DII, NAIA, DIII Rankings: Apr. 26

With this week’s update we’re going streaking!

Running naked through campus is a surefire way to get noticed. The only thing more entertaining than seeing someone expectedly run around nude is watching the authorities awkwardly try to catch them.

Another kind of streaking, winning an extended number of games in a row, is another certain way to get attention. When teams reach double-digit wins in a row, especially at this time of the season, it’s a incomparable indicator that the club is a national contender. They shoot up national rankings and get an extra look (for better or worse) from their opposition.

When a team is on a hot streak the effects can flow through the clubhouse and elevate players’ games above and beyond their normal output. They’re like a train chugging down the tracks. When momentum is on their side, it’s gonna take something extra to slow them down.

In each of the three divisions a team currently in the midst of a winning streak is highlighted along with a shout out to another pair of schools who are also on the hot list. They’ll be looking to turn their late-season runs into conference and national titles as the last month of the season comes into view. For their sake, hopefully their undefeated run didn’t come too early.

Rankings are based on games through Sunday, April 23.

NCAA Division II

Colorado Mesa Mavericks
To start the season perpetual South Region powerhouse Colorado Mesa was a shadow of their usual self, muddling along with a pedestrian 13-8 record. It was only March 20 when they suffered their eighth loss, a number of defeats they didn’t reach until May 2 last spring and not until mid-May in 2015. To further punctuate their uncanny early results, a pair of those wins were against the University of Colorado Springs, an inexperienced team in their inaugural season which the Mavs would routinely rout. It appeared the preseason prediction of the Mavs being a top 10 team were unexpectedly inaccurate. Nevertheless, the Mavs have proven any report of their demise to be an exaggeration.

With a 16-5 mauling of Adams State Sunday, the Colorado Mesa Mavs are riding a robust 21-game winning streak. It has been a collaborate effort of victory, with all aspects of the team firing on all cylinders. The pitching staff has been phenomenal. Their staff 3.33 ERA is half that of their opposition and more than two runs lower than anyone else in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. As a team they’ve tossed seven shoutouts, two thrown by sophomore Kyle Leahy who has been one of D-II’s most outstanding pitchers. He has a 0.78 ERA (third in the nation), been credited with nine wins (tied for eighth) and is limiting opposition to a .185 average by only allowing six hits per nine innings. Offensively Bligh Madris is the latest name in an increasing list of mighty Maverick hitters as he his fifth in the nation at .447 with a dozen home runs and 50 RBI.

Their 26-2 conference title has already earned them their sixth straight RMAC regular season title and they’ll be heavy favorites to pair it with a tournament title as well. As long as they don’t suffer any surprising setbacks they’ll be in good shape to host their region and advance to the D-II CWS for the third time in eight years.

Mount Olive Trojans
UMO has won 12 in a row to firmly entrench themselves into the top 10. Trojan pitchers have a 2.99 ERA, which is seventh in that nation, and are 12th nationally with 61 team home runs. This would be a good year to see the Trojans advance to the D-II CWS as they wouldn’t be playing in their own backyard.

Minnesota State Mavericks
MSU has won 13 of 15 after starting the season 4-4. While the Mavericks are amassing an impressive win total, 13 of this season’s wins have been by one or two runs. For a school that usually clobbers opposing pitchers, that margin is as discomforting as their pitcher Ricky Digrugilliers’ name is to pronounce. 

Rk. Prev. School ST Record Week
1 1 Tampa Spartans FL 29-11 2-1
2 2 North Georgia Nighthawks GA 36-8 4-0
3 3 Chico State Wildcats CA 34-7 3-0
4 4 Emporia State Hornets MO 34-8 3-0
5 5 Mercyhurst Lakers PA 31-3 4-1
6 6 USC Aiken Pacers SC 34-11 4-0
7 9 Lubbock Christian Chaparrals TX 32-10 3-0
8 10 Colorado Mesa Mavericks CO 34-8 4-0
9 11 Mount Olive Trojans NC 42-7 5-0
10 8 Dixie State Trailblazers UT 31-10-1 2-1-1
11 7 Angelo State Rams TX 32-10 3-2
12 12 Azusa Pacific Cougars CA 34-8 3-1
13 13 Florida Southern Moccasins FL 30-10 1-2
14 14 UC San Diego Tritons CA 28-11 3-1
15 15 Southern Arkansas Muleriders AR 33-10 1-3
16 16 Delta State Statesman MS 35-9 3-1
17 17 Nova Southeastern Sharks FL 28-15 3-0
18 20 Georgia College Bobcats GA 30-11 2-1
19 19 Minnesota State Mavericks MN 34-7 6-0
20 21 West Chester Golden Rams PA 26-7 4-1
21 22 Northwood Wolves MI 33-9 6-1
22 18 West Texas A&M Buffs TX 29-11 2-2
23 23 Central Missouri Mules MO 28-12 3-0
24 24 Belmont Abbey Crusaders NC 30-15 4-0
25 NR Southern New Hampshire Penmen NH 29-7 4-1

Dropped out: Lynn (25).


Northwestern Ohio Racers
The Racers extended their program-record winning streak to 19 games Sunday and with upcoming series against Cincinnati Christian, Marygrove and Siena Heights (three teams which are well below .500 for the season) there’s good reason to believe the wins will keep coming. The Racers started the season ranked eighth and moved into the top five this week. With a balanced roster with no notable holes, UNOH is on the short-short list of teams who will be favorites to take home the title.

The pitching staff has been, in a word, dominant. During their current winning streak UNOH hurlers have thrown seven shoutouts and amassed 12 on the season. Their ERA is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter and their .229 opposing batting average ranks in the top ten nationally despite playing a schedule filled with the competitive ilk of Keiser, Indiana Tech, Georgia Gwinnett and Davenport. Few pitchers have been more impressive this season than Damon Proctor. His 10 wins are second in the NAIA and his 1.52 ERA is sixth. In 89 innings he’s totaled 102 strikeouts with only 24 walks and 62 hits allowed.

The offense is nearly as stellar, hitting .354 as a club and averaging a second-in-the-nation 9.37 runs scored per game. They have speed and power as well, which is another reason they lost only one of 26 conference contests. The only mark against them is that their schedule was extremely front-loaded when it comes to quality opponents. Nevertheless, it would be unwise to think the Racers don’t have an extra gear ready for the postseason.

Huntington Foresters
Until they were edged by Indiana Wesleyan Monday, the Foresters had won 18 of their last 19 games. With their sweep of Taylor last weekend HU assured themselves of a bid in the opening round of the NAIA national tournament as well as at least a share of the Crossroads League regular season title.

Lewis-Clark State Warriors
Since splitting a series with British Columbia in early April the Warriors have won 14 in a row, scoring double-digits in seven of those wins. If the beat downs continue it won’t justify their NAIA opening round exemption, but will make it a little bitter easier to swallow (but just a teeny tiny bit).

Rk. Prev. School ST Record Week
1 3 Oklahoma Wesleyan Eagles OK 41-9 3-1
2 1 Oklahoma City Stars OK 41-8 1-3
3 4 Bellevue Bruins NE 40-7 3-0
4 2 Faulkner Eagles AL 40-10 2-2
5 6 Northwestern Ohio Racers OH 36-10 4-0
6 8 Southeastern Fire FL 42-8 4-1
7 7 Tennessee Wesleyan Bulldogs TN 34-14 3-0
8 9 Middle Georgia State Knights GA 37-12 2-0
9 5 Webber International Warriors FL 36-12 1-3
10 11 Keiser Seahawks FL 36-16 3-1
11 10 St. Thomas Bobcats FL 34-15 0-1
12 12 Missouri Baptist Spartans MO 35-12 4-1
13 13 Texas Wesleyan Rams TX 36-11 4-0
14 20 William Carey Crusaders MS 31-15 2-1
15 14 Indiana Tech Warriors IN 34-10 3-1
16 16 USAO Drovers OK 38-13 3-0
17 17 Tabor Bluejays KS 33-12 2-1
18 21 Clarke Crusaders IA 39-9 5-1
19 19 Bryan Lions TN 32-13 2-0
20 15 Georgia Gwinnett Grizzlies GA 32-18 1-2
21 25 Davenport Panthers MI 32-13 5-0
22 NR Biola Eagles CA 32-15 3-1
23 NR Menlo Oaks CA 32-15 4-1
24 NR Huntington Foresters IN 27-8 5-0
25 18 Concordia Cardinals MI 37-9 3-0

Dropped out: Cumberland (22), Mobile (23), British Columbia (24).

NCAA Division III

Southern Maine Huskies
It look extra innings but the Huskies extended their winning streak to 15 games after upending Plymouth State Sunday. With the win Southern Maine remained undefeated in the Little East Conference and pushed their record to 21-7 overall. It has been quite the turnaround for the team which was at .500 to start the month as they haven’t lost since April 2 when they were foiled on both ends of a doubleheader against Wheaton.

A big part of the Huskies’ success has been a solid statistical performance by sophomore Jake Dexter who has been contributing both on the mound, in the field and in the batter’s box. For the season he’s hitting a second-on-the-team .371 as the team’s soft-handed second baseman, but he’s been even more impactful as the club’s closer. He’s appeared in 15 of the team’s 29 games, earning three wins and seven saves on the season. Last week he earned conference pitcher of the week honors after earning four saves and a win in his five pitching appearances. Over those 10 innings he had a 0.90 ERA and only allowed a handful of hits.

Despite Dexter’s dominance, the Huskies are far from being a one-man team. As a club they’re hitting .328 with freshman Dylan Hapworth topping the team at a .422 mark with eight home runs. Matt Correale has been a valuable member of the pitching staff, appearing in 20 games with a 2.54 ERA, and Dalton Rice is emerging to be one of the region’s best pitchers as he has fanned 44 in 40 1/3 innings with a 3.12 ERA.

With a roster full of underclassmen the Huskies seemed to be a season away from being a national contender, but their young arms and bats have developed quickly to put them in the Top 25 this week.

Salve Regina Seahawks
The Seahawks have won 13 of 14 and moved up to the 20th position in the rankings after a busy and fruitful week in which they impressively won seven games. In their breakout season Salve has seven players with at least 100 plate appearances batting over .300 and a pitching staff currently holding opposition to a .218 average.

Concordia University Chicago Cougars
The Cougars started the season ranked in the top 10, but quickly fell out after a sluggish 8-9 start. CU has rebounded of late, winning 12 of 14 including a mercy-rule win and shutout in their last two. With a 14-2 record they’ve captured the NACC regular season title and will be looking to add more hardware in the national postseason.

Rk. Prev. School ST Record Week
1 1 Shenandoah Hornets VA 31-3 4-0
2 2 Birmingham-Southern Panthers AL 32-6 3-0
3 7 Oswego State Lakers NY 23-8 4-1
4 5 Wooster Fighting Scots OH 24-5 5-0
5 3 Cortland State Red Dragons NY 29-7 1-2
6 6 Centenary Gents LA 29-6 2-1
7 4 UW-Whitewater Warhawks WI 23-5 3-2
8 8 Tyler Texas Patriots TX 31-5 3-0
9 9 LaGrange Panthers GA 38-4 3-0
10 12 La Roche Redhawks PA 26-6 5-0
11 10 Randolph-Macon Yellow Jackets VA 24-10 1-2
12 15 Salisbury Seagulls MD 30-8 4-0
13 11 Tufts Jumbos MA 21-5-1 3-2
14 13 Emory Eagles GA 27-12 3-1
15 14 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays MD 28-6 4-0
16 17 St. John Fisher Cardinals NY 23-6 5-0
17 16 UT Dallas Comets TX 28-9 3-1
18 20 Washington Bears MO 20-8 2-0
19 21 Cal Lutheran Kingsmen CA 26-9 4-0
20 24 Salve Regina Seahawks RI 27-5 7-1
21 NR Southern Maine Huskies ME 21-7 5-0
22 NR Washington & Jefferson Presidents PA 23-7 5-2
23 NR St. Joseph’s Monks ME 26-6 6-2
24 NR Linfield Wildcats WA 28-11 4-1
25 NR Concordia University Chicago Cougars IL 22-11 5-1

Dropped out: Alvernia (18), Occidental (19), Williamette (22), Christopher Newport (23), Augustana (25).

Originally appeared on Perfect Game website: https://www.perfectgame.org/Articles/View.aspx?article=13823

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