Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Pitching Leading the Way Across D-II

California Baptist made themselves the PacWest favorite (already) in our Marquee Match-Up of the Week, many of the top teams kept gliding along in non-conference play, and conference play is already turning in to a mess around the country in terms of determining who the favorites are.

A couple notes now that the NCAA has uploaded statistics through the games of March 7th on their database:

Tusculum pitcher Placido Torres is striking hitters out at an obscene rate. Through five starts, Torres has struck out 66 hitters in 36.2 innings (!) with only 14 hits allowed (!) and 12 walks. Unbelievable. Here are his outings so far this year:

1/29 at Nova Southeastern: 5 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 4 BB, 9 K
2/6 at Armstrong State: 8 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 12 K
2/20 vs Kentucky Wesleyan: 8 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 16 K
2/27 vs Stillman: 9 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 17 K (!!!)
3/4 at Catawba: 6.2 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 12 K

Speaking of pitching, we had another no-hitter get put on the docket over the weekend. Findlay's Mark Delas, in his first career start, threw a no-no against Gannon, one of the top offensive teams in the country coming in to the game. In seven innings, he struck out six and allowed one walk in a 2-0 victory. He needed only 87 pitches to complete his feat.

Staying in the GLIAC, Saginaw Valley State's Mike Ellenbest had his scoreless innings streak come to an end after 35.1 innings of work dating back to last season.

For some team stats, here is where to start. East Stroudsburg is leading the country in batting average with a .417 team average (!), easily outpacing second-place Fairmont State's .389. They are also leading in slugging percentage (.700) and on-base percentage (.519). However, Upper Iowa is leading D-II in scoring at 14.6 runs per game (ESU is second at 14.3).

On the mound, Illinois-Springfield is carrying a 1.13 team ERA. Fairmont State (1.17), Franklin Pierce (1.29) and Point Loma (1.83) are the only other schools under 2.00.

Finally, our last four teams to not take a mark in the loss column as of today: Franklin Pierce and Southern New Hampshire (9-0), St. Cloud State (8-0) and Concordia-St. Paul (5-0).

With that said, here is a recap of the Top 25 (plus some) from last week's PerfectGame rankings:

#1 St. Cloud State (8-0): The Huskies went 3-0 over the early week, beating Malone on Monday (12-4) before beating them again on Tuesday (16-3) with a non-conference victory over NSIC foe SW Minnesota State (15-4) in between.

#2 Franklin Pierce (9-0): FPU is still being FPU, dominating opponents at basically the same rate as #1 SCSU is. The Ravens swept a DH from Adelphi (4-0 and 3-2) and then swept a DH from Dowling the next day (7-2 and 10-1) to keep themselves in the perfect record race.

#3 Millersville (10-1): The 'Ville is off until March 11th, when the Marauders play four games at home over a span of three days.

#4 Tampa (16-1): UT went a perfect 4-0 since our preview, and were incredible in each victory. The Spartans outscored their opposition by a combined score of 67-15, sweeping Albany State (18-5, 11-1, 16-2) and then beating Grand Valley State (22-7).

#5 Quincy (8-1): The Midwest region favorites are, so far, living up to expectations. The Hawks took three-of-four in a pair of doubleheaders at Bellarmine (6-0, 11-4, 8-3, 2-6) and then clobbered Lincoln in a doubleheader at home (21-7 and 12-3).

#6 Columbus State (16-4): The Cougars swept away Saginaw Valley State in a pair of doubleheaders (7-3, 10-3, 7-4, 7-4) at home over four consistent performances to continue their stellar start to the season.

#7 Colorado Mesa (8-3): Mesa began conference play in impressive fashion, shutting out Colorado Christian in their first three games of the weekend (2-0, 11-0, 6-0) and then finishing the sweep with a 9-7 victory.

#8 Missouri Southern (11-3): The Lions suffered a bit of a surprising series loss to Nebraska-Kearney, dropping the first two games of the weekend (5-2 and 10-7) before picking up a victory in the final contest, 16-7.

#9 Minnesota State (8-4): The Mavericks went 5-2 over the weekend, with wins over Embry-Riddle (in the last game of their three-game series) 7-5 and Ohio Dominican (9-4) before a loss at Florida Southern (12-6). They picked competition back up with wins over Northwood (16-11) and Walsh (5-3) before another loss, this time at the hands of West Chester (3-2). They got back on the winning side again on Wednesday with a 14-5 win over Ashland, which gave them a 4-0 record against the GLIAC with one more contest against the conference to go on Thursday (against GVSU).

#10 West Florida (11-7): UWF went 2-1 for its third straight GSC series to begin the year, sweeping a doubleheader from North Alabama (9-2 and 4-3) before falling in the final game of the series, 7-2.

#11 Florida Tech (15-6): The Panthers turned their season around very quickly in the last week, going a perfect 6-0 since Thursday. FIT beat Chestnut Hill (8-6) before sweeping Assumption in three games (9-0, 3-2, 15-2) and then defeating Winona State (10-2) and Bloomfield (12-1). Tyler Deel was the starter of a one-hit gem in the 9-0 victory over Assumption, striking out eight over eight innings to earn the victory.

#12 St. Edward's (16-5): The Hilltoppers had a great final weekend before conference play, sweeping USciences in a pair of doubleheaders (6-3, 12-2, 6-4, 17-1) at home.

#13 UC San Diego (16-4): UCSD was tagged with their first losses in CCAA play with a four-game split against Cal State-Los Angeles. The Tritons won the second (7-3) and fourth (6-5) games of the series, while they dropped the first (3-2) and third (9-1) contests of the weekend.

#14 Cal Poly Pomona (11-6): The Broncos were on the losing end of their three-game CCAA series against Sonoma State. CPP won the opener 10-2, but fell in the final two games of the weekend, 6-3 and 8-7.

#15 Mercyhurst (9-3): The Lakers swept Glenville State in a three-game series, easily winning 13-4, 4-1 and 5-1 over the weekend.

#16 California Baptist (13-5)


#17 Dixie State (13-5)

CBU took three-of-four in our Marquee Match-Up of the Week from fellow PacWest favorite Dixie State, winning the first two games (5-4 and 12-2) before the Red Storm took a 5-4 victory in game three. The Lancers rebounded with a 13-5 win in the series finale to finish the weekend.

#18 West Alabama (16-4): UWA swept a three-game GSC series from Valdosta State at home (10-0, 6-2, 5-1) before picking up a victory over Stillman (12-4) earlier today. Evan Anderson was spectacular in the 10-0 win for the Tigers, throwing a four-hit shutout with eight strikeouts.

#19 East Stroudsburg (10-2): The Warriors began their season 10-0 with a doubleheader sweep over Pitt-Johnstown on Sunday (10-4 and 12-2), but the early-season honeymoon came to a quick halt on Monday, as ESU was swept in the second half of the four-game series, 5-4 and 11-9.

#20 Southern New Hampshire (9-0): SNHU is setting up a great season-long regional battle with Franklin Pierce, moving to 9-0 with a four-game sweep over the weekend of Felician (7-4, 2-1, 6-4, 12-4).

#21 Southern Arkansas (12-7): The Muleriders suffered a series defeat on the road against SW Oklahoma State, as SAU was only able to capture the middle of a three-game series with a 10-5 victory. They dropped the bookend games, 10-2 and 5-2, to fall to 5-4 in GAC play.

#22 Southern Indiana (8-4): USI seems to be finding its footing, sweeping through the weekend with four victories. They beat Trevecca Nazarene twice (12-6 and 9-4) and Wayne State (Mich.) twice (7-2 and 2-1). In the early-going of this week, they beat GRU Augusta (13-2) on Tuesday, but fell to Georgia College & State (6-5) on Wednesday.

#23 Ashland (5-4): The GLIAC favorites started their spring break trip in Florida with victories over Lewis (6-1), Pace (12-11) and Northwood (12-8) before finding their streak snapped against Slippery Rock (7-3). They beat Ohio Valley on Tuesday (10-2) and fell to Minnesota State on Wednesday (14-5). They have four more games left in Florida before finishing up their trip.

#24 Alabama-Huntsville (15-5): The Chargers moved to 8-1 in GSC play with a three-game shutout of Christian Brothers at home. UAH won 15-0, 5-0 and 10-0 to sweep away the competition. The middle game of the series featured a one-hit shutout from Will Myers with eight strikeouts, while the series finale was another one-hitter, with five of those seven innings (and the lone hit) came from Heath McRae with six strikeouts.

#25 USC Aiken (15-4): The Pacers went 2-1 in a series victory over Georgia Southwestern, falling in the opener 8-5 before picking up 10-1 and 10-2 victories in the Saturday doubleheader. They defeated Chowan in an 18-1 clobbering on Tuesday and have another game against Chowan slated for Wednesday.

Outside of last week's top 25, the results of some of the fringe teams:

Cal State-Monterey Bay (15-3): The Otters picked up a pair of CCAA victories over Stanislaus State on Friday (9-1) and Tuesday (4-2) to move to 4-2 in the conference.

Chico State (13-4): Chico had a frustrating weekend, beating Cal State-East Bay in the only completed game of the weekend, 10-7. They trail 5-4 in the bottom of the eighth inning of a suspended game that won't be completed until April 5th.

Cameron (12-3): The 11-0 Aggies suffered their first loss, and tacked on a few more, in a 1-3 weekend against TAMU-Kingsville to begin LSC play. They began the weekend with three straight losses (9-0, 3-1, 9-6) before picking up their lone victory in the series finale (7-3).

Coker (15-6): The Cobras split four games since last week, taking two-of-three at Anderson (3-9, 16-14, 9-5) before falling in a non-conference contest at UNC Pembroke on Wednesday, 6-4.

Lenoir-Rhyne (16-5): L-R had a busy week, topping Pfeiffer (7-3) before winning two-of-three at Mars Hill (4-3, 3-10, 9-1) in conference play. They dropped a Tuesday game to Belmont Abbey, 8-6, before picking up a non-conference win over King on Wednesday (7-2).

Lander (17-5): The Bearcats' turnaround continues! Lander is riding a nine-game winning streak after sweeping a three-game series over Armstrong State (8-4, 3-2, 8-4) over the weekend and taking down Emmanuel in a non-conference game on Tuesday (11-3).

Lincoln Memorial (13-5): The Railsplitters are making their first appearance on the blog this year after an impressive weekend sweep of Newberry (12-7, 6-0, 6-2) on the road. They continued their hot week with a 27-8 victory over Shorter, but fell to Lee in a 9-8 game on Wednesday.

Lubbock Christian (13-4): The Chaps went 2-1 over the weekend, sweeping Texas-Permian Basin in a split series (10-2 and 8-2) before falling to Wayland Baptist, 8-5, in a Monday contest.

Point Loma Nazarene (13-5): Going in to Monday, PLNU had an 11-game winning streak going, and they expanded it to 12 with a 5-2 victory over Hawaii Pacific that evening. HPU came back to win the second game of the doubleheader, 10-4, and picked up an 8-5 victory in the first contest on Tuesday. PLNU ended the series with an 11-6 victory on Tuesday night, however, to begin PacWest play 2-2.

Hawaii Pacific (13-5): Speaking of HPU, here they are also sitting at 13-5 after the four-game split with PLNU. So far, all 18 of their games have been at home, and they have eight more home games to go on their season-opening 26-game homestand.


  1. Kyle: Always great info on this blog. Thanks for your hard work.Take a peek at Belmont Abbey (17-3-1 (13 wins in a row)). Crusaders are quietly putting together a very strong campaign together.

    1. Thank you! I appreciate you reading it! Belmont Abbey is definitely on my radar in the very near future to make sure I let everyone know what kind of season they are having. They haven't faced much competition yet, but it is hard to ignore 17 wins in 18 games. I will definitely be keeping tabs in the coming weeks as they face NGU, Barton and Erskine!