What To Watch For This Weekend In College Baseball (4/30)

Image credit: (Photo courtesy of Florida/Evan Lepak)

Top 25 Schedule

Rank Team Opponents (Fri., Sat., Sun.) TV
1 Arkansas at Louisiana State SEC Network (Fri.), SEC Network+ (Sat., Sun.)
2 Vanderbilt at (16) Florida ESPNU (Fri.), SEC Network+ (Sat.), ESPN2 (Sun.)
3 Texas (13) Texas Tech Longhorn Network
4 Mississippi State Texas A&M SEC Network+ (Fri., Sat.), SEC Network (Sun.)
5 Louisville at Clemson ACC Network Extra (Fri., Sat.), ESPNU (Sun.)
6 Notre Dame North Carolina ACC Network Extra
7 Tennessee Kentucky (Thurs.-Sat.) SEC Network+ (Fri., Sat.)
8 East Carolina at Wichita State ESPN+ (Fri.)
9 Texas Christian at West Virginia ESPN+ (Fri., Sun.), ESPU (Sat.)
10 Arizona Utah Pac-12 Network+
11 Oregon at Washington State Pac-12 Network+
12 South Carolina at (17) Mississippi SEC Network+ (Fri., Sun.), SEC Network (Sat.)
13 Texas Tech at (3) Texas Longhorn Network
14 Pittsburgh Idle  
15 Florida State Troy ACC Network Extra
16 Florida (2) Vanderbilt ESPNU (Fri.), SEC Network+ (Sat.), ESPN2 (Sun.)
17 Mississippi (12) South Carolina SEC Network+ (Fri., Sun.), SEC Network (Sat.)
18 Louisiana Tech at Middle Tennessee State CUSA.TV
19 Charlotte at Old Dominion CUSA.TV
20 UC Irvine Long Beach State ESPN3
21 Stanford at Southern California Pac-12 Network+
22 Georgia Auburn (Thurs.-Sat.) SEC Network+ (Fri.), SEC Network (Sat.)
23 Fairfield Siena (Sat.-Sun.) FairfieldStags.com
24 Nebraska Rutgers Big Ten Network+
25 Virginia Tech Virginia ACC Network

(2) Vanderbilt at (16) Florida

This is a big series annually, and the 2021 edition is no different. The Gators (28-12, 11-7) especially have a lot riding on this weekend. They rank No. 31 in RPI and, with just two weeks before initial host sites are announced, they need a series win to boost their chances to host a regional. Playing at home has this season been important for the Gators, as they have won seven straight in the new Florida Ballpark and are 23-5 at home this season. The series will also be pivotal for the SEC East race. Vanderbilt (31-7, 13-5) is one game ahead of Tennessee in the standings and two ahead of Florida and South Carolina, with Kentucky, Georgia and Missouri further off the pace. The Commodores can’t clinch the division this weekend, but they can make it so that no other team controls its own destiny.

(13) Texas Tech at (3) Texas

An upset series loss last weekend to Baylor knocked Texas Tech (28-10, 8-7) out of the Big 12 title race. But that doesn’t mean this weekend’s series at Texas (34-9, 12-3) isn’t a big one. The Red Raiders are still alive in the race to host regionals but need to show something this weekend. The Longhorns, meanwhile, can’t afford to get caught looking ahead to next weekend’s series at Texas Christian. That series will be between the top two teams in the Big 12 standings no matter what, but the Longhorns won’t want to fall behind the Horned Frogs ahead of the showdown. Beyond the implications on the standings and host race, this is also a series between in-state rivals used to competing in high-stakes series. It’ll undoubtably be an entertaining one.

(12) South Carolina at (17) Mississippi

The Gamecocks (26-12, 11-7) and Rebels (28-12, 10-8) come into the weekend on the heels of tough series losses. South Carolina lost a home series to top-ranked Arkansas and now faces a challenging road test. Ole Miss has lost four straight series and was last weekend upset by Louisiana State. The Rebels need to stop their skid and get a series win after a challenging month. The Gamecocks are in the middle of their own brutal stretch, as a series against Mississippi State awaits next weekend. Both South Carolina and Ole Miss remain projected to host regionals, but this weekend’s winner will certainly feel better having bolstered their resume.

(19) Charlotte at Old Dominion

The 49ers and Monarchs move to Norfolk for the second half of their eight-game, home-and-home series. Charlotte (30-11, 17-3) won the first half of the series, last weekend taking three-of-four games at home. The result pushed it into the Top 25 and onto the hosting line, as its RPI is up to 11. ODU (28-10, 14-6) needs to this weekend flip that result to keep its own hosting and conference title hopes alive. The Monarchs will need to get their bats going better. They went into last week’s series averaging 8.2 runs per game, but scored just 17 runs on the weekend in Charlotte.

Iowa at Indiana

The Hawkeyes (18-11) and Hoosiers (18-8) are two of the top four teams in the Big Ten standings and are set for a showdown in Bloomington. Iowa has played the tougher schedule to this point, having played nine games against Nebraska and Michigan, the other teams in the top tier of the standings, and 12 more games against Maryland, Ohio State and Rutgers, the other three teams in the conference with winning records. This is the Hawkeyes biggest remaining test, and a series win might all but clinch their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2017. The Hoosiers, meanwhile, are just entering the hardest part of their schedule. They have played just six games against teams in the top half of the conference and are 1-5 in those games, including a four-game sweep at Ohio State four weeks ago. This weekend starts a challenging five-week gauntlet where Indiana will play nothing but teams in the top half of the Big Ten. With just two of those five weekends coming at home, it’s important for the Hoosiers to make the most of their home-field advantage. They are 11-1 this season at Kauffman Field.

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