DII/DIII/NAIA Rankings Update: April 12

Photo: Zac Shoemaker (Derek Livingston)

The top players from the top teams often score most of the mentions in the limited reporting of small school college baseball. In order to help spread the love, this week we’ll take not just a look at how the top five teams fared in each of the divisions, but a peek at the teams and players who will be looking to show they can play top ball too.  


RankSchoolStatePrev Rk.Overall Rec.Last Wk Rec.
1North Greenville CrusadersSC135-54-1
2Tampa SpartansFL227-73-1
3Angelo State RamsTX333-53-1
4East Stroudsburg WarriorsPA928-56-1
5Central Missouri MulesMO1227-103-1
6Southern Arkansas MuleridersAR1327-103-1
7Rollins TarsFL1425-93-0
8Quincy HawksIL1123-83-2
9Wingate BulldogsNC624-132-1
10Mount Olive TrojansNC524-100-2
11Colorado Mesa MavericksCO1527-84-0
12Montevallo FalconsAL829-92-2
13Newberry WolvesSC1029-60-1
14Millersville MaraudersPA426-61-2
15Minnesota State MavericksMN1622-63-0
16Columbus St. CougarsGA725-111-2
17Wayne State WarriorsMI1724-45-1
18Illinois Springfield Prairie StarsIL2426-84-0
19Cal State San Bernardino CoyotesCA2227-94-1
20Metro State RoadrunnersCO2130-84-0
21St. Edward’s HilltoppersTX1829-72-1
22UNC Pembroke BravesNC1928-102-1
23Lenoir-Rhyne BearsNC2031-92-1
24Cal State Monterey Bay OttersCANR22-94-0
25Valdosta State BlazersGA2523-103-1

Dropped: West Georgia

Two early errors allowed Lenoir-Rhyne to edge North Greenville last Tuesday to hand them their third straight setback after losing a series at Mount Olive. The Crusaders snapped the streak the next day when they pulled away from a dangerous Young Harris squad that has been on the cusp of the rankings all season. NGU’s losing spell was officially squashed over the weekend as they roughed up Chowan by a combined 35-6 margin over the weekend. The competition this week won’t be taken lightly. Both Catawba and Belmont Abbey have been excellent all season and, while not currently positioned in the Perfect Game Top 25, could find themselves included later this year, especially if they are to upend the Crusaders.  Abbey ace Alex Sniffen is limiting opposition to a .208 batting average and has 55 strikeouts in only 45 innings. Last season he K’d 95 in only 71 ⅔ innings, but was bested by North Greenville both times he faced them.

Like North Greenville, Tampa entered the week after losing their first series of the year and also followed it up with a frustrating midweek loss. The Spartans let #25 Valdosta State score two runs in the bottom of the ninth to push the game into extra inning. The Blazers would eventually win the 15-14 slugfest in the 11th inning thanks to a timely double from Trent Lewis who had been 0-5 heading into the at bat. Over the weekend Tampa rebounded and had little trouble dispatching Florida Tech on the road as they swept the series. The Spartans host Eckerd this week. The Tritons are an excellent hitting club with a .334 team average, but their 5.03 team ERA makes them vulnerable to giving up runs. Gavin Grubbs, who previously pitched at Lipscomb, could frustrate Tampa’s bats. He has34 strikeouts in 37 innings, but has been knocked around a bit lately. 

The Rams won three of four games against Texas A&M International after having the previous week off. ASU has been clobbering opposition all season long by scoring well over ten runs per game while their pitching staff has held opposition to a .216 batting average. However, none of the wins have been earned against a ranked opponent. The Rams toughest regular season competition is still to come. After facing Texas A&M Kingsville this week. They’ll host #21 St. Edwards and West Texas A&M who started the season in the top ten. Javalina’s catcher Nick Wolff is one of the LSC’ top hitters and a legitimate All American candidate. He is batting .406 with 13 home runs. 

The Warriors have emerged as the team to beat out of the PSAC after winning two of three over Millersville last weekend. The wins included a masterful complete game shutout by Chase Nowark who lowered his season ERA to 1.41 and upped his record to 17-1 over the past two seasons. ESU’s team pitching prowess has been remarkable this season with a team ERA of 2.64 and is the major reason the Warriors have moved into the top five of the rankings this week. After a midweek matchup against Pace, the Warrior will play a series with Bloomsburg. The Huskies fifth year graduate student Anthony Viggiano is batting a career high .376 and has set an individual high in extra base hits thanks to a team leading 14 doubles.

The Mules had the strongest week of any team in the Top 25 with a 15-1 trouncing of Quincy in Warrensburg along with a road series win over Missouri Southern. The impressive victories moved UCM into the top five of the Perfect Game rankings. Central Missouri should be able to relax a bit this weekend with a midweek home game against Missouri Western and a series at Pittsburg State, but barely. The Gorillas are currently third in MIAA with a 26-11 record overall and 17-6 in conference. Nixon Brannan has been crushing the ball since transferring from Incarnate Word where he was a full time starter and batted a more than respectable .299. He is hitting .442 with 14 home runs which places him in the top ten nationally. Zac Shoemaker has been equally impressive on the mound for PSU. He has a 2.82 ERA with 74 strikeouts in 51 innings. A series win by the Gorillas could put them into the Top 25 next week.


RankSchoolStatePrev Rk.Overall Rec.Last Wk Rec.
1Southeastern FireFL139-24-0
2Georgia Gwinnett GrizzliesGA232-51-0
3LSU Shreveport PilotsLA430-61-0
4Cumberlands PatriotsKY333-54-0
5Tennessee Wesleyan BulldogsTN531-63-0
6Bellevue BruinsNE629-64-1
7Westmont WarriorsCA731-74-0
8Missouri Baptist SpartansMO1030-44-0
9Hope International RoyalsCA924-73-1
10Mobile RamsAL1427-63-0
11Benedictine Mesa RedhawksAZ2228-74-0
12Webber International WarriorsFL1530-103-0
13Central Methodist EaglesMO1725-113-1
14William Carey CrusadersMS1129-82-2
15Oklahoma Wesleyan EaglesOK829-101-3
16Reinhardt EaglesGA1226-113-1
17Vanguard LionsCA1625-121-0
18Concordia BulldogsNE1925-115-1
19Texas Wesleyan RamsTX2027-113-0
20Lewis-Clark State WarriorsID1822-122-2
21Doane TigersNE2526-84-0
22Kansas Wesleyan CoyotesKSNR30-93-0
23Georgetown TigersKYNR22-143-1
24Loyola Wolf PackLA1324-150-3
25USAO DroversOKNR24-144-1

Dropped: Concordia, Freed-Hardeman, SAGU

The Fire are red hot once again and scorched opposition by averaging 13 ¼ runs per game last week with wins over Florida National and Keiser. The finale against the Seahawks was a memorable slugfest in which Keiser jumped to a 7-1 lead before SEU overcame the deficit with three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning and won the game on a passed ball. The Fire have a formidable opponent this week as they play St. Thomas on the road. The Bobcats are an enigmatic team which has wins over #6 Bellevue,  #11 Benedictine Mesa, #12 Webber International, #16 Reinhardt, #20 Lewis-Clark State and # 24 Loyola, yet only have a 20-19 record overall. Richard Sanchez has an impressive 38 strikeouts in 28 innings for the Bobcats and is holding opposition to a .239 average, but he also has issued 21 walks which has led to a 6.43 ERA. Christopher Schoeller is STU’s top hitter with a .363 average and a team leading eight home runs.

The Grizzlies were only able to play a single game last week as weather interrupted their series at USC Beaufort. GGC should have no trouble boosting their win total this weekend with games against Crowley’s Ridge, Voorhees and Florida National. They do however also have a contest against Talladega midweek which could be a challenge. The Tornadoes are 21-11-1 and had what could have been a breakout series against #4 LSU Shreveport canceled last weekend. Miguel Oropeza, a sophomore catcher from Venezuela, is batting .383 and has a .504 OB%. Freshman Joelvin Dilone is a pinch running beast.

Weather only allowed the Pilots to play a single game last week which was an impressive 11-1 mercy rule road win against previously ranked SAGU. LSUS will host Jarvis Christian for a series this weekend which shouldn’t be too problematic for the Pilots. Their midweek neutral site contest Tuesday versus Science and Arts on Tuesday could be interesting however. The Drovers started the season with a slower-than-anticipated start, but have been rolling lately and reentered the rankings at #25. Peyton McDowall and Gage Gaunt have been huge on offense. McDowall is batting .389 with 12 doubles and nine home runs. Gaunt is leading the team with nine home runs and batting .359.

The Patriots won each of their four games last week, but were surprisingly tested by Shawnee State who has a 3-31 overall record in 2023. The Patriots only won two of their games against the feeble Bears by a single run. The closer-than-they-should-have-been wins allowed LSU Shreveport to jump the Pats in the rankings. After a midweek game against Midway, UC has a road series against Thomas More. The Saints are sneaky good this season with a 25-14 overall record. Bailey Martin was a top starting pitcher on the team before committing to a full time position in the outfield. He is batting .350 this season and leading the team in doubles, triples and home runs.

Tennessee Wesleyan had three solid wins over Point in their only action last week. They’ve won nine of their last ten with the only loss being to Cumberlands. In the wins they averaged well over 12 runs per game. Achieving double-digit run totals this week won’t be easy as they face Bryan midweek and #16 Reinhardt over the weekend. Reinhardt has been entrenched in the rankings all season ranging from #12 to #20. They have an extremely potent offense with four players having already reached double-digit home run totals. Tucker Zdunich and Lance Dockery are the two most prolific run generators. They each have 13 home runs and Zdunich is batting .373 and Dockery is not far behind with a .364 average. Dockery also has five triples and 12 stolen bases.


RankSchoolStatePrev Rk.Overall Rec.Last Wk Rec.
1Birmingham-Southern PanthersAL129-42-1
2Salisbury SeagullsMD221-31-0
3Shenandoah HornetsVA326-33-1
4Baldwin Wallace Yellow JacketsOH519-42-0
5Endicott GullsMA618-43-1
6Johns Hopkins Blue JaysMD723-33-1
7LaGrange PanthersGA821-73-1
8Rowan ProfsNJ918-65-0
9Lynchburg HornetsVA422-52-1
10Aurora SpartansIL1116-24-0
11UW-Whitewater WarhawksWI1012-42-1
12Christopher Newport CaptainsVA1325-71-0
13Randolph-Macon Yellow JacketsVA1823-54-0
14Catholic CardinalsDC1920-33-0
15Claremont-Mudd-Scripps StagsCA1518-70-0
16Eastern Connecticut WarriorsCT1419-52-2
17Arcadia KnightsPA2120-74-1
18Denison Big RedOH2419-55-1
19Trinity TigersTXNR19-93-0
20East Texas Baptist TigersTXNR20-82-0
21Methodist MonarchsNC2221-51-0
22Montclair State Red HawksNJ1715-71-4
23Marietta PioneersOH2317-81-2
24NC Wesleyan Batting BishopsNCNR20-71-1
25Bethel RoyalsMN258-40-0

Dropped: UW-Stevens, Augustana, North Central

The Panthers lost an unlikely 2-1 contest to Oglethorpe on Sunday. It was one of those games where things simply didn’t click on offense. They outhit the Petrels 10-5, but just couldn’t get runners across the plate as they left 15 runners on base including having the bases loaded when the final out was made. Despite the loss, BSC retains the number one position in the rankings. The Panthers host Centre College this weekend in what could have major rankings ramifications. The Colonels are a quality club and currently tied with Birmingham Southern for the top position in the SAA standings. David Kinsbrunner has been solid in the bullpen for Centre. In 10 appearances he has a 1.53 ERA and has only allowed six hits in 17 ⅔ innings. He has been credited with three wins and three saves. BSC also needs to be wary of Josh Cunningham at the plate. He is batting .397 with 14 extra base hits and 13 stolen bases.

The preseason number one ‘Gulls had only one game last week. A 13-1 road win over York. They’ll be back in action this week with three games over three different opponents. They’ll play Stockton, Stevenson and Mary Washington. Mary Washington is 23-9 and got a very strong look to be included in the Top 25 this week. Bobby Ayscue leads the Eagles’ offense with a .398 batting average and 22 extra base hits. On the mound Jackson Myers has impressed as a freshman. He has a 1.99 ERA and is holding opposition to a .239 batting average over 45 ⅓ innings. 

The Hornets had midweek wins over Elizabethtown and Washington & Lee before splitting a doubleheader with Roanoke last week. They shouldn’t have too much trouble against Bridgewater on Tuesday, but Randolph-Macon getting past Randolph-Macon unscathed could be tricky. RMC advanced to #13 in the rankings after sweeping Bridgewater last weekend. Ethan Iannuzzi is having another excellent season and leading the team with a .384 batting average along with eight doubles and five home runs. He is also tops on the team with 13 stolen bases.  Hayden Snelsire can dominate on the mound. The junior hurler has a 3.25 ERA and has only allowed 37 hits in 44 ⅓ innings while striking out 66 batters. 

The Jackets only had two games last week but made the most of the opportunity as they took two from #23 Marietta  Sean Kolenich got a hit in both games to raise his average to .448 and now has hit in 15 straight contests. He and the team will look to continue their winning ways against Muskingum and Mount Union. The Muskies have quite the hitter themselves in Weston Melick. He is batting .457 in 81 at bats with 15 extra base hits. Mount Union’s Eric Shilling is the Purple Raiders’ best bet to put runs on the board against BW. He is batting .362 with 14 extra base hits which include four triples. 

The Gulls topped Suffolk in extra innings last week, but lost a game Wednesday to UMass-Boston. They won two on Saturday at Curry to rejoin the top five in the rankings – the same position where they started the season.  This week they’ll face Salem State, MIT and Roger Williams. The RW Hawks are down from last season, but freshman JT Gunzy looks to have a bright future. In five appearances (four of which were starts) this season he had a 2.70 ERA and is nearly averaging a strikeout per inning. Opposition is only batting .246 against him and threw a complete game earlier this month. 

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