What To Watch For This Weekend In College Baseball (3/21/19)

Image credit: Vanderbilt's JJ Bleday celebrates on Opening Day (Courtesy of Brent Carden/Vanderbilt)

Top 25 Schedule

Rk. Team Opponent TV
1 UCLA Arizona None
2 Mississippi State (16) Auburn SEC Network+
3 Stanford Utah Pac-12 Network Plus
4 Texas at Texas Christian Fox Sports Southwest Plus (Fr., Sun.), ESPNU (Sat.)
5 Vanderbilt (9) Florida SEC Network (Thurs.), SEC Network+ (Fri.-Sat.)
6 North Carolina State at Miami ACC Network Extra
7 Oregon State California Pac-12 Network (Fri., Sun.), Pac-12 Network Plus (Sat.)
8 North Carolina at Virginia Tech ACC Network Extra
9 Florida at (5) Vanderbilt SEC Network (Thurs.), SEC Network+ (Fri.-Sat.)
10 Louisville Georgia Tech ACC Network Extra
11 Georgia (12) LSU SEC Network+ (Fri.), SEC Network (Sat.-Sun.)
12 Louisiana State at (11) Georgia SEC Network+ (Fri.), SEC Network (Sat.-Sun.)
13 Texas Tech (23) Michigan (Thurs.-Sat.), Stetson (Sun.) Texas Tech TV (Thurs.-Fri., Sun.), Fox Sports Southwest Plus (Sat.)
14 East Carolina Central Florida American Digital Network (Fr.), Pirates All-Access (Sat.-Sun.)
15 Arkansas at Alabama SEC Network+
16 Auburn at (2) Mississippi State SEC Network+
17 Texas A&M at Kentucky SEC Network+
18 Mississippi at Missouri SEC Network
19 Coastal Carolina Troy Chanticleer Sports Network (Fri.)
20 Arizona State at Oregon Pac-12 Network Plus
21 Florida State at Notre Dame ACC Network Extra
22 UC Irvine Washington State None
23 Michigan at (13) Texas Tech (Thurs.-Sat.), vs. Stetson (Sat.) Texas Tech TV (Thurs.-Fri.), Fox Sports Southwest Plus (Sat.)
24 South Carolina at Tennessee SEC Network+
25 Clemson at Boston College ACC Network Extra

Series To Watch

(9) Florida at (5) Vanderbilt

Florida (16-7, 1-2 SEC) and Vanderbilt (16-5, 1-2 SEC) both lost their first SEC series of the year—Florida at home against Mississippi State and Vanderbilt at Texas A&M. Both teams will be looking to bounce back this weekend in Nashville and the loser will risk falling into a deeper hole in the SEC standings. This matchup typically stands out for pitching, but this year it’s the offenses that stand out. Both teams rank in the top 20 nationally in scoring, averaging eight runs per game. The Commodores need Preseason All-American outfielder JJ Bleday to get on track after a rough weekend at A&M (2-for-12, 6 SO), while the Gators are still waiting for junior outfielder Austin Langworthy (.202/.295/.345, 3 HR) to get on track this season.

(12) Louisiana State at (11) Georgia

Both LSU (16-5, 3-0 SEC) and Georgia (19-2, 3-0 SEC) opened SEC play with sweeps—LSU at home against Kentucky and Georgia at South Carolina. Both teams go into this series with a lot on the line. LSU was swept at Texas in its biggest series of the year to date and is 0-4 on the road. This weekend presents the Tigers with a chance to turn that around with a marquee road series win. The Bulldogs are off to a roaring start and have a chance this weekend to make a statement as one of the teams to beat in the SEC.

(23) Michigan at (13) Texas Tech

This isn’t a completely traditional series—Stetson (8-12) is also in Lubbock this weekend and will face Michigan on Saturday before two games with Texas Tech—but it will still be a good matchup. For the Wolverines (14-4), it is their last opportunity to make a statement before next week beginning Big Ten Conference play. It will be a tough weekend for the Red Raiders (12-5), who play five straight days, but it could be a nice boost for their resume as well.

Connecticut at Houston

The start of the American Athletic Conference slate opens this weekend with a big matchup between two of the conference’s key contenders. UConn (11-7) has yet to play a home game but has scored some key wins, including a series win against Louisville in Lakeland, Fla., on Opening Weekend. The Huskies have also gotten a boost in recent weeks with the return of All-American lefthander Mason Feole to the rotation after he missed the first few weeks of the season due to injury. He’s still getting back to full strength, but Feole can be a difference maker for UConn. Houston (10-9) has been up and down this season but has series wins against Arizona and Dallas Baptist. UConn would be another strong series win to add to the Cougars’ resume and give them an early leg up in the conference race.

Cal State Fullerton at Long Beach State

Both teams have struggled this season, but this is still one of college baseball’s marquee rivalries. Fullerton (8-10) has lost eight of its last 12 games and is coming off back-to-back series losses at New Mexico and against James Madison. Now the Titans must go into a hostile atmosphere at Blair Field for the annual non-conference series between these two rivals. Long Beach (3-16) has played one of the most difficult schedules in the country but has little to show for it. Both teams need a series win this weekend to kickstart their seasons.

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