What To Watch For This Weekend In College Baseball (3/18)

Image credit: Daniel Susac (Photo by Bill Mitchell)

Top 25 Schedule

Rank Team Opponents (Fri., Sat., Sun.) TV
1 Notre Dame at Louisville ACC Network (Fri.), ACC Network Extra (Sat., Sun.)
2 Mississippi at Auburn (Thurs.-Sat.) SEC Network+ (Fri., Sat.)
3 Oregon State Arizona State Pac-12 Network Plus
4 Texas Incarnate Word Longhorn Network
5 Virginia Boston College ACC Network Extra
6 Vanderbilt Missouri SEC Network+
7 Arkansas Kentucky SEC Network+
8 Florida State North Carolina State ACC Network Extra
9 Tennessee South Carolina SEC Network+ (Fri., Sun.), SEC Network (Sat.)
10 Stanford at (17) Arizona (Sat.-Mon.) Pac-12 Network
11 Oklahoma State Seton Hall (Thurs.-Sun.) ESPN+ (Sat.-Sun.)
12 Liberty at North Florida None
13 Florida at Alabama SEC Network+
14 Georgia Tech Wake Forest ACC Network Extra
15 Clemson Miami ACC Network Extra
16 Louisiana State Texas A&M SEC Network+ (Fri.-Sat.), SEC Network (Sun.)
17 Arizona (10) Stanford (Sat.-Mon.) Pac-12 Network
18 Georgia Mississippi State SEC Network (Fri., Sun.), SEC Network+ (Sat.)
19 North Carolina at Duke ACC Network Extra (Fri., Sun.), ACC Network (Sat.)
20 Gonzaga at Pacific Stadium
21 Maryland Siena (Sat.-Sun.) Big Ten Network+
22 Texas State at Arkansas State None
23 Texas Tech at Iowa (Sat.-Sun.) Big Ten Network+
24 Old Dominion at Middle Tennessee State CUSA.TV
25 Southern California California Pac-12 Network Plus

What To Watch

(1) Notre Dame at Louisville
Watch on ACC Network on Friday, stream on ACC Network Extra on Saturday and Sunday.

Notre Dame (12-1, 2-0) this week rose to No. 1 in the Top 25 for the first time since 2001 and now faces a tricky trip to Louisville (13-4). The Fighting Irish have been elite at run prevention so far this season and rank second in the nation in ERA (1.66) and first in fielding percentage (.992). That defense will be looking to contain Louisville’s powerful offense. The Cardinals rank fourth in the nation in batting (.334) and third in scoring (10.3), but this weekend will be their first foray into ACC play. Their overall schedule has been solid but taking on the top-ranked team in the country and the reigning conference champions will be a new challenge.

South Carolina at (9) Tennessee
Stream on SEC Network+ on Friday and Sunday, watch on SEC Network on Saturday.

SEC play begins this weekend, and this series is one of the best on the slate. Tennessee (16-1) has raced out of the gates again this year, with its only loss of the season coming against then-No. 1 Texas in the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic in Houston. South Carolina (10-6) got off to a much slower start and was swept by archrival Clemson, but last week bounced back in a big way with a series win against Texas. Now, both teams are looking to make a mark in the first conference series of the year. Tennessee is leading the nation in scoring (12 runs per game) and slowing that attack down will be the top priority for the Gamecocks and top starter Will Sanders (3-0, 2.52).

(10) Stanford at (17) Arizona
Watch on Pac-12 Network.

The Pac-12 supplies the weekend’s lone Top 25 showdown, as the Cardinal (9-5, 1-2) head to Tucson to take on Arizona (13-4, 2-1). Both teams can score runs in bunches and this figures to be an offensive series. Stanford is coming off a home series loss to Oregon to open Pac-12 play and would love to get back on track this weekend. But the Wildcats are a tough matchup, particularly at home. Arizona slugger Tanner O’Tremba (.464/.558/.725) has been outstanding this season, as has Preseason All-American catcher Daniel Susac (.407/.438/.679). Stanford features Preseason All-American outfielder Brock Jones (.250/.438/.333), though he is still looking to break through this spring. Perhaps a marquee matchup will be the catalyst.

Mississippi State at (18) Georgia
Watch on SEC Network on Friday and Sunday, stream on SEC Network+ on Saturday.

Another highlight of this weekend’s SEC slate is Mississippi State (11-7) traveling to Georgia (14-3) in a matchup of Bulldogs. Mississippi State is adjusting to life without righthanders Landon Sims and Stone Simmons, who both this week had Tommy John surgery. A series at Georgia, which stands out for its pitching and defense, is a good test for the new-look Mississippi State staff. This is also a big spot for Georgia ace Jonathan Cannon (3-1, 2.39, 28 K, 1 BB), who will be asked to set the tone for the series.

Florida Atlantic at Southern Mississippi
Stream on ESPN+.

Conference USA opens conference play this weekend. C-USA last year put four teams in the NCAA Tournament, an excellent season for the conference, and is looking to build on that momentum this year. FAU (13-5) and Southern Miss (11-6) have been two of the conference’s most consistent regional teams over the last several years and both are off to solid starts in 2022. FAU is succeeding thanks to its powerful offense, which is averaging 9.06 runs per game, led by Nolan Schanuel (.403/.528/.687). Southern Miss, meanwhile, ranks 10th in the country with a 2.59 team ERA, led by righthander Hunter Riggins (3-1, 0.69). That contrast in styles makes for a very intriguing series this weekend in Hattiesburg.

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