What To Watch For This Weekend In College Baseball (5/6)

Image credit: Oregon State star Travis Bazzana (Photo courtesy of Oregon State)

Top 25 Schedule

Rank Team Opponents (Fri., Sat., Sun.) TV
1 Tennessee at Kentucky (Thurs.-Sat.) SEC Network+ (Fri., Sat.)
2 Oregon State (24) Oregon Pac-12 Network
3 Oklahoma State Southeast Missouri State OkState.com
4 Virginia Tech Villanova ACC Network Extra
5 Arkansas at (21) Auburn SEC Network+ (Fri., Sun.), SEC Network (Sat.)
6 Miami North Dakota State ACC Network Extra
7 Louisville at Wake Forest ACC Network Extra
8 Notre Dame Off None
9 UCLA at Washington Pac-12 Network
10 Stanford California Pac-12 Network+
11 Gonzaga Off None
12 Virginia Off None
13 Southern Mississippi Old Dominion ESPN+
14 Texas A&M South Carolina SEC Network+
15 Florida State at Boston College ACC Network Extra (Fri., Sun.), ACC Network (Sat.)
16 TCU Oklahoma ESPN+
17 Texas Tech Off None
18 Texas State at Louisiana-Monroe ESPN+ (Fri.)
19 Maryland at Rutgers B1G+
20 LSU at Alabama SEC Network+ (Fri., Sun.), SEC Network (Sat.)
21 Auburn (7) Arkansas SEC Network+ (Fri., Sun.), SEC Network (Sat.)
22 Georgia Vanderbilt SEC Network+ (Fri., Sat.), SEC Network (Sun.)
23 Georgia Tech at Clemson ACC Network (Fri.), ACC Network Extra (Sat., Sun.)
24 Oregon at (2) Oregon State Pac-12 Network
25 UC Santa Barbara at UC Irvine ESPNU (Fri.), ESPN+ (Sat., Sun.)

(24) Oregon at (2) Oregon State
Watch on Pac-12 Network.

The in-state rivals are set for a big weekend in Corvallis. Oregon State (35-9, 15-6) is leading the Pac-12, but Oregon (28-16, 13-8) isn’t far off the pace. The Beavers are well on their way to being a top-eight seed in the NCAA Tournament, while the Ducks are still in the mix to host regionals. A series win this weekend would go a long way to helping Oregon get there. Oregon swept the series last year in Eugene, marking a significant turn in the rivalry and Oregon State has been eager to swing it back in its favor this season. The Beavers and Ducks have met twice in non-conference midweek action already, with Oregon State sweeping those games in Eugene, including a 2-0 win Tuesday. These are the two best offenses in the Pac-12, averaging more than seven runs per game. The difference maker in the series may be Oregon State ace Cooper Hjerpe (8-1, 2.13), who is perhaps the best pitcher in the nation. If Oregon is to break through this weekend, the Ducks will first have to get past the lefthander.

 (5) Arkansas at (21) Auburn
Stream on SEC Network+ on Friday and Sunday. Watch on SEC Network on Saturday.

Arkansas (34-11,14-7) leads the chasing pack in the SEC West by two games. Auburn (31-14, 12-9) is tied with LSU and Texas A&M in the standings but has the best RPI in the division (No. 4). The Tigers lost last weekend at No. 1 Tennessee but pushed the Volunteers harder than any other team had this season. Whichever team wins this weekend will get a real boost to its postseason resume. Auburn is already in good position to host regionals for the first time since 2010 and is aiming for a top-eight national seed. Arkansas could use the RPI boost that a road series win would provide. These are two high-powered offenses averaging more than seven runs per game. Auburn slugger Sonny DiChiara (.436/.597/.842, 13 HR) is the nation’s leading hitter. Arkansas ace Connor Noland (5-3, 2.77) will look to shut him down Friday night to set the tone for the weekend.

California at (10) Stanford
Stream on Pac-12 Network+.

The Bay Area rivals meet this weekend at Sunken Diamond for the Big Series. Stanford (26-14, 12-9) comes into the weekend still in the Pac-12 title race and the race to host regionals, but it is slipping in both after losing a series last weekend at Washington. Cal (22-22, 11-13) is on the edge of the NCAA Tournament race and needs a series win to keep its postseason hopes alive. The Golden Bears last year won the series against the Cardinal, their first series win in the rivalry since 2014. In addition to the rivalry and postseason stakes, this will also be a matchup of top outfield draft prospects with Stanford’s Brock Jones (.309/.453/.604, 9 HR, 9 SB) and Cal’s Dylan Beavers (.290/.429/.657, 15 HR) squaring off. Both have first-round potential.

(19) Maryland at Rutgers
Stream on B1G+.

The top two teams in the Big Ten standings will meet in Piscataway this weekend, as Rutgers (36-10, 15-3) hosts Maryland (36-9, 11-4). The Scarlet Knights have the edge in the standings coming into the weekend, but the Terrapins have the more impressive resume this season, including a series win at third-place Illinois two weeks ago. Still, Rutgers has been consistent in conference play and has lost just one Big Ten series. The teams are a contrast in styles on the mound, as Maryland is led by its rotation of Nick Dean (3-2, 4.12), Ryan Ramsey (8-0, 2.42) and Jason Savacool (7-2, 2.39), while Rutgers looks to its bullpen to shorten games, with the trio of Sam Bello (4-0, 2.10), Ben Gorski (4-0, 2.57) and Dale Stanavich (0-2, 1.16, 10 SV) leading the way. There’s some real star power in this series, as Ramsey is coming off throwing a perfect game against Northwestern a week ago and Rutgers center fielder Ryan Lasko last weekend in a sweep of Ohio State went 9-for-17 with three doubles, five home runs and seven runs.

North Carolina at North Carolina State
Stream on ACC Network Extra on Friday and Sunday. Watch on ESPNU on Saturday.

The rivalry on Tobacco Road carries some weighty postseason implications this season. NC State (29-13, 11-9) is on the edge of the hosting race and a series win this weekend could push it further into the mix. North Carolina (25-17, 8-13), meanwhile, is on the NCAA Tournament bubble due to a losing record in the ACC and disappointing records away from home (3-12) and against top-50 competition (4-13). This weekend presents the Tar Heels with an opportunity to improve in all three areas. NC State’s Tommy White (.372/.430/.762, 19 HR) and North Carolina’s Angel Zarate (.348/.435/.459) have been two of the best hitters in the ACC this season and slowing them down will be critical for both pitching staffs.

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