What To Watch For This Weekend In College Baseball (4/16)

Image credit: Tennessee INF Jake Rucker (Courtesy of Tennessee Athletic Communications)

Top 25 Schedule

Rank Team Opponents (Fri., Sat., Sun.) TV
1 Arkansas Texas A&M SEC Network+
2 Louisville at Virginia ACC Network Extra
3 Mississippi State (9) Mississippi SEC Network (Fri.), SEC Network+ (Sat., Sun.)
4 Texas Abilene Christian Longhorn Network
5 Tennessee (6) Vanderbilt ESPNU (Fri.), SEC Network (Sat.), SEC Network+ (Sun.)
6 Vanderbilt at (5) Tennessee ESPNU (Fri.), SEC Network (Sat.), SEC Network+ (Sun.)
7 Notre Dame North Carolina State ACC Network Extra
8 East Carolina Idle  
9 Mississippi at (3) Mississippi State SEC Network (Fri.), SEC Network+ (Sat., Sun.)
10 South Carolina at LSU (Thurs.-Sat.) SEC Network+ (Fri., Sat.)
11 Texas Tech at West Virginia ESPN+
12 Virginia Tech (21) Georgia Tech ACC Network Extra
13 Arizona at Washington State Pac-12 Network+
14 Oregon at Southern California Pac-12 Network+
15 Texas Christian (20) Oklahoma State ESPN+
16 Louisiana Tech Southern Mississippi CUSA.TV
17 Pittsburgh North Carolina ACC Network Extra
18 Florida State Boston College ACC Network Extra
19 Florida Missouri SEC Network+
20 Oklahoma State at (15) Texas Christian ESPN+
21 Georgia Tech at (12) Virginia Tech ACC Network Extra
22 Stanford at Arizona State Pac-12 Network+
23 Oregon State California Pac-12 Network+
24 Michigan at Minnesota ESPNU (Fri.), Big Ten Network+ (Fri., Sat.)
25 Indiana State Valparaiso ESPN3

(9) Mississippi at (3) Mississippi State

The best rivalry in college baseball returns this weekend, as Ole Miss (25-8, 8-4) travels to Mississippi State (25-7, 8-4). The Rebels and Bulldogs are tied for second in the SEC West, trailing top-ranked Arkansas, and this weekend’s series will have implications both in the division and the race for top-eight seeds in the NCAA Tournament. Ole Miss comes into the weekend having lost back-to-back series—at Florida and against Arkansas—and will be looking to get back on track in its biggest weekend yet. Mississippi State has rebounded well since it was swept at home by Arkansas three weeks ago, sweeping Kentucky and Auburn. But Ole Miss represents a much more difficult test for the Bulldogs. Recent history has heavily favored Mississippi State—the Bulldogs are 14-2 against the Rebels in the last five years—but Ole Miss will be eager to reverse that.

(6) Vanderbilt at (5) Tennessee

It’s not an exaggeration to say this is the biggest series in the history of the rivalry. The Commodores (26-5, 9-3) and Volunteers (28-6, 9-3) are tied for first place in the SEC East division and meet in Knoxville as top-10 teams. While Vanderbilt has had more recent success in the rivalry, it enters the weekend coming off an upset series loss at home to Georgia. Tennessee, meanwhile, still has yet to lose a series this season and no team in the nation has more wins to its name. The Volunteers haven’t won the series since 2016 and if they can break that streak this weekend it would go a long way to announcing them as a serious title contender.

(21) Georgia Tech at (12) Virginia Tech

The series of the weekend in the ACC is a Coastal Division showdown. Virginia Tech (19-10, 14-7) is in first place in the standings, enjoying its best season in years. Georgia Tech (15-13, 12-9) is two games off the pace and in a skid—the Yellow Jackets have lost back-to-back series and seven of their last 10 games. Georgia Tech must find a way to arrest that slide in Blacksburg to avoid sliding back to the NCAA Tournament bubble. Virginia Tech, meanwhile, can take control of the division with a series win this weekend.

(20) Oklahoma State at (15) Texas Christian

The Big 12 has become a four-horse race, with Oklahoma State, Texas, TCU and Texas Tech competing for the title, so any time those teams play down the stretch, it’s a significant series. This weekend’s schedule provides one such meeting, as Oklahoma State (21-7-1, 6-3) visits TCU (23-9, 7-2). The Cowboys and Horned Frogs both have one series loss in conference play—at Texas Tech—and avoiding another this weekend is critical. This weekend’s winner will emerge as a serious challenger to first-place Texas, while the loser would likely need some help to make a run at the conference title.

Southern Mississippi at (16) Louisiana Tech

These two teams met three weeks ago to open Conference USA play in Hattiesburg and Louisiana Tech came away with a big series win. The Bulldogs (24-7, 10-2) have continued to roll since then and have risen to their highest ranking ever in the Top 25. The Golden Eagles (21-10, 8-3) now travel to Ruston looking for revenge. This weekend has huge implications on the CUSA West Division race—a series win would put La Tech in complete control of the division—and for La Tech’s chances to host a regional at the newly rebuilt Love Field. While there are still a few weeks before hosts are determined, this is the Bulldogs’ last significant test—and therefore last chance to impress the selection committee—before then. A series win this weekend would put them in great position to host and win their first conference title since 1987.

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