Hard to believe we are just about a month in the 2020 DII baseball season, but here we are. No. 1 Angelo State continues to roll without a blemish on its record behind one of the most potent offenses in the land and Colorado Mesa improved to 5-1 over nationally-ranked teams.
My Power 10 continues to have three teams that have yet to play baseball, an issue that will finally be resolved this coming weekend. Because of that, I’ll take a look at five additional teams outside the Power 10 that are worthy based purely on how they are playing at the moment.
So, how do I figure out the NCAA.com Power 10 rankings? I use much of the criteria the DII baseball selection committee will use come tournament time, including — but not limited to — strength of schedule, head-to-head matchups, and record against DII opponents. Like last week, with so few games under our belt, I used my preseason rankings, any ranked opponents some teams took down, and how commanding their wins were until more games unfold.
Here’s a look at the second Power 10 of the 2020 DII baseball season.
DII baseball Power 10 rankings: Week 3 (all games through Sunday, Feb. 16)
No. 1 Angelo State | 10-0 | Previous: 1
The Rams just keep winning and are one of five undefeated teams remaining through five weeks of play (not counting those who haven’t started of course). The offense rattled off at least 10 runs in each of its four wins this weekend. Josh Elvir’s power broke through on the 2020 season with a three-home run performance Saturday and he is one of five Rams hitting over .410. Trent Baker is one of my favorite pitchers in the early going, allowing just two runs in his first three starts.
No. 2 Colorado Mesa | 5-1 | Previous: 4
The Mavericks have played two series so far, both against top-20 teams. No. 9 Southern New Hampshire came to town and the Mavericks bats had no problem with a usually strong pitching team, winning the series 38-9. Spencer Bramwell had a huge weekend with a three-home run game as a highlight, while one of my favorite sophomore sluggers, Haydn McGeary, stayed hot with three doubles and another home run. The starting pitching hasn’t shown everything its capable of just yet, but with the bats as lively as they are, it gives them time to settle in.
No. 3 North Greenville |8-1-1 | Previous: 3
The Crusaders remain red-hot, winners of seven in a row. While the offense has been fueled by the usual suspects — Jeremy Whitehead is smoking hot with at least a hit in all seven games played this season — transfer Brady West has looked unstoppable, hitting .516 through nine games with three home runs. Logan Chapman also looks like he’s just getting comfortable in the rotation, extending another inning this week, and could make the Crusaders a real force to be reckoned with in 2020.
No. 4 Central Missouri | 8-3 | Previous: 5
Another 3-1 weekend for the Mules as Central Missouri is now victorious in all three weekends of the season. Ace Mason Green has been phenomenal, now 3-0 without an earned run allowed, striking out 21 in his first 15 innings. Jordan Fowler and Jonathan Sprinkle have rounded out what has been a very solid rotation. I feel like the bats are still getting warmed up — star outfielder Erik Webb is hitting only .286, good but low for him — but with the starters continuing to give quality innings, the Mules will be A-OK.
No. 5 UC San Diego | 7-2 | Previous: 2
I’ll probably take some heat for leaving UCSD in the top five after two tough losses to close its third weekend of play, but I’m OK with that. Cal Poly Pomona is a solid team, just outside our preseason top 25, and this pitching staff is still pretty solid, pitching to a combined 2.66 ERA and 1.20 WHIP. The big bats are performing thus far, so we have to remember that baseball is a long season. While the Tritons drop three spots, there’s no reason to panic over two losses to a very competitive baseball team.
No. 6 Mount Olive | 9-1 | Previous: 10 (tied)
Hunter Stevens has looked sharp for the Trojans, picking up a “save” against Tampa in his first outing of the season, going five innings of one-hit ball. He’s gone seven innings of each of his last two starts striking out 17 along the way and has yet to allow a run. Senior outfielder Joe Mason was expected to lead the offense and he is doing just that, hitting .439 with three home runs in the early going. There is a lot to like about what’s going on at Mount Olive.
No. 7 Ashland | 0-0 | Previous: 6
And here we go, the string of three-straight teams who have yet to play in 2020. But the wait is over and Ashland, Mercyhurst and New York Tech will all be on a baseball field this weekend. The Eagles open against a Charleston (WV) team that reached Super Regionals last year and then head to Southern Indiana.
No. 8 Mercyhurst | 0-0 | Previous: 7
The Lakers open Friday, Feb. 21 at Davis & Elkins. We’ll finally get a look at how this new-look pitching staff performs, but I’d temper our expectations. Pitching in the northeast is no easy task this time of year. We’ll see what head coach Joe Spano has in store as this team looks to head to Cary, North Carolina, for a third-straight season.
No. 9 New York Tech | 0-0 | Previous: 8
The Northeast Challenge is here and New York Tech opens its season Feb. 20. The Bears will face some stiff competition in Franklin Pierce and Wilmington (DE) in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, before a four-game series against Southern New Hampshire, looking to bounce back after its sweep in Grand Junction, Colorado. The Bears return a ton of talent — including player-of-the-year candidate EJ Cumbo and three starting pitchers — so we’ll see how much that experience comes into play.
No. 10 (tie) Georgia College | 8-1 | Previous: 9
Yes, the Bobcats picked up their first loss of the season, but I’m keeping them in the Power 10 for one more week. They have two strong wins against Tampa and Mount Olive and the offense looks like a legit force in the Peach Belt Conference, hitting .365 overall with a team OPS of .954.
No. 10 (tie) Newberry | 10-1 | Previous: NR
Welcome the Wolves to the top 10. Newberry lost its first game of the season to nationally-ranked Nova Southeastern, but that loss was sandwiched in between to wins against the Sharks, giving them the series and an entry into the Power 10. Collin Allman has been fantastic in the lineup (.400, 17 runs scored, 13 RBI) while Tomas Sorcia, Jr. has been a force on the mound (2-0, 1.02 ERA, 0.76 WHIP). As expected Quinton Driggers has been sensational in the pen, now 4-0 with a save allowing just two earned runs all season.
Also considered (in alphabetical order):
- Catawba: The Indians dropped two tough ones to open the season, but have reeled off seven in a row since, looking much like the preseason Power 10 team I had them begged to be.
- Flagler: The Saints are now 9-1 with wins over Power 10 Central Missouri and top 25 Arkansas-Monticello. Columbus State will be a solid test this coming weekend.
- Southern Arkansas: The Muleriders are 11-0 and the only thing keeping them out of the top 10 right now is that strength of schedule. The starting rotation has been fire so far while the team is hitting .301 overall.
- Tampa: Tampa went 2-1 this weekend and stays above .500 as it continues to adjust to the many new faces in the lineup and rotation.
- USC Aiken: The Pacers enter the conversation with strong back-to-back series wins, the most recent coming off No. 20 North Georgia which found themselves in this spot last week.
And a quick shoutout to three undefeated teams not mentioned: Barry (8-0), Cal State East Bay (8-0) and Pitt-Johnstown (8-0).