How To Watch NCAA Baseball Top 25 Teams, Best Matchups & More This Weekend: Week 10


Image credit: Blake Burke (Danny Parker/Four Seam Images)

Last weekend saw a changing of the guard at the top of the rankings with both No. 1 Arkansas and No. 2 Clemson losing their series to No. 12 Alabama and No. 22 N.C. State, respectively. Texas A&M pulled off an emphatic sweep of Vanderbilt in which it outscored the Commodores by a combined margin of 36-6, which was more than enough for the Aggies to catapult themselves into the No. 1 spot. In what has seemingly been a weekly occurrence all season, a handful of other ranked teams dropped their series, which made for plenty of movement throughout the Top 25. 

There are just five weekends left in the regular season and it is now crunch time for a number of teams. This weekend’s slate is loaded with a plethora of important series, headlined by a top-10 showdown in the Bluegrass State.

Additionally, here are some helpful links to aid your college baseball consumption this weekend…

No. 3 Tennessee (31-6, 10-5 SEC) at No. 7 Kentucky (31-5, 14-1 SEC)

Tennessee this weekend makes the short trip north to take on Kentucky in a top-10 matchup between the top-two teams in the SEC East. Since their series loss at Alabama, the Volunteers have won four SEC series in a row and most recently swept LSU. Alongside Texas A&M, there is an argument to be made that Tennessee is the deepest and most balanced team in all of college baseball. Nobody in its lineup is an easy at-bat, while the pitching staff boasts depth both in its rotation and in the bullpen.

The lineup has its fair share of star power between Blake Burke (.422/.483/.859), Billy Amick (.359/.455/.759) and Christian Moore (.352/.429/.754), but keep an eye this weekend on redshirt sophomore Kavares Tears. A physical specimen with impressive raw power, Tears is in the midst of what has been a career season offensively to the tune of a .377/.493/.737 slash line with eight doubles, 10 home runs and 30 RBIs. His production in the middle of the order this season has been invaluable for the Volunteers and should it continue through this weekend—and beyond—they will be in a great spot to notch a big-time series win.

Kentucky has been downright dominant in SEC play with its only loss coming almost a month ago at the hands of Missouri. It has a 3.5-game lead over Tennessee in the SEC East, and no matter what happens this weekend—even if it gets swept—it will still sit atop the division. The Wildcats have been known to play small ball and push the pace on their opposition—which they still do regularly—but what makes this Kentucky team that much more dangerous is the fact that they are comfortable playing and winning any type of game. 

The Wildcats can beat you with the long ball as they showed last weekend at Auburn, but can also ride their pitching to a series win. Their lineup is littered with tough at-bats and every hitter, one through nine, consistently moves the baseball and makes quality contact. There’s no doubt the Wildcats’ offense will need to have a productive weekend to keep pace with Tennessee, but they also boast a formidable one-two punch on the mound with Dominic Niman (7-2, 3.40 ERA) and Mason Moore (7-0, 3.45 ERA). Both attack the strike zone on a consistent basis, and have shown this year the ability to miss bats and avoid hard contact.

I lean toward Tennessee this weekend, but it is hard to envision this series not coming down to an all-important game three on Sunday. Kentucky Proud Park will be rocking, and with a marquee series win, the Wildcats will likely thrust themselves into the top five come Monday morning.

How To Stream

The series begins tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m. ET and all three games can be streamed via SEC Network+

No. 5 Florida State (30-6, 10-5 ACC) at No. 14 Wake Forest (24-12, 9-9 ACC)

The best ACC series this weekend features Florida State—who has already eclipsed its 2023 win total—squaring off with Wake Forest. The Seminoles are fresh off a hard-fought series sweep over their in-state rival Miami, whereas the Demon Deacons have won consecutive series in the wake of their Easter weekend sweep at the hands of North Carolina. 

Florida State has a high-powered lineup that is headlined by a pair of potential first-round picks in Cam Smith (.411/.486/.669) and James Tibbs III (.410/.500/.849). Both have had outstanding seasons to this point and have been a nightmare for opposing pitchers, but they’ll have their work cut out for them this weekend in Winston-Salem. Supplementing Smith and Tibbs III are a handful of depth pieces that include a quartet of key transfers and a pair of impact returners. The ‘Noles’ offense wears opposing pitching staffs down over the course of nine innings and is an incredibly difficult unit to record 27 outs against.

The biggest key, but also question mark this weekend for Florida State, is its pitching staff. Star sophomore lefthander Jamie Arnold (7-1, 1.32 ERA) will get the ball tomorrow night, but it is unknown who will follow suit. Fellow sophomore Cam Leiter (5-1, 4.63 ERA) and Conner Whittaker (4-0, 5.31 ERA) have both missed the last couple of weeks. Should neither be able to throw this weekend, the rest of the pitching staff will really need to step up around Arnold.

Wake Forest has flipped a switch in the last two weeks and has surged all the way back up to No. 14 in the Top 25. At the root of the Demon Deacons’ success is first baseman Nick Kurtz, who has blasted an incredible 14 home runs in his last 10 games. He is now hitting .340/.527/.903 with 40 RBIs and his 17 long balls lead the team. Kurtz looks the part of a slam-dunk top-10 overall pick, and his recent surge has provided an immeasurable boost to the offense.

To counter Jamie Arnold, Wake will turn to flamethrower Chase Burns (7-1, 3.00 ERA). There is an argument to be made that Burns is the best pitcher in the country, and he has certainly looked the part for most of this season. Josh Hartle (5-1, 5.52 ERA) has been better recently, but a 2023-esque start this weekend from the 6-foot-5 southpaw would put the Deacs in a great spot to earn a series win.

Outside of tomorrow night, expect there to be plenty of offensive fireworks this weekend. Each team’s offense is formidable as is, but playing in the hitter-friendly confines of David F. Couch Ballpark could lead to a couple high-scoring affairs. Like the Tennessee-Kentucky series, I selfishly hope this series is decided on Sunday. Regardless of what happens, the result this weekend is important both when talking about the hierarchy of the ACC and also as it pertains to the hosting and top-eight national-seed landscape.

How To Stream

The series gets underway tomorrow evening at 6:00 p.m. ET and all three games can be streamed on ACC Network Extra.

No. 20 Louisiana (30-9, 14-1 Sun Belt) at No. 21 Coastal Carolina (25-11, 9-6 Sun Belt)

Even with a pair of marquee matchups in the ACC and SEC, this series might be the one that excites me the most. The Ragin’ Cajuns—who have won 14 straight Sun Belt games—head north to take on the second-place Chanticleers. Louisiana is fresh off a sweep of Marshall, in which its pitching staff allowed just one run and seven hits. Its team ERA of 3.45 ranks fourth nationally, but the staff will have its work cut out for it this weekend against a vaunted Coastal Carolina offense in an extremely hitter-friendly environment.

While there have been a few productive bats, led by potential top-two round draft pick Kyle DeBarge (.335/.401/.639), the biggest strength of this Louisiana team is without a doubt its pitching. The rotation of Chase Morgan (4-1, 1.90 ERA), Andrew Herrmann (4-1, 1.91 ERA) and Carson Fluno (2-0, 2.20 ERA) has been as dominant as any trio in the country. The depth for the Cajuns extends beyond their rotation, though, and they have a bevy of weapons in the bullpen.

In typical Coastal fashion, the lineup is the focal point of this year’s team. The usual suspects are having productive seasons, but Sam Antonacci (.415/.576/.546) and Blake Barthol (.343/.477/.729) have led the charge. Antonacci is an on-base machine who has a knack for finding the barrel, while Barthol’s 14 home runs and 42 RBIs both lead the team. For as good as the offense has been, the Chants will need their pitching staff to step up and keep the ball in the yard.

This matchup is fascinating for a number of reasons. Not only is it a series between the first- and second-place teams in the Sun Belt, but it being played at Spring Brooks Stadium adds a big wrinkle to it. The ball notoriously flies there, which might play in the favor of the Chanticleers’ hitters. If it is one of those weekends where seemingly every ball hit in the air leaves the yard, Coastal could—to an extent—neutralize Louisiana’s pitching staff. Louisiana’s pitching will likely keep it in every game both this weekend and for the rest of the season, but its bats this weekend will need to rise to the occasion.

How To Stream

The series begins tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. ET and all games can be streamed via ESPN+ (subscription required).

No. 1 Texas A&M (33-4, 11-4 SEC) at No. 12 Alabama (24-13, 6-9 SEC)

For the second time in as many weeks, Alabama hosts the top-ranked team in the country. At this time last week, the Crimson Tide were sitting at just 4-8 in the SEC. It felt as if at least one series win against either Arkansas or Texas A&M was imperative. An extremely tall task, but Alabama—on the back of freshman Zane Adams, who spun eight shutout innings in Sunday’s series-clinching win—took two of three from Arkansas to hand the Razorbacks their first series loss of the season. Some of their momentum was snatched after a midweek loss to UAB, but the Crimson Tide are riding high heading into another big weekend.

Alabama’s lineup has cooled off some since a fast start to the season, but it still has an intriguing mix of impact transfers, returners and newcomers. Third baseman Gage Miller has been outstanding to the tune of a .414/.511/.829 slash line, and he leads the team in almost every statistical category. The Crimson Tide will need another excellent weekend out of their pitching staff, and a huge key to that is Ben Hess (3-2, 6.41 ERA) returning to form. Hess’ stat line is modest, but he has a big arm and impressive stuff. The rest of the rotation has fared well, but getting Hess back to his 2023 self drastically raises the ceiling of this year’s team.

Like I mentioned at the beginning of the piece, Texas A&M—to me, at least—is the most complete team in the country. Everyone in the lineup—which is a melting pot of starpower, experience and impact freshmen—can really swing it. Its 3.21 team ERA ranks second nationally and the Aggies play with an infectious energy that rubs off on everyone in the dugout. The Aggies are riding high off an impressive sweep of Vanderbilt and they feel almost like a runaway freight train at this point.

It certainly plays in Alabama’s favor that this series is being played in Tuscaloosa and not College Station, but it is impossible right now to pick against A&M. I think the Crimson Tide will give the Aggies all they can handle and maybe even steal a game, but I think Texas A&M comes away with its third straight ranked series win.

How To Stream

The series kicks off tonight at 7:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcast nationally on SEC Network, while both Friday and Saturday’s games can be streamed via SEC Network +.

Other Notable Matchups
  • No. 2 Arkansas (32-5, 12-3 SEC) at No. 19 South Carolina (26-11, 8-7 SEC)
  • No. 6 Duke (27-10, 11-7 ACC) at Virginia Tech (24-10, 11-7 ACC)
  • No. 11 North Carolina (29-8, 14-4 ACC) at No. 22 N.C. State (20-14, 10-8 ACC)
  • No. 18 West Virginia (23-13, 11-4 Big 12) at Texas Tech (26-13, 9-9 Big 12)
  • Connecticut (17-18, 4-2 Big East) at Georgetown (26-10, 8-1 Big East)
Prospect Watch: Where To Watch Baseball America’s Top 10 College Prospects (listed alphabetically)

1. Travis Bazzana, Oregon State

2. Chase Burns, Wake Forest (pitching on Friday)

3. Jac Caglianone, Florida (series begins tonight, pitching on Saturday)

4. Charlie Condon, Georgia

5. Vance Honeycutt, North Carolina (series begins tonight)

6. Seaver King, Wake Forest

7. Nick Kurtz, Wake Forest

8. Braden Montgomery, Texas A&M (series begins tonight)

9. Hagen Smith, Arkansas (pitching on Friday)

10. JJ Wetherholt, West Virginia

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