We head in to the third week of the Division II baseball season, and we are almost running at full capacity now. There will only be a couple notable teams left to hit the field after this weekend.
The D-II baseball world will be denied what would have been the top match-up of the weekend. #9 Grand Valley State was scheduled to head to Evansville to take on #4 Southern Indiana for the second straight year, but some bone-chilling winter weather has wiped that entire series off the docket. That gives the Screaming Eagles some more time to rebound from an emotional opening series with Tampa, and it pushes GVSU's season-opener all the way back to early March when they head to the RussMatt. GVSU will be one of the last teams in the country to kick off its season.
Despite that, there are plenty of huge match-ups taking place this weekend between a bevy of teams who will find themselves in the mix for a spot in their respective regional tournaments.
#2 (0-0) Seton Hill @ (3-6) Coker (2/21 (DH), 2/22): The #2 team in the country will begin its season against a Coker team that is coming off being swept by Wingate. It will be a good test for Seton Hill to see if they will live up to that lofty ranking, as they will at least face a decent opponent to begin the year.
#6 (6-1) Alabama-Huntsville @ (9-0) Lee (2/21 (DH), 2/22): This may be the top series of the weekend, as we will certainly find out if Lee's record deserves more recognition following the series. Lee will also face Midwest contender Bellarmine in a double-header on the 24th, another stiff test for the Flames.
#16 (7-4) USC Aiken @ (5-5) Lander (2/21 (DH), 2/22): This is another extremely good match-up, although it may not get the attention it deserves due to Lander's slow start to the year. However, Lander is still a team that split with Mount Olive earlier this year. Will the Pacers get that Lander, or the Lander that got swept by Flagler last weekend? It will be a good measuring stick for both teams.
(0-0) Drury @ #19 (6-4) St. Edward's (2/20 (DH), 2/21 (DH)): Another Midwest regional tournament contender will begin their season, as Drury will head down to Austin, Texas for a four-game set. Drury was in the championship game of the Midwest regional last year against Southern Indiana, so this is a high-quality team that St. Edward's can not overlook.
#25 (9-1) Armstrong Atlantic @ (6-3) Francis Marion (2/21, 2/22 (DH)): This is yet another series that will be very telling for both teams, as the impressive early-season Pirates will head to Francis Marion. Both teams will be regional tournament contenders, and in Francis Marion's case, they may be a bubble team come the end of the year, so this is a big series for them.
(10-0) Lenoir-Rhyne @ (7-2) Wingate (2/21 DH), 2/22): The undefeated Bears, who have not been challenged yet this year in their 10 wins, will step up their competition in a big way both with this three-game set and with a mid-week contest against Belmont Abbey. This will either be a week where we see Lenoir-Rhyne vault in to the rankings, or come back to Earth for a more realistic idea of where they stand.
Enjoy the busy week in Division II baseball, everyone!