How To Watch NCAA Baseball Top 25 Teams, Best Matchups & More This Weekend: Week 13


Image credit: Charlie Condon (Photo by Jeff Moreland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

It feels impossible to believe, but we have reached the penultimate weekend of the regular season. There has been plenty of action to this point in the season, though the best is yet to come. Between highly-contested conference races and teams looking to cement their spot in the tournament, there are high-profile series in practically every single conference and tons of action to follow this weekend.

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

No. 12 Mississippi State (32-16, 14-10 SEC) at No. 3 Arkansas (40-9, 17-7 SEC)

The biggest ranked matchup of the weekend will take place down in Fayetteville, as No. 12 Mississippi State squares off against No. 3 Arkansas. When it comes to NCAA Tournament implications, this series means little-to-nothing for the Razorbacks. Between being third in RPI, a dozen quad one—or top-50 RPI—victories and a strong non-conference schedule, Arkansas is all but locked into being a top-eight national seed in June. It is still right in the thick of the SEC regular season race and trails Kentucky by just one game, but even if it were to lose both of its remaining series its national seed resume would remain largely unchanged.

The Razorbacks are looking to bounce back after an uncharacteristic weekend on the mound in which both Brady Tygart and Mason Molina got touched up. They will also look to get Will McEntire going again, as in his last 10.2 innings he has allowed 13 earned runs. While the lineup—and its lack of firepower—is still the team’s biggest question mark, they have enough talent and depth on the mound to sustain a lengthy tournament run. Last weekend I think was much more of a one-off “dud” weekend as opposed to something to actually worry about, but my tune may switch a bit if the Hogs’ pitching woes continue.

Mississippi State has won its last three series and is quietly playing some of the better baseball of any team in the conference. Most recently, the Bulldogs last weekend took two-of-three from previously-ranked Alabama. They have a quality one-two punch on the mound in Khal Stephen (7-3, 2.96 ERA) and switch-pitcher Jurrangelo Cijntje (7-1, 3.53 ERA), as well as a handful of reliable bullpen arms led by Tyler Davis (4-0, 1.33 ERA).

State also boasts an experienced lineup, headlined by potential first-round draft pick Dakota Jordan (.367/.489/.712). Veteran outfielder Connor Hujsak (.349/.436/.586) is in the midst of a career-year, while Hunter Hines (.286/.372/.540)—who has blasted five home runs in his last six games—provides big-time power from the left side. The Bulldogs are a lock to make the tournament at this point, though a marquee series win this weekend would propel them into the hosting discussion. This weekend is sure to be an ultra-competitive series and I think Mississippi State will give Arkansas all it can handle, but I give the edge to the Razorbacks and their impressive 31-2 record at Baum-Walker Stadium.

How To Stream

The series gets underway tomorrow night at 7:30 p.m. ET and while both Friday and Saturday’s games can be streamed on SEC Network+, Sunday’s game will be broadcast nationally on the SEC Network.

No. 4 Clemson (37-10, 17-7 ACC) at No. 15 Wake Forest (33-16, 12-12 ACC)

After a quiet ACC slate last weekend due to a number of schools having final exams, we are rewarded this weekend with an ACC Atlantic Division showdown between the Tigers and Demon Deacons. Since its series loss to No. 13 NC State—its only series loss of the season to this point—Clemson has bounced back with a trio of series wins. While none were in particularly convincing fashion, the Tigers continue to find ways to emerge victorious each weekend. There is no doubt that the offense is the team’s biggest strong suit. Everyone in their lineup consistently puts together quality at-bats and all year they have worn down opposing pitching staffs over the course of each game.

Sophomore dynamo Cam Cannarella (.328/.402/.549) is the straw that stirs the drink, but Blake Wright has been the Tigers’ most productive hitter to the tune of a .332/.367/.673 slash line with 19 home runs and 69 RBIs, both of which are new career-highs. Add into the mix the veteran quartet of Alden Mathes (.331/.463/.535), Jacob Hinderleider (.330/.410/.603), Jack Crighton (.321/.379/.397) and Jimmy Obertop (.301/.440/.633), and you have one of the more complete units in the conference.

The Tigers’ biggest bugaboo is their pitching staff. Outside of Aidan Knaak (4-0, 2.57 ERA), who this season has been one of the most impressive freshman arms in the country, they have struggled to get any real consistency from the majority of their arms. Free bases have haunted the Tigers’ bullpen, and it feels as if they have been playing with fire all season. Nonetheless, they still find a way to win which is all that matters in the end.

Clemson right now is all but locked into a top-eight national seed. Barring a complete meltdown in their last six games, the Tigers will be playing at the friendly confines of Doug Kingsmore Stadium for the entirety of the tournament.

It has been an up-and-down year for Wake Forest. After a huge series win over Florida State in late April, the Demon Deacons dropped their series the following weekend at Notre Dame. Since their one-run loss to the Fighting Irish, the Deacs have gone 6-0—albeit against lesser opponents—and have scored double-digit runs in five of those games.

The offense is starting to round into form, and it could not have come at a better time. The usual suspects continue to produce for Wake, but Jake Reinisch (.321/.423/.647) has provided a key boost to the lineup recently and has set new career-highs in home runs (15) and RBIs (60). However, the Demon Deacons are still searching for consistency on their pitching staff. Outside of potential ACC pitcher of the year and top-10 overall pick Chase Burns (9-1, 3.00 ERA), it has been tough sledding on the hill. Josh Hartle has rather quietly (6-2, 5.40 ERA) turned in three quality starts in his last four outings, but this weekend will be a huge test for him and the rest of the pitching staff.

Wake’s bullpen continues to be suspect, and free bases have haunted it all season. Heading into postseason play, it is imperative that even a couple of arms establish themselves as reliable options for Coach Walter and company. For as good as Chase Burns is, he alone can’t pitch the Deacs back to Omaha.

Wake Forest right now is right on the hosting line. Its RPI (11) is in a good spot, though it is just 8-12 in quad one games and its 12-12 conference record will need to improve. With a series win this weekend, however, Wake will likely find itself on the right side of the hosting bubble. I think this is going to be an outstanding series. Setting the tone on Friday night feels imperative for Wake Forest, and I would feel a lot more confident in its chances to win the series if they are able to do just that.

How To Stream

The series begins tomorrow evening at 6:00 p.m. ET and can be streamed on ACC Network Extra. However, both Saturday and Sunday’s games will be broadcast nationally on ACC Network and ESPN2, respectively.

No. 14 Georgia (35-12, 13-11 SEC) at No. 16 South Carolina (33-15, 13-11 SEC)

While Mississippi State-Arkansas is sure to be a fantastic series, there is more at stake for each team this weekend in Columbia, South Carolina where red-hot Georgia will clash with South Carolina. The Dawgs have won three of their last four SEC series, and last week outscored Vanderbilt by a combined 35-11 margin en route to an emphatic sweep. Potential No. 1 overall pick Charlie Condon is enjoying what has been an historic season to the tune of a gaudy .459/.568/1.105 slash line with 16 doubles, a nation-leading 33 home runs and 69 RBIs. He has homered in each of his last seven games and is one long ball away from setting a new BBCOR record. Condon’s .459 average is also tops in all of college baseball, and he is a virtually impossible at-bat for opposing pitchers to navigate.

Georgia’s offensive firepower doesn’t stop with Condon, however. Veteran Corey Collins (.352/.591/.778), Paul Toetz (.347/.464/.525), Dylan Goldstein (.313/.461/.688/. And Slate Alford (.303/.381/.534) are all having productive seasons of their own and give the Bulldogs’ lineup plenty of depth. They lack a true ace on the mound, though Leighton Finley (4-1, 4.53 ERA) last weekend struck out a career-high 11 hitters across six shutout innings. Kolten Smith (7-2, 5.06 ERA) has also thrown the ball well and has racked up 75 strikeouts against just 11 walks across 48 innings.

The Bulldogs have played themselves into a great spot to host. Their top-five RPI is unlikely to shift much over the next couple of weeks, they boast the sixth-best strength of schedule and have a chance to eclipse the 40-win mark. There is still a little work to be done to cement themselves as a host, but a series win this weekend would all but seal the deal.

Like Georgia, South Carolina is also riding plenty of momentum into this weekend thanks to a massive series win over No. 6 Kentucky and a tough road series win over Missouri. The Gamecocks’ offense—especially Cole Messina (.314/.452/.680) has finally woken up and gotten into somewhat of a rhythm, but pitching continues to be the team’s biggest strength. There are a plethora of reliable arms—both in the rotation and especially in the bullpen—on South Carolina’s pitching staff. As a unit, they attack the strike zone and keep free bases to a minimum which has served the Gamecocks well over the course of the season.

The Gamecocks’ hosting resume is strong. On top of being 14th in RPI, they boast a top-15 strength of schedule and have a couple of big-time series wins on their resume. Whoever comes out on top this weekend will be in an excellent position to host, and I foresee this series coming down to an all-important rubber game on Saturday.

How To Stream

The series begins tonight at 8:00 p.m. ET with a nationally televised game on ESPN2. Friday’s game will be broadcast nationally on the SEC Network, while Saturday’s series finale can be streamed on SEC Network+.

Indiana (27-19-1, 12-6 Big Ten) at Nebraska (30-17, 12-6 Big Ten)

As we enter the home stretch of the regular-season, perhaps no conference race is more volatile than the Big Ten’s. Six teams—Illinois, Purdue, Nebraska, Indiana, Iowa and Michigan—are all within just two games of each other in the top-half of the conference standings. Indiana and Nebraska, along with Purdue, all have a conference record of 12-6 and sit just a game back of first-place Illinois. The Hoosiers last weekend notched a significant series win over Purdue in which they scored four runs in the ninth inning of Sunday’s rubber game. They are currently the last team in the tournament according to the most recent Field Of 64, but a series win this weekend would provide a big boost to their at-large hopes.

Indiana right now is as “bubbly” as they come. Its RPI of 61 is suboptimal, but its seven quad one wins are by far the most of any team in the conference and it now has the head-to-head advantage over Purdue. The Hoosiers’ lineup—led by potential 2025 first-round pick Devin Taylor (.356/.451/.606)—is arguably the most formidable of any team in the conference and their pitching staff is getting healthy at the perfect time.

Nebraska has nothing to worry about when it comes to the tournament. In fact, they are probably closer to the hosting line than they are to the bubble at this point. On top of their rock-solid RPI of 22, the Cornhuskers this season have quality series wins over Grand Canyon, College of Charleston and Iowa. Their team ERA of 4.51 leads the conference, but they also have a handful of productive bats in their lineup.

This series is far more important to Indiana’s resume than Nebraska’s, and I expect the Hoosiers to ride the momentum they built last weekend into Lincoln. The Cornhuskers play well at home, but Indiana is going to come out swinging. It is hard to envision this series not coming down to Sunday’s finale.

How To Stream

The series begins tomorrow night at 7:05 p.m. ET. Friday night’s game can be streamed on Big Ten Network+, but both Saturday and Sunday’s game will be broadcast on the Big Ten Network.

Other Notable Matchups
  • No. 1 Tennessee (40-9, 17-7 SEC) at Vanderbilt (33-16, 11-13 SEC)
  • No. 23 Arizona (30-17, 17-7 Pac-12) at Utah (30-16, 15-9 Pac-12)
  • No. 25 Texas (30-19, 15-9 Big 12) at UCF (30-15, 11-12 Big 12)
  • Northeastern (33-13, 14-7 CAA) at College of Charleston (34-11, 16-4 CAA)
  • Fairfield (27-20, 16-2 MAAC) at Niagara (30-13, 16-2 MAAC)
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 (pitching on Saturday)

4. Charlie Condon, Georgia (series begins tonight)

5. Vance Honeycutt, North Carolina

6. Seaver King, Wake Forest

7. Nick Kurtz, Wake Forest

8. Braden Montgomery, Texas A&M

9. Hagen Smith, Arkansas (pitching on Friday)

10. JJ Wetherholt, West Virginia

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