What To Watch For This Weekend In College Baseball (3/1)

Image credit: Zach Zubia (Photo by John Williamson)

Top 25 Schedule

To see this week’s Top 25, click here.

Rk. Team Opponents (Fri., Sat., Sun.) TV Notes
1 Vanderbilt Dayton SEC Network+  
2 Louisiana State @ (19) Texas Longhorn Network  
3 UCLA Sacramento State None  
4 North Carolina UMass-Lowell ACC Network Extra  
5 Florida Winthrop SEC Network+  
6 Florida State Mercer ACC Network Extra  
7 Stanford @Cal State Fullerton None  
8 Texas Tech Nebraska, (9) Mississippi State, Sam Houston State FloLive.TV Frisco College Classic
9 Mississippi State Sam Houston State, (8) Texas Tech, Nebraska FloLive.TV Frisco College Classic
10 Oregon State West Virginia Pac-12 Network Plus  
11 East Carolina Utah, Wright State, Western Carolina Pirates All-Access Keith LeClair Classic
12 Louisville James Madison ACC Network Extra  
13 Mississippi Long Beach State SEC Network+  
14 Clemson vs./@ South Carolina ACC Network Extra (Fri.), SEC Network+ (Sat., Sun.)
15 Georgia at Georgia Southern ESPN+  
16 Baylor Texas A&M, Rice, Texas State AT&T Sportsnet/MLB.com Shriners College Classic, Houston
17 Arkansas Stony Brook SEC Network+  
18 Auburn Cincinnati SEC Network+  
19 Texas (2) Louisiana State Longhorn Network  
20 Michigan @Cal State Northridge CSUN Sports Network (Sun.)
21 Coastal Carolina Illinois, Connecticut, Indiana Chanticleer Sports Network (Sun.) CCU Baseball Tournament, Conway, S.C.
22 Duke Penn State None Bradenton, Fla.
23 Southern Mississippi Gonzaga CUSA.TV  
24 Texas Christian Houston, Texas A&M, Rice AT&T Sportsnet/MLB.com Shriners College Classic, Houston
25 UC Irvine @ Missouri State None  

Top 25 Series To Watch

(2) Louisiana State at (19) Texas

It’s a series that has long been circled on the calendar, as two of college baseball’s true blue bloods face off in Austin. LSU (8-0) this weekend is playing away from Alex Box Stadium for the first time this season and will face its sternest test yet. Texas (7-3) already has two quality series wins on its resume (at Louisiana-Lafayette, vs. Purdue), but LSU is a further step up in competition. The Tigers won this series last year in Baton Rouge, but it was the Longhorns who had the last laugh, as they reached the College World Series. This promises to be a fun series at Disch-Falk Field.

(7) Stanford at Cal State Fullerton

This longstanding rivalry got some extra juice the last two years, as the Titans have beaten the Cardinal in the Stanford Regional final in back-to-back seasons. After spending the first two weeks on the road, Fullerton (4-2) is back in the friendly confines of Goodwin Field for the first time this season. Stanford (7-1) has impressed in the early going but is now entering a grueling seven-game stretch with three games at Fullerton before next weekend’s series against Texas. The next two weekends give the Cardinal a chance to make a statement before its finals break and Pac-12 Conference play begins.

(14) Clemson vs./at South Carolina

This is perhaps college baseball’s best rivalry, played across the Palmetto State with a home game for each team bookending a neutral-site showdown in Greenville, S.C. While Clemson has won the series four straight years, it is almost always a tightly contested affair. The Tigers (7-1) have started the year well but with the Gamecocks and a series next weekend against No. 4 North Carolina to open Atlantic Coast Conference play on tap, the level of difficulty is about to take a leap. The Gamecocks (7-1) are also off to a fast start, but the Tigers are the first team they will play that last year reached regionals. This weekend’s series should provide a good measuring stick for both teams.

Tournaments To Watch

Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic, Houston
(16) Baylor, Houston, Rice, Texas A&M, (24) Texas Christian, Texas State

The granddaddy of all early-season tournaments, the Shriners College Classic is in its 19th year, and this season brings an all-Texas field to Minute Maid Park. While the tournament doesn’t have a top-10 team this year, it does have a solid overall field. Baylor (8-0) is off to a fast start and came into the season with some hype after surging down the stretch last year and winning the Big 12 Conference Tournament. It is without Preseason All-American catcher Shea Langeliers, who is out with a broken hamate bone, but a strong weekend would be a big statement for the Bears. TCU (5-2) impressed on Opening Weekend at the MLB4 Tournament in Arizona, beating top-ranked Vanderbilt, and can build on that momentum in Houston. Texas A&M (8-2) and Houston (4-3) could both jump into the Top 25 with strong weekends at Minute Maid. Rice (3-6) is scuffling out of the gate in coach Matt Bragga’s first season but, led by Preseason All-American righthander Matt Canterino, the Owls have the talent to get back on track in a hurry. Texas State (5-3) is off to a strong start and shouldn’t be overlooked among some bigger names in the field.

Frisco College Classic
(9) Mississippi State, Nebraska, Sam Houston State, (8) Texas Tech

The Frisco College Classic also brings a solid field to the Lone Star State. The highlight will be Saturday’s showdown between Texas Tech (6-1) and Mississippi State (8-1), but it figures to be a strong weekend overall at Dr Pepper Ballpark, home of Double-A Frisco. Sam Houston State (5-2) again looks to have a regional-caliber team and will be eager to add some high-profile wins to its resume. Nebraska (3-5) last weekend was swept in a four-game series against Oregon State in Arizona and will be eager to get back on track. The Cornhuskers are looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2018 and a good showing in Frisco would be a sign of progress.

CCU Tournament, Conway, S.C.
(21) Coastal Carolina, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Northeastern

Coastal Carolina’s final tournament of the year may be its best. Coastal, UConn, Indiana and Northwestern all made regionals last year, and Illinois was one of the first teams left out of the field. The Chanticleers (7-2) have surged out of the gate and this weekend have a chance to add some more quality wins to their early-season resume. UConn (3-3) started the year with a bang, upsetting Louisville in Lakeland, Fla., but last week lost a series at College of Charleston. The Huskies can get back on track in their return to the Palmetto State. Indiana (4-4) similarly is looking to get back on track after last weekend getting swept at Tennessee. Illinois (6-0), meanwhile, has built some early season momentum and is coming off a sweep at Florida Atlantic. Northeastern (4-2) is off to a strong start of its own, but this weekend represents a significant step up in competition for the Huskies. One interesting subplot of the weekend will be the two meetings between Illinois and Northeastern, which were two of the teams fighting it out for the last spot in last year’s NCAA Tournament, with the Huskies getting the nod. Will the Illini be looking for revenge?  

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