What To Watch For This Weekend In College Baseball (3/12)
Top 25 Schedule
|Rank||Team||Opponents (Fri., Sat., Sun.)||TV||Notes|
|1||Arkansas||at Louisiana Tech||ESPN+|
|2||Mississippi State||Eastern Michigan||SEC Network+|
|3||Vanderbilt||at (19) Oklahoma State||ESPN+|
|5||Miami||Wake Forest||ACC Network Extra|
|7||Georgia Tech||Pittsburgh||ACC Network (Fri., Sat.), ACC Network Extra (Sun.)|
|8||UCLA||at Cal Poly||BigWest.TV|
|10||South Carolina||at (20) Texas||Longhorn Network|
|12||Virginia Tech||Florida State||ACC Network Extra|
|13||Boston College||at (15) Louisville||ACC Network Extra|
|14||East Carolina||Charlotte||ECUPirates.com (Fri.), ESPN+ (Sat., Sun.)|
|15||Louisville||(13) Boston College||ACC Network Extra|
|16||Arizona||Wichita State||Pac-12 Plus|
|17||Oregon State||Oregon||Pac-12 Plus|
|18||North Carolina||Clemson||ACC Network Extra|
|19||Oklahoma State||(3) Vanderbilt||ESPN+|
|20||Texas||(10) South Carolina||Longhorn Network|
|21||Virginia||Notre Dame||ACC Network Extra|
|22||Michigan||Purdue||Big Ten Network+||Greenville, S.C.|
|23||Tennessee||UNC Greensboro||SEC Network+|
|25||Florida Atlantic||Indiana State||CUSA.TV|
Series to watch
(3) Vanderbilt at (19) Oklahoma State
This will be O’Brate Stadium’s first marquee matchup after opening this year, as the Cowboys (10-0-1) host the Commodores (10-1). Both pitching staffs are off to excellent starts to the season. Vanderbilt, led by the powerful duo of first-team Preseason All-Americans Kumar Rocker (3-0, 0.00) and Jack Leiter (3-0, 0.60), has a 2.00 team ERA. While Rocker and Leiter get the most attention, Vanderbilt’s young bullpen has also shown its strength and depth early. Not to be outdone, Vanderbilt’s lineup is also off to a strong start, led by slugger Dominic Keegan (.548/.659/1.290, 4 HR), outfielder Enrique Bradfield (.394/.545/.424, 11 SB) and shortstop Carter Young (.372/.442/.791, 4 HR). Oklahoma State will have its hands full, but its own pitching staff has shown how good it can be this spring. The Cowboys have a 1.91 team ERA with a rotation of Parker Scott (3-0, 1.06), Bryce Osmond (1-0, 3.21) and Justin Wrobleski (1-0, 0.69) leading the way. Offensively, Oklahoma State doesn’t have as much firepower as it has shown in recent seasons but can still do damage. Second baseman Nolan McLean (.270/.426/.486), outfielder Jake Thompson (.364/.522/.606) and third baseman Christian Encarnacion-Strand (.289/.347/.689, 5 HR) form a solid nucleus in the lineup, but the Cowboys this weekend will need to get some production from other hitters to upset the Commodores.
(10) South Carolina at (20) Texas
These two programs have played three times with all three meetings coming in the College World Series. Texas has won all three, including the 1975 and 2002 national championship games. Now, nearly 20 years after their last Omaha showdown, they meet again for a marquee series in Austin. South Carolina is off to an 11-0 start for the first time since 2014 and has shown impressive all-around talent. The Gamecocks’ rotation of Thomas Farr (2-0, 1.56), Brannon Jordan (1-0, 3.46) and Julian Bosnic (1-0, 0.90) has been stout, and they have a deep bullpen backing them up with Andrew Peters (2-0, 0.93) and Brett Kerry (1-0, 1.29) leading the way. Wes Clarke (.410/.574/1.077) leads the nation with eight home runs and veteran outfielders Brady Allen (.381/.481/.667) and Andrew Eyster (.341/.442/.705, 3 HR) team with him to form a strong core. Texas (8-5) is led by its pitching staff, especially ace Ty Madden (2-1, 1.35), who is pitching like a top-10 draft pick. He’s coming off a 14-strikeout shutout at Houston last Friday. A repeat of that performance would be too much to ask, but for the Longhorns to win this series, they’ll need Madden at his best. Texas this season has scuffled offensively, hitting .256/.369/.384 and getting on track against the Gamecocks’ staff won’t be easy. Getting senior outfielder Austin Todd (.292/.346/.292) back last week was significant, and Texas will need him and sluggers Ivan Melendez (.308/.372/.436) and Zach Zubia (.359/.469/.538) to shoulder the load against South Carolina.
2021 Big 12 Baseball Stock Watch
After yet another thrilling finish in the Big 12 last season, we take stock of where things stand in the conference in the aftermath of the 2021 season.
(13) Boston College at (15) Louisville
The ACC again this week produces a top-15 series with Boston College traveling to Louisville. The Eagles (9-2, 2-1) are flying high after a thrilling series win at Auburn. Outfielder Sal Frelick (.478/.537/.826, 4 HR) and infielders Luke Gold (.386/.417/.886, 5 HR) and Cody Morrissette (.279/.436/.535, 3 HR, 3 SB) give BC a strong core in the lineup. Since opening the season with four straight wins, Louisville (8-4, 1-2) is 4-4 with losses against Western Illinois and Morehead State. The Cardinals gave up 38 runs in a tough series loss at Georgia Tech to open ACC play and will now aim to get back track at Patterson Stadium. Louisville will get a boost with righthander Glenn Albanese, its Opening Day starter, returning to the rotation after missing the last two weeks. With Albanese back and projected to start Saturday and lefthander Michael Kirian (2-0, 0.82) coming off a quality start at Georgia Tech, Louisville’s pitching staff could be due for a bounce-back weekend.
Oregon at (17) Oregon State
The in-state rivals this weekend meet for a non-conference series in Corvallis. Oregon (6-2) is coming off an impressive sweep at UC Santa Barbara, while Oregon State (10-1) rode a 10-game winning streak into the Top 25. The Ducks’ lineup, led by veteran slugger Kenyon Yovan, last weekend stood out against a strong pitching staff. Yovan went 7-for-15 with four home runs and six walks in the series. With Yovan and outfielders Tanner Smith (.276/.410/.690, 2 HR) and Aaron Zavala (.448/.579/.655, 2 HR, 3 SB) anchoring the lineup, the Ducks have a strong core to build around. The Beavers, meanwhile, have pitched as well as anyone in the country and have a 1.64 team ERA. Ace Kevin Abel (1-1, 0.57) is again pitching at an elite level and lefthander Jake Mulholland (1-0, 0.00, 3 SV) anchors a deep, talented bullpen. Oregon State’s lineup has also impressed, led by shortstop Andy Armstrong (.429/.467/.619, 5 2B) and outfielder Joe Casey (.311/.392/.578, 3 HR). This weekend will serve as a good measuring stick for both teams.
Louisiana-Lafayette at Southern Mississippi
The Cajuns (9-5) are off to a strong start in 2021 in coach Matt Deggs’ second season. Louisiana won a taut Opening Weekend series at Tulane – all three games were decided by one run in extra innings – and has series wins against Rice and Houston Baptist. Its back on the road this weekend for a tricky series at Southern Miss (6-5). The Golden Eagles have series wins against Northwestern State, Connecticut and at Jacksonville State, but haven’t quite found their stride yet. Southern Miss has struggled offensively, hitting .201/.316/.375 as a team. It will need to find some answers this weekend against a tough Louisiana pitching staff, led by righthanders Spencer Arrighetti (2-0, 0.59) and Hayden Durke (2-0, 2.16).