DII/NAIA Top 25 Update

Photo: Tyson Tucker (Clarke Sports Information Department)

NCAA DII Breakdown

The bulk of the DII Top 25 were unchanged with only some slight jostling throughout the rankings. Of the first fifteen teams, only second ranked Angelo State lost more than a single game as they split a four-game series against UT Tyler. Considering the Rams’ losses were on the road to a quality opponent, were both by a single run with one being in extra innings and the other in an abbreviated game, they weren’t judged too harshly. 

No team in the Top 25 had any games against another ranked school which would allow them to be propelled with a noteworthy high caliber win. In fact, it was quite the opposite with schools generally feasting on sub .500 clubs overall. For example, Tampa only allowed four runs in three games to Palm Beach Atlantic, Southern Arkansas outscored East Central 42-5 with two shutouts and East Stroudsburg only allowed three earned runs in a series sweep. Augustana rebounded from a slow start to their 2023 season by reaching double-digit run totals in three of four games against Colorado Christian. Trevor Winterstein went 9 for 17 with two home runs and 10 RBI for the resurgent Vikings. 

Unfortunately there’s not a lot of heat in this week’s matchups either; however, there is one showcase showdown on the books. Southern New Hampshire initially was to start their season with a marquee matchup against Colorado Mesa, but the anticipated series was canceled due to weather and travel conditions.  The 10th ranked Penmen have another opportunity to play against a formidable opponent this weekend as they are scheduled to visit #15 East Stroudsburg. Unfortunately that series could be in jeopardy as well with southeastern Pennsylvania being in midweek winter storm warning with heavy snow expected. 

A pair of team’s at the tail end of the rankings had rough weeks. UNC Pembroke joined the Top 25 last week after sweeping Belmont Abbey. This week the Braves dropped a midweek matchup to Mercy and lost a home series to Shepherd. Colorado Mesa, lost their second road series in a row with three losses to Northwest Nazarene.  Like with Angelo State these early losses won’t be given too much stock yet, but they’ll lose the benefit of doubt with another sluggish performance. CMU, who is reloading this spring after losing much of the roster, especially needs to rebound as they host 16th ranked MSU Denver in two weeks. 

NCAA DII Top 25 Update

RankSchoolStatePrev.Week Rec.Overall Rec.
1North Greenville CrusadersSC15-113-1
2Tampa SpartansFL43-010-2
3Wingate BulldogsNC33-111-4
4Angelo State RamsTX22-213-3
5Southern Arkansas MuleridersAR53-110-3
6Columbus St. CougarsGA62-211-3
7Mount Olive TrojansNC73-18-3
8Montevallo FalconsAL83-012-1
9Millersville MaraudersPA92-010-3
10Southern New Hampshire PenmenNH104-17-1
11Central Missouri MulesMO114-09-5
12Quincy HawksIL120-04-3
13Minnesota State MavericksMN132-14-2
14West Texas A&M BuffsTX142-09-5
15East Stroudsburg WarriorsPA154-08-2
16Metro State RoadrunnersCO163-012-2
17Wayne State WarriorsMI172-12-1
18Cal State San Bernardino CoyotesCA200-09-1
19Point Loma Sea LionsCA190-08-3
20St. Edward’s HilltoppersTX181-29-4
21Henderson State ReddiesAR212-110-4
22Augustana VikingsSD224-08-5
23Newberry WolvesSC235-012-3
24UNC Pembroke BravesNC241-310-3
25Colorado Mesa MavericksCO251-36-5


Unlike their NCAA DII counterparts, the updated rankings in the NAIA have some noteworthy movements.

Clarke was one of the last team’s left out of the last year’s postseason and it appears the Pride won’t be overlooked this year. The Pride pitching staff, which was ranked nationally in multiple categories last season, has limited opposition to a .210 batting average so far this young season and is striking out 10.98 batters per nine innings. At the Cajun Collision to start the season, the superb staff threw a pair of shutouts which allowed them to outscore  opposition 42-3 in four games. Against 19th ranked Science and Arts, a team which this season had scored double digits runs against #8 Bellevue and previously ranked McPherson, as well as crushed Wiley 26-4, Pride pitchers only allowed six hits and no earned runs. 

Last week Clarke traveled south to Mississippi and played a three games series on the home field of William Carey in Hattiesburg. The pitching propelled the team to a series win while only allowing a single earned run in the first two games (although admittedly the Crusaders did tally 11 in the finale to salvage a win). With the wins Clarke vaults from 23rd up 10 places to 13th in this week’s rankings. 

Clarke pitcher Isaac Rohde has been especially impressive this spring. He had thrown a complete game in each of three starts. He had a 1.2 ERA with 35 strikeouts in 21 innings. Greg Bennett, who played high school just down the road from Dubuque at Peosta, had been superb as well. He had a 0.63 ERA in four appearances and had struck out 15 batters in 14 ⅓ innings while only allowing nine hits and two walks.

This week the Pride will be tested once again – even more substantially so. They have the unenviable task of playing a pair of games with third ranked Georgia Gwinnett in Lawrenceville. Over the past three seasons opponents have gone a dismal 14-93 against the Grizzlies. Nevertheless, there are few better opportunities for Clarke to show that their early season success is not a fluke. If Clarke can compete against GGC on the road, they can handle any opposition. 

The other major mover this week are the Georgetown Tigers who pounced into the rankings at number fifteen. The Tigers won their opening series this season over Reinhardt, the first under new Head Coach Randy Guite. They followed up with two wins each against St. Xavier, St. Francis and Madonna.  Last weekend they swept previously ranked Freed-Hardeman to usurp their spot in the rankings. 

Georgetown’s success this season can’t be mentioned without giving a shout out to first baseman Hank Schineller. Schineller started his college career at DI CSU Bakersfield in 2018, but didn’t get much time on the field. He bounced around at a couple of California community colleges and overcame an injury before finding a spot on the Georgetown roster. He played well last season, hitting .280 with eight home runs, but those numbers are nothing compared to the power he has generated so far in 2023. In fifteen games he is batting .520 and already matched his home run total from last season. Against Freed-Hardeman last weekend he went 9-15 with six home runs and 14 RBI in just three games.

Also new to the NAIA rankings are the Mobile Rams and Concordia (MI) Cardinals. 

NAIA Top 25 Update

RankSchoolStatePrev.Week Rec.Overall Rec.
1Southeastern FireFL14-016-0
2LSU Shreveport PilotsLA23-012-3
3Georgia Gwinnett GrizzliesGA34-012-2
4Cumberlands PatriotsKY44-110-2
5Tennessee Wesleyan BulldogsTN54-013-0
6Hope International RoyalsCA62-113-3
7Westmont WarriorsCA93-013-5
8Bellevue BruinsNE83-07-2
9Webber International WarriorsFL72-215-3
10Vanguard LionsCA103-014-3
11Lewis-Clark State WarriorsID124-011-3
12Oklahoma Wesleyan EaglesOK174-013-3
13Clarke PrideIA232-17-3
14St. Thomas BobcatsFL110-18-7
15Georgetown TigersKYNR3-011-2
16Mobile RamsALNR3-014-2
17Faulkner EaglesAL203-18-6
18Concordia BulldogsNE194-07-4
19USAO DroversOK242-110-6
20Reinhardt EaglesGA143-28-7
21Columbia CougarsMO182-212-3
22William Carey CrusadersMS152-39-4
23Central Methodist EaglesMO132-27-7
24Doane TigersNE254-07-3
25Concordia CardinalsMINR2-18-1

Dropped Out: Freed-Hardeman (16), Oklahoma City (21), McPherson (22)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *