week was extremely difficult. There were a solid number of clubs on the outside worthy of inclusion that simply couldn’t be overlooked. As a result, along with the updated Top 25, a special last-team-out gets a special mention – the unofficial 26th team.


RkSchoolStateRecordLst WeekPrev Rk
1Tampa SpartansFL31-42-11
2Central Missouri MulesMO33-43-02
3North Greenville CrusadersSC29-83-14
4Mount Olive TrojansNC28-84-05
5Millersville MaraudersPA29-54-06
6Point Loma Sea LionsCA27-8-11-13
7Angelo State RamsTX26-123-17
8UNC Pembroke BravesNC28-103-18
9Young Harris Mountain LionsGA28-93-010
10St. Leo LionsFL30-53-111
11Missouri Southern St. LionsMO30-92-112
12Colorado Mesa MavericksCO23-112-29
13Augustana VikingsSD22-65-015
14East Stroudsburg WarriorsPA28-34-016
15Seton Hill GriffinsPA21-94-017
16West Texas A&M BuffsTX29-94-019
17Ashland EaglesOH24-54-214
18West Florida ArgosFL23-142-313
19Catawba IndiansNC29-94-020
20Georgia Southwestern HurricanesGA27-112-218
21Lee FlamesTN28-103-122
22Lubbock Christian ChaparralsTX27-114-023
23North Georgia NighthawksGA25-114-125*
24Lander BearcatsSC26-114-025*
25Northwest Nazarene NighthawksID23-9-11-321
DROPCal State Monterey Bay OttersCA

In 2019 Saginaw Valley State athletics vacated nearly 400 wins across eight sports due to violations regarding improper certification of their athletes. The losses included 78 baseball wins from 2013-18. However even without the vacated losses, the struggling team still wouldn’t have finished over .500 in any of the impacted seasons. Longtime college coach Steve Jaksa helped rehab the program starting in 2019, but he retired in 2022 to close out a memorable 45-year career.  Adam Piotrowicz, who had been an assistant at Western Michigan and Valparaiso, was selected by the hiring committee to take Jaksa’s place.

Jaksa’s hiring paid off immediately for SVSU. Last season the team finished with an overall record of 27-24, which was their most wins in a season since 2008. They also set new program records both pitching and hitting. On the mound Cardinals hurlers struck out 410 batters and at the plate they accumulated a new school high 23 triples.

This season the Cardinals are on the cusp of entering the Perfect Game DII Top 25 for the first time in program history. They have a 22-9 record and recently won three of five games against the GLIAC’s premier program as of late, Wayne State. The wins, along with another over the Warriors in late March, have SVSU securely atop the conference standings.

A big part of the team’s success this season has been two-way player Hayden Jatczak. Jatczak was the conference Freshman Player of the Year in 2021 and earned First Team All-GLIAC honors in 2022, but missed last season. He has been back with a vengeance this spring and is unquestionably one of the top players in the DII both at the plate and on the mound. At the plate, the 6’5”, 240 pound slugger is batting an astonishing .462 with 15 doubles and ten home runs. Those numbers have
helped him amass a .857 slugging percentage which puts him in the top ten nationally.  He is also the team’s top pitcher. In six starts this season he has a 1.72 ERA with 34 strikeouts in 31 ⅓ innings. He has only allowed 16 hits to limit opposition to a .145 batting average. In his first start of the season he threw the Cardinals first no-hitter since 1992 and nearly had a perfect game. In a second game that day he went 3-4 with a home run, triple and a stolen base.

While Jatczak has been the straw that stirs the Cardinals’ drink this season, there are a number of other players contributing significantly to their winning ways. They have three other players currently hitting over .400 which has the team batting a collective .342 which is good for fifth in the nation. Colin Cornwell, another seasoned senior, is hitting .447 with 17 extra base hits, Brandon Scheurer has a .421 in his fifth season with six triples and Reed Raymond currently has a .402 average. Also putting up big numbers is redshirt junior Austin Schweiger. He is hitting .385 with 10 doubles and five triples.

With such a prolific offense the pitching staff has been able to take it easy most games, but has shown they can step up when needed. Tyler McLaren was 8-1 with a 2.65 ERA last season with 74 strikeouts. Senior Nick Bastain has been solid in the bullpen since transferring from Rochester University. He has appeared in nearly 30 games over the past two seasons with a 3.35 ERA.

The Cardinals host a 9-22 Davenport team this weekend which should continue their winning ways and hold atop conference standings. If a team or two in the Top 25 falters, SVSU will likely be included in the rankings next week.


RkSchoolStateRecordLst WeekPrev Rk
1Southeastern FireFL32-53-11
2LSU Shreveport PilotsLA32-34-02
3Georgia Gwinnett GrizzliesGA33-53-03
4Cumberlands PatriotsKY32-52-14
5William Carey CrusadersMS25-103-05
6Webber International WarriorsFL32-84-06
7Faulkner EaglesAL27-103-07
8Missouri Baptist SpartansMO26-83-09
9Central Methodist EaglesMO30-73-18
10Kansas Wesleyan CoyotesKS29-75-011
11Tennessee Wesleyan BulldogsTN26-134-112
12Loyola Wolf PackLA29-93-113
13William Jessup WarriorsCA30-64-015
14Reinhardt EaglesGA26-114-014
15Hope International RoyalsCA27-94-016
16Concordia BulldogsNE28-95-122
17Doane TigersNE26-83-310
18Benedictine Mesa RedhawksAZ26-94-018
19Bellevue BruinsNE25-112-117
20Tabor BluejaysKS27-84-020
21Lewis-Clark State WarriorsID23-94-023
22Taylor TrojansIN27-114-024
23Oklahoma City StarsOK24-132-125
24Ottawa (OUAZ) SpiritAZ24-131-219
25Freed-Hardeman LionsTN30-104-0NR
DROPVanguard LionsCA

Northern Ohio started the season with an unimpressive 5-7 record, but showed they were a team with a dynamic offense that couldn’t be overlooked. Their early wins included a 25-3 drubbing of Indiana South Bend and 15-5 win over IU Kokomo on an early Sunday in February. After their first dozen games they’ve gone undefeated, winning 19 straight games for a 24-7 record headed into the week. Those wins include a perfect 15-0 conference mark which has them atop the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference standings.

Their winning ways have been fueled in large part by their explosive offense. They are hitting .338 as a team with 75 doubles and 95 stolen bases. Junior outfielder Darius Freeman’s .421 batting average and 26 stolen bases lead the team. Noah Matheson and Drake Miller are also putting up impressive stats. Matheson, who had been an elite hitter at Ivy Tech, has a .403 average, and Miller is making an impact after transferring from State Fair CC.  Matheson has also been excelling
defensively behind the plate and thrown out five of 11 would-be base stealers. However newcomer Joskar Feliciano has handled the majority of the innings behind the plate. Few teams have attempted the run on Feliciano who has excellent catcher genes – his uncle is MLB legend Yadier Molina. Feliciano can hit too. He is batting .351.

The pitching staff has been strong for UNOH as well.  It was reported in the offseason that Michael Joyce was much improved and to expect a big year from the senior.  The prediction was an understatement as he has only allowed 28 hits in 42 innings on the mound with 46 strikeouts. He is limiting opposition to a .185 batting average and has a tiny 1.07 ERA. Two of his five starts this season were complete game shutouts.  Will Myklebust, another Ivy Tech alum, has thrown well in his first year for the team. Opposition is only batting .234 against him and he has a 3.86 ERA over nine appearances which include three complete games. Eliott Traver and Jermey Yurcak have matching 1.80 ERA out of the bullpen. Traver, the team’s closer last season, has only allowed six hits over 15 innings. Yurcak has struck out 24 batters in 20 innings and only allowed 14 hits.

The Racers will be looking to extend their winning streak to two dozen with three doubleheaders this week. They host Siena Heights midweek and play Indiana Tech and Michigan-Dearborn over the weekend.


RkSchoolStateRecordLst WeekPrev Rk
1Endicott GullsMA20-13-01
2Salisbury SeagullsMD20-51-02
3East Texas Baptist TigersTX24-63-03
4Johns Hopkins Blue JaysMD17-63-04
5Denison Big RedOH21-22-06
6Baldwin Wallace Yellow JacketsOH20-42-17
7Eastern Connecticut WarriorsCT18-54-010
8UW LaCrosse EaglesWI13-42-012
9Salve Regina SeahawksRI18-32-111
10Montclair State Red HawksNJ23-45-017
11Rowan ProfsNJ13-70-35
12UW-Whitewater WarhawksWI16-42-014
13La Verne LeopardsCA17-6-12-113
14Christopher Newport CaptainsVA17-62-015
15Lynchburg HornetsVA18-91-29
16Benedictine EaglesIL17-31-116
17Trinity TigersTX21-74-018
18Shenandoah HornetsVA19-81-28
19Case Western Reserve SpartansOH21-64-019
20Aurora SpartansIL18-54-020
21Pomona-Pitzer SagehensCA23-81-221
22Cortland State Red DragonsNY15-8-13-022
23Misericordia CougarsPA17-73-023
24Randolph-Macon Yellow JacketsVA18-73-1NR
25Buena Vista BeaversIA19-63-124
DROPArcadia KnightsPA

Cal Luthern got a very strong look for a spot in the rankings after they swept three games from Cortland earlier in season, but they dropped two of three the next week and were put on the back burner to see how they responded. They convincingly won their next three series, along with a win over Providence Christian to up their overall record to 19-6 and are third in the always competitive SCIAC behind #13 La Verne and #21 Pomona-Pitzer.

The CLU is the highest hitting team in the SCIAC with a .338 average. Troy Anderson and Lucas Danielewicz have been the most productive hitters so far this spring as the team looks to earn a third consecutive NCAA West Regional appearance. Anderson’s .390 average leads the Lutes, as do his four home runs. Danielewicz, an outfielder who previously played at Southern Illinois and Mesa CC, is batting .375 and tops the team with 13 extra base hits. Blake Wink, a graduate student who spent four seasons playing at Fresno State, is batting .370 with 11 stolen bases.  Gordon Richarson, who played sparingly his first four seasons on campus, is flourishing in a starting role. He is hitting .387 as the team’s leadoff hitter and center fielder.

The Lutes’ pitching staff has been solid all around with especially impactful performances by John Frazier and Frank Willus. Frazier is excelling as a senior starter with a 1.92 ERA over 56 ⅓ innings while holding opposition to a .218 average. Willis is just getting started with his college career. The freshman has made seven appearances out of the bullpen and struck out 20 batters in only 11 ⅔ innings.

CLU faces their toughest conference competition the next two weekends. They have a three games series with La Verne this week and another trio of contests against Pomona-Pitzer the next.

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