DII/DIII/NAIA Rankings Update: Feb. 21

Photo: Brayden Woodburn (Tampa Athletics)

With this being the first in-seasons rankings update, early results were treated with caution. Nevertheless, there has already been a change atop one of the divisions. Not so much because one of the leaders has played poorly, but because the number two team has been so strong.   


Angelo State’s national title defense has not gotten off to a great start. They began the year with a trip to Eastern New Mexico State, a team which hasn’t had a winning season since 2017, and could only manage a split with the Greyhounds. They got back on track against Cameron with four easy wins, but went 2-2 once again last weekend at UT Permian Basin, who hasn’t had a winning season since 2015.

That’s not to say ASU is looking shabby out of the gate. They’re not. Three of their four losses were by a single run and all were on the road. They are batting .319 as a team and the staff has a 3.88 ERA – which are both quality numbers. Both will improve as the season progresses. It’s doubtful catcher Tripp Clark can get much better though. He is batting .452 with four home runs with two doubles and two triples to start the season. He’s also already stolen seven bases.  

The Rams host a solid UT Tyler team this weekend. Their games against the Patriots will be a better measuring rod of their ability to be the first team to win back-to-back titles since Tampa accomplished the feat in 2006/07.  

Speaking of the Spartans, the perennial power has taken over the number one position in the DII rankings with a spectacular start. They won all three of their games at the Houston Winter Invitational by at least 10 runs which included two wins over ranked teams (Millersville and Central Missouri). Next they outscored previously thirteenth ranked Newberry 44-5 in a three game series and easily swept Georgia College last weekend. For the first nine games of the season UT has outscored opposition 116 to 25.

Other notable moves in the rankings were by a pair of Conference Carolina clubs who each jumped up ten positions. UNC Pembroke has been an offensive juggernaut to start the season. They haven’t scored less than eight runs in their first ten games and have plated 15 or more runs six times. Young Harris has reached double-digit runs in six of their ten games and won a statement series at Columbus State last weekend. 

DII Top 25 Update

RankPrevNCAA StateRecordWeek
12Tampa SpartansFL9-09-0
23North Greenville CrusadersSC9-13-0
311Point Loma Sea LionsCA8-24-0
41Angelo State RamsTX8-42-2
54Colorado Mesa MavericksCO5-33-1
67West Florida ArgosFL6-21-1
717UNC Pembroke BravesNC10-04-0
88Central Missouri MulesMO9-24-0
99Mount Olive TrojansNC5-22-1
1010Augustana VikingsSD0-00-0
1121Young Harris Mountain LionsGA9-13-1
126Seton Hill GriffinsPA1-21-2
135Cal State Monterey Bay OttersCA4-40-0
1412Millersville MaraudersPA4-22-1
1519Lenoir-Rhyne BearsNC9-22-1
1614Cal State San Bernardino CoyotesCA7-32-1
1724Missouri Southern St. LionsMO10-24-0
1818Georgia Southwestern HurricanesGA7-33-1
19NRWest Texas A&M BuffsTX10-23-1
20NRRollins TarsFL5-31-1
21NRFrancis Marion PatriotsSC6-32-1
2220Minnesota State MavericksMN1-21-2
2315Barry BucsFL5-53-0
2416Texas Tyler PatriotsTX6-62-2
2513Newberry WolvesSC2-81-4

Drop: Columbus State (23), Quincy (25), West Georgia (25)


There haven’t been too many shocking starts in the NAIA early season. Bellevue hasn’t been great out of the gate, but all of their losses were to ranked opposition. It’s not uncommon for the Bruins to need a couple extra games to get on track. The winter weather was especially brutal in the Omaha area and their bats may need to warm up a bit. Tennessee Wesleyan had a rough start as well. They went 1-3 in the East/West Challenge and had losses to IU Kokomo and Montreat early. The Bulldogs have 2-11 Columbia International on this week’s schedule which should get them on track.

Two teams which have impressed early are Loyola and USAO. The two teams were at the tail end of the preseason rankings, but are both in the thick of them now. The Wolf Pack has a perfect 9-0 record with some solid wins fueled by dominating starting pitching. Three-time All-SSAC pitcher Stephen Still can already start clearing out room for a fourth honor. In 14 ⅔ innings he has struck out 23 batters with only three walks. Brady Bowen has a 2.40 ERA in three starts while holding opposition to a .200 average.  OSAO has a sweep over McPherson and won two of three against Bellevue last weekend.

On the precipice of being ranked for the first time in the Perfect Game Top 25 rankings are the OUAZ Spirit. After winning their opening series over Taylor, the young program swept the College of Idaho and Bethesda.  Last weekend they won the opener against Hope International, but the Royals won the series. They play Arizona Christian this week. 

A player to point out in the NAIA is Southeastern pitcher Darien Smith. He has been absolutely silly this season. In 23 innings he has only allowed nine hits while striking out 38. His ERA is 0.39 and opposition is batting a feeble .110 against him. 

NAIA Top 25 Update

RankPrevNCAA StateRecordWeek
11Southeastern FireFL11-12-1
22Georgia Gwinnett GrizzliesGA10-13-0
33Lewis-Clark State WarriorsID3-10-0
44William Carey CrusadersMS7-32-1
59LSU Shreveport PilotsLA11-13-0
67Cumberlands PatriotsKY6-14-0
78Missouri Baptist SpartansMO7-32-0
810Faulkner EaglesAL8-23-0
96Tennessee Wesleyan BulldogsTN6-52-1
1012Kansas Wesleyan CoyotesKS7-22-1
1118Vanguard LionsCA8-43-0
1222Doane TigersNE6-02-0
1324Loyola Wolf PackLA9-03-0
1425USAO DroversOK7-42-1
1521Central Methodist EaglesMO8-23-1
165Bellevue BruinsNE4-61-2
1717Indiana WesleyanIN3-21-1
1813Concordia BulldogsNE2-31-1
1914Hope International RoyalsCA8-62-2
2011Taylor TrojansIN3-71-2
2115Columbia CougarsMO7-31-1
2220Point Park PioneersPA5-21-2
2323MidAmerica Nazarene PioneersKS6-42-0
2419Benedictine Mesa RedhawksAZ4-41-0
2516Reinhardt EaglesGA5-62-2


With a slew of schools in the northeast, the DIII season is still emerging from hibernation. Only ten of the 25 teams in the rankings have played games so far and not have played more than six. As a result there isn’t much to report. Until March the school’s schedules are pretty thin.

Keep an eye on the Sagehens. Big things were expected for Pomona-Pitzer last year, but they finished a pedestrian 21-19. Maybe 2024 will be the season they emerge. They started the season with a road series win over East Texas Baptist and kept it going at home with a sweep of Linfield. 

DIII Top 25 Update

RankPrevNCAA StateRecordWeek
11Johns Hopkins Blue JaysMD0-00-0
22East Texas Baptist TigersTX3-32-1
33Endicott GullsMA0-00-0
44Shenandoah HornetsVA3-11-1
55Marietta PioneersOH0-00-0
66Eastern Connecticut WarriorsCT0-00-0
77Rowan ProfsNJ0-00-0
88Lynchburg HornetsVA2-12-1
99Misericordia CougarsPA0-00-0
1012Salisbury SeagullsMD3-03-0
1111UW LaCrosse EaglesWI0-00-0
1214Christopher Newport CaptainsVA4-04-0
1313Salve Regina SeahawksRI0-00-0
1410Cortland State Red DragonsNY0-30-3
1519Birmingham-Southern PanthersAL2-12-1
1616Baldwin Wallace Yellow JacketsOH1-00-0
1715Denison Big RedOH0-00-0
1817Case Western Reserve SpartansOH0-00-0
1918UW-Whitewater WarhawksWI0-00-0
2020Aurora SpartansIL0-00-0
2121Montclair State Red HawksNJ0-00-0
2222La Verne LeopardsCA0-00-0
2323Benedictine EaglesIL0-00-0
2424Washington BearsMO3-03-0
2525Buena Vista BeaversIA2-12-1

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