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What To Watch For This Weekend In College Baseball (3/5)



Top 25 Schedule

RankTeamOpponents (Fri., Sat., Sun.)TVNotes
1ArkansasMurray StateSEC Network+
2Mississippi StateKent StateSEC Network+
3VanderbiltIllinois-ChicagoSEC Network+
4Louisvilleat (14) Georgia TechACC Network Extra (Fri., Sat.), ACC Network (Sun.)
5MississippiBelmontSEC Network+
6Miamiat North Carolina StateACC Network Extra
7FloridaFlorida A&MSEC Network+ (Sat., Sun.)
8Virginiaat Florida StateSEC Network+
9UCLAPepperdine (Fri.), Cal State Fullerton (Sat.), Southern California (Sun.)Pac-12 Network PlusLos Angeles College Baseball Classic
10Texas ChristianTexas A&M-Corpus Christi (Fri.), Texas State (Sat.), Sam Houston (Sun.)Astros.com
Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic, Houston
11Texas TechTexas State (Fri.), Sam Houston (Sat.), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi (Sun.)Astros.com
Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic, Houston
12Louisiana StateOral RobertsSEC Network+
13South CarolinaMercerSEC Network+ (Fri., Sat.), SEC Network (Sun.)
14Georgia Tech(4) LouisvilleACC Network Extra (Fri., Sat.), ACC Network (Sun.)
15UC Santa BarbaraOregonBigWest.TV
16Virginia Tech(17) North CarolinaACC Network Extra
17North Carolinaat (16) Virginia TechACC Network Extra
18Boston Collegeat AuburnSEC Network+ (Sun.)
19East CarolinaAppalachian StateESPN+Keith LeClair Classic
20Texasat HoustonESPN+
21Michiganvs. Iowa (Sat.-Mon.)Big Ten Network+Round Rock, Texas
22TennesseeGeorgia StateSEC Network+
23Alabamaat College of CharlestonFloSports
24Arizona(25) Oklahoma (Fri.), Dallas Baptist (Sat.), Missouri (Sun.)FloSportsFrisco Classic, Frisco, Texas
25Oklahoma(24) Arizona (Fri.), Missouri (Sat.), Dallas Baptist (Sun.)FloSportsFrisco Classic, Frisco, Texas

Series to watch

(4) Louisville at (14) Georgia Tech

The Cardinals (6-2) are set to open ACC play this weekend in Atlanta against Georgia Tech (6-2, 3-0), which last weekend opened its conference slate with a sweep of North Carolina State in Raleigh. This series carries a lot of weight on the early perception of both teams and the ACC race. After a chaotic opening weekend of conference play, Georgia Tech and Pitt sit atop what looks to be a rough-and-tumble Coastal Division. A series win against the Cardinals would help establish Georgia Tech as a favorite, even with top-10 teams Miami and Virginia in the mix. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are just 2-2 over the last week against Western Illinois and Morehead State. It’s not necessarily a cause for concern, but they can ill-afford to let that turn into a skid with a poor weekend against the Yellow Jackets. And with perennial Atlantic Division powers NC State and Florida State both getting swept last weekend, Louisville has a chance to assert itself early in the standings.

(17) North Carolina at (16) Virginia Tech

After that chaotic ACC opening weekend, Virginia Tech and North Carolina moved into the Top 25 following significant upset series wins. The Hokies (5-1, 2-1) are flying high after a series win at Miami, while the Tar Heels (6-1, 2-1) impressed with a series win at home against Virginia. Now, the Coastal Division foes will square off in Blacksburg. UNC has been led by a strong pitching staff—it has a 1.57 team ERA—and center fielder Justice Thompson, a junior college transfer who has started his career hitting .520/.586/.920 with two home runs and three stolen bases. Virginia Tech has also impressed on the mound, especially its relievers. Its bullpen has held opponents to four runs in 25 innings. Pitching and defense will be the name of the game this weekend in Blacksburg.

(20) Texas at Houston

The Longhorns (5-4) make a short trip to Houston to take on the Cougars (6-2) in an old Southwest Conference rivalry. There’s a lot at stake for both teams this weekend. Texas has won five of its last six games since getting swept on Opening Weekend at the State Farm College Baseball Classic and it needs to keep that momentum going before it next weekend hosts South Carolina and then starts Big 12 play the following weekend. Houston, meanwhile, is off to a fine start, but this weekend will represent a big step up in competition after playing Texas Southern, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Lamar to open the season. If the Cougars can win this series, it would be an early statement that they will be in the mix to compete in the American Athletic Conference and beyond.

Field_Of_64.jpg

2021 NCAA Baseball Tournament Projected Field Of 64 (4/21/21)

Updating our projected NCAA Tournament field with Selection Monday under six weeks away.

Key tournaments

Los Angeles College Baseball Classic

(9) UCLA, Cal State Fullerton, Pepperdine, Southern California

The event formerly known as the Dodger Stadium Classic this year is an all-Southern California edition. UCLA and USC will host Fullerton and Pepperdine on Friday and Saturday and Sunday’s finales will see Fullerton host Pepperdine and UCLA host USC. This has the makings of a great weekend of baseball, but poor starts now give it a greater sense of urgency. Pepperdine (1-6) really needs something out of the weekend after getting swept by UC Santa Barbara. Fullerton (3-4) and USC (3-3) aren’t in as dire straits, but both are coming off series losses—Fullerton at San Diego and USC to Cal Poly—and getting back on track this weekend, with conference play looming in the near future, would be a nice boost. UCLA (5-3) comes into the weekend in the best shape, having won four of its last five games after losing an Opening Weekend series to San Francisco. It’ll look to stay hot this weekend, especially in the crosstown rivalry finale, which is always a much-anticipated game.

Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic, Houston Texas

(10) Texas Christian, (11) Texas Tech, Rice, Sam Houston State, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Texas State

Annually one of the biggest and best early season tournaments in the country, the Shriners College Classic brings an all-Texas field to Minute Maid Park. It isn’t as star-studded a group as it is at its best, but it still offers plenty to follow. The field is divided into two groups and Sam Houston State, A&M-Corpus Christi and Texas State will play in round-robin fashion against TCU, Texas Tech and Rice. That format presents a big opportunity for the mid-major schools. Texas State (4-6) especially is a team to watch, as it entered the year as the favorite in the Sun Belt West Division and had NCAA Tournament hopes. While the Bobcats are coming off a rough week that saw them get swept at Sacramento State and split midweek games against New Mexico State and Texas, a strong performance this weekend would turn things around. Similarly, Sam Houston State outfielder Colton Cowser, a Preseason All-American, will have his biggest showcase opportunity for scouts. He’s hitting .263/.391/.368 through five games and now will get a chance against high-end pitching to show what he can do.

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