21. COLORADO MESA MAVERICKS (39-16)

21. COLORADO MESA MAVERICKS (39-16)
Final 2012 Ranking: 23

After a slow start which dropped them from the rankings the team formally known as Mesa State went on a rampage and won 26 of 29 games to capture their first RMAC crown under the Colorado Mesa moniker. The Mavs stumbled at the end however, dropping their final four games and were eliminated from the NCAA Tournament on a walk-off two-run homerun in the bottom of the ninth by Minnesota State in the Central Region tournament. 2013 will be their first season in four years without perennial All Conference star Jeff Popick who signed with the homestate Rockies after the season. Despite his loss the Mavs will once again field a formidable lineup that will keep the team in the running for another Regional title and trip to the CWS . Continue reading

22. ST. EDWARD’S HILLTOPPERS (37-16)

22. ST. EDWARD’S HILLTOPPERS (37-16)
Final 2012 Ranking: 27

St. Edward’s completed the regular season with a second place finish in the Heartland Conference and earned an invite to the South Central Regional. While playing in Warrensburg the Hilltoppers advanced the farthest in a DII regional in school history, earning wins over the host UCM and Angelo State before a pair of close one-run losses ended the SEU’s season. While the Hilltoppers will be returning to the diamond without a pair of their top batters and sixth round draft pick Stephen Johnson, Head Coach Rob Penders does have a host of returning players which could challenge last season’s success and take St. Edward’s to the next level. Continue reading

23. WEST FLORIDA ARGOS (35-19)

23. WEST FLORIDA ARGOS (35-19)
Final 2012 Ranking: 26

As the defending national champions the Argos had a tough row to hoe in 2012. Not only was there a mass exodus of talent due to graduation and the draft following the season, UWF went into each game with a target on its back as everyone wanted to take down the champ. UWF played decently, finishing in middle of the competitive Gulf South Conference and earned the number four seed in the South Regional. The Argos couldn’t catch fire like they did the previous season however and were dumped early, but not before eliminating top ranked Tampa on their way out. Head Coach Mike Jeffcoat will have a ridiculously deep staff in 2013, but will need a better offensive club if they are to compete at a national level once again. Continue reading

24. MERCYHURST LAKERS (39-17)

24. MERCYHURST LAKERS (39-17)
Final 2012 Ranking: 29

The Lakers continued their strong string of baseball success last season, winning the PSAC West for the third time and four years and finished one victory shy of having back-to-back 40-win seasons. MU advanced to the Atlantic Regional for the second season in a row, but sleepy bats and unearned runs spelled doom for the Lakers who had their season come to a close after a pair of close losses to eventual national champ West Chester and Seton Hill. Head Coach Joe Spano has several top hitters returning in 2013 as well as a core of pitchers who could capture the same magic that led conferencemate West Chester win the national title last season. Continue reading

25. MISSOURI WESTERN STATE GRIFFONS (34-17)

25. MISSOURI WESTERN STATE GRIFFONS (34-17)
Final 2012 Ranking: Not Ranked

The Griffs finished second in the MIAA regular season standings, but after an early ouster in the conference tournament the club found themselves without a bid to the South Central Regional. Nonetheless, MWSU matched their highest win total in thirty years and will be looking to rewrite all sorts of records in 2013. Coach Buzz Verduzco returns an experienced lineup that should compete with Central Missouri for tops in the conference and has the potential to compete for a regional crown. Continue reading

26. TUSCULUM PIONEERS (48-10)

26. TUSCULUM PIONEERS (48-10)
Final 2012 Ranking: 8

The Pioneers started last season unranked but won their way into the top five after starting the season 15-0 and twice had streaks of 14 consecutive wins.  TC was in the driver’s seat in the Southeast Regional after winning their first two games but their season came to an abrupt end with back-to-back less than 24 later. The Pioneers did win the second most games in school and conference history and their .828 won-loss percentage set a new single-season school mark. Replicating those numbers will be a tough task for Coach Doug Jones. The Pioneers lost several crucial cogs of last season’s success, but as last season indicates Tusculum can be a worthy postseason adversary and shouldn’t be counted out. Continue reading

27. SOUTHERN NEW HAMPSHIRE PENMEN (43-15)

27. SOUTHERN NEW HAMPSHIRE PENMEN (43-15)
2012 Final Ranking: 14

The Penmen had one of the most unusual, yet ultimately successful, seasons in DII baseball last season. After starting the season unranked SNHU entered the rankings midseason, only to fall out once again after a late April swoon in which they went 3-7. Then, despite having the best record in the East, the Penmen missed qualifying for the NE-10 Tournament but were nonetheless awarded the top seed and host of the East Regional which they won to advance to Cary for the first time in school history. It was all very Kafkaesque. Replicating last season’s success will be an arduous task. SNHU may have more talent than last season, but needs to replace their top pitcher and hitter from last season. Continue reading

28. INDIANPOLIS GREYHOUNDS (46-16)

28. INDIANPOLIS GREYHOUNDS (46-16)
2012 Final Ranking: 12

The Greyhounds had been on the cusp for a breakout season the past few years and finally made their mark in 2012. After running away with the GLVC regular season and tournament titles the upstart ‘Hounds won their first regional crown in 12 years by sweeping the Midwest Regional. UIndy had their season come to an abrupt close in Cary however as the club was bounced following a pair of disappointing offensive efforts. A return trip to North Carolina will not be easy for Head Coach Gary Vaught and the boys in crimson and grey. Gone will be GLVC and Midwest Region Pitcher of the Year, Donovan Drake as well their leading hitter and shortstop Mike Page. While the losses aren’t insurmountable, the Greyhounds will certainly need some players to step up and develop if they are to challenge for another national title. Continue reading

29. ARMSTRONG ATLANTIC PIRATES (41-16)

29. ARMSTRONG ATLANTIC PIRATES (41-16)
Final 2012 Rank: 19

The Pirates won both the Peach Belt regular season and tournament titles, but went 1-2 in the Southeast Regional with a pair of lopsided loses to have their season come to a sudden close. The Pirates have the pieces for another run in 2013 but some major contributors, most noticeably slugger Zach Taylor who hit .373 with a .699 slugging percentage, are gone from last year’s team.  Head Coach Joe Roberts needs some things to come together to replicate last year’s regular season success, but if the team works hard and throws strikes they could be a force to be reckoned with once again. Continue reading

30. NORTH ALABAMA LIONS (39-18)

30 NORTH ALABAMA LIONS (39-18)
2012 Final Ranking: 20

UNA started last season in the top ten and reached the number three position before ending the year in a tie for second place in the Gulf South Conference.  The Lions were awarded the seventh seed in the South Regional for the second straight season, but failed to advance further as a pair of quick defeats concluded their season. A third consecutive trip to the extended postseason will not be easy for Head Coach Mike Keehn and the Lions. Graduation depleted the everyday lineup of some important bats, however several strong returning pitchers make North Alabama a team to watch once again. Continue reading