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LOUISVILLE, Ky. — East Texas Baptist extended its unbeaten streak to 25 games Tuesday to remain atop the NFCA Division III Top 25 Coaches Poll for a fifth-straight week.

The (10-0) Tigers scored 20 runs in a home doubleheader sweep of Southwestern, which included Ashley Croft’s five-inning, one-hitter in the nightcap. They have scored less than six runs in a game only once this season.

Meanwhile, both Virginia Wesleyan (13-1-1) and Linfield (11-1) leapfrogged reigning national champion Texas Lutheran (9-4) into the second and third spots, respectively, in the rankings. The Bulldogs split a twinbill Tuesday with NAIA’s Houston-Victoria after ballots had been cast, and were 4-1 against Concordia (split) and Southwestern (three victories) last week.  

Virginia Wesleyan plays a doubleheader at No. 5 Christopher Newport (13-5) today after winning three games and tying another due to darkness since last week. The Marlins swept the Captains in the longtime rivals’ first meeting on Feb. 27. Linfield continued to take care of business, winning four straight against Whitworth over the weekend, and are on a nine-game win streak.

A bevy of ranked games loom at Transylvania this weekend, as the 10th-ranked squad in the country hosts No. 7 DePauw (10-0), No. 22 Trine (0-0) and receiving-votes Illinois Wesleyan (2-0). The Pioneers are slated to face DePauw in a doubleheader on Friday, then again in a single contest on Sunday, plus Wittenberg and Illinois Wesleyan on Saturday and Trine in its other game on Sunday.

DePauw plays Trine and Anderson on Saturday, and Hanover in its first matchup on Sunday. Trine’s other two games there are Illinois Wesleyan on Saturday and Anderson — which it plays twice today to open the season — on Sunday.

Other Top 25 games on the calendar include No. 16 Milwaukee School of Engineering and 18th-ranked Carthage opening against each other on Thursday, and ninth-ranked Berry playing a three-game series at No. 13 Birmingham-Southern this weekend.

The biggest move in the rankings came from Belhaven (13-4), which only joined the Top 25 last week. The Blazers have won five of their last six to climb 14 spots in seven days, from No. 25 to 11. Belhaven scored 21 runs in three victories over Division I Jackson State, and split a doubleheader with No. 9 Berry last week. Including last season, the Blazers have now captured 21 of their last 25.

The NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll is selected by eight NCAA Division III head coaches representing the eight NCAA regions. Current records are listed, with first-place votes in parentheses. In 2021, schools that are not competing will not be eligible for the poll.  

NFCA Division III Top 25 Poll – March 17, 2021

Rank

Team

2021 Record

Points

Previous

1

East Texas Baptist (8)

10-0

200

1

2

Virginia Wesleyan

13-1-1

192

3

3

Linfield

11-1

184

6

4

Texas Lutheran

9-4

176

2

5

Christopher Newport

13-5

168

4

6

Salisbury

8-4

160

5

7

DePauw

10-0

152

7

8

Kean

2-0

144

8

9

Berry

9-2

136

9

10

Transylvania

9-2

128

11

11

Belhaven

13-4

109

25

12

St. John Fisher

0-0

107

10

13

Birmingham-Southern

18-2

97

12

14

Wartburg

9-1

95

T20

15

Eastern Connecticut State

2-0

88

15

16

Milwaukee School of Engineering

0-0

72

14

17

St. Olaf

1-1

68

13

18

Carthage

0-0

65

16

19

Moravian

2-0

61

17

T20

Emory & Henry

10-2

38

NR

 

St. Catherine

3-1

38

19

T22

Geneseo

0-0

36

18

 

Trine

0-0

36

T20

24

Randolph-Macon

0-1-1

26

22

25

Carroll (Wis.)

2-0

16

24

Others receiving votes:  Tufts 4, Mount Union 2, Illinois Wesleyan 1, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 1.

Dropped out: Central (Iowa), Rowan and Wisconsin-La Crosse.

Programs that do not participate during the 2021 season will not be eligible for the poll.

2021 NFCA Division III Top 25 Committee

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