Image credit: Mississippi State RHP Landon Sims (Photo courtesy of Mississippi State)
On this episode of the Baseball America College Podcast, presented by Rapsodo, Teddy Cahill and Joe Healy preview week 6 around college baseball and discuss the newly-released field of 64 projection, the first one of the season.
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When discussing the field of 64, the hosts talk about the possibility of five SEC hosts among the top eight, how many hosts to expect in the SEC and ACC, how strange it is to see teams like Pittsburgh and Notre Dame among those in host positions and which conferences have helped or hurt their postseason cause this season.
From there, they get into the series previews, which this week include:
- No. 1 Arkansas traveling to Starkville to take on No. 2 Mississippi State. Both teams boast pitching staffs full of big arms, but to this point of the season, MSU has had the much more consistent staff. It will be on the Arkansas lineup to try to get to the Bulldogs’ pitchers early, because trying to mount a comeback against that staff after getting in a hole will not be an easy thing to do. With both teams boasting talented pitching staffs and good team defenses, and frankly, with neither offense really knocking the cover off the ball right now, a low-scoring series seems fair to expect.
- No. 7 Louisville playing a road series against No. 12 Notre Dame. Over the last couple of weeks, Louisville has rounded into form, and that makes what was already going to be the Irish’s toughest test of the season even more difficult. Notre Dame has been piecing things together on the mound this season, but it will have to be very solid in that regard this weekend in order to win the series.
- No. 21 Arizona hosting No. 13 Oregon. If you’re the Wildcats, you like your chances to win this series if your pitching staff can contain Kenyon Yovan and Aaron Zavala in the Ducks lineup, but every other team Oregon has played since Yovan returned from injury has thought the same thing and hasn’t been able to pull it off. Meanwhile, an Oregon rotation led by Cullen Kafka and Robert Ahlstrom will look to slow down an Arizona lineup that is among the best in the country.
- Oklahoma taking on No. 9 Texas in Austin. This is a classic matchup where something has to give. The Sooners have really struggled on the mound this season, but the Texas offense has had its own problems and is a little shorthanded now that Austin Todd is out for the season. At the same time, Texas’ pitching staff is excellent, but then again, so is the Oklahoma lineup. If Oklahoma can pull off an upset this weekend, it could change the way we think about its chances to compete in the Big 12.
- Louisiana Tech going down to Hattiesburg to begin Conference USA play against Southern Miss. With a very well-rounded club with big wins on its resume already, La Tech has a chance to do something special this season, up to and including hosting a regional if they run away with the conference crown. But Southern Miss will be a challenge. The Golden Eagles pitch well and will come into the season on a hot streak of their own. The winner of this series will have a big leg up in the C-USA race.