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What To Watch For This Weekend In College Baseball (Opening Weekend)

Erik Bakich Tim Corbin Justintafoyagetty
Michigan coach Erik Bakich and Vanderbilt coach Tim Corbin (Photo by Justin Tafoya, Getty Images)

Top 25 Schedule

RankTeamOpponents (Fri., Sat., Sun.)TVNotes
1Vanderbiltvs. No. 8 Michigan, Connecticut, Cal PolyMLB Network, MLB.comMLB4 Tournament, Scottsdale, Ariz.
2Louisvilleat MississippiSEC Network+
3Arizona StateVillanova, No. 8 Michigan (Sat.)Pac-12 Plus
4FloridaMarshallSEC Network+
5MiamiRutgersACC Network Extra
6Texas TechHouston Baptist (Fri., Sat.), Northern Colorado (Sat., Sun.)Fox Sports Southwest (Fri.), TexasTech.TV
7GeorgiaRichmondSEC Network+
8Michiganvs. No. 1 Vanderbilt, Cal Poly, No. 3 Arizona State, ConnecticutMLB Network, MLB.com, Pac-12 Plus, MLB.comMLB 4 Tournament, Scottsdale, Ariz.
9Mississippi StateWright StateSEC Network+
10UCLAUC RiversideNone
11ArkansasEastern IllinoisSEC Network+
12Florida StateNiagaraACC Network Extra
13AuburnIllinois-ChicagoSEC Network+ (Fri., Sat.)
14Louisiana StateIndianaSEC Network+
15DukeArmyACC Network Extra
16Oklahoma Stateat Grand CanyonESPN3 (Fri.)
17North Carolina StateJames MadisonACC Network Extra
18North CarolinaMiddle Tennessee StateACC Network Extra (Fri., Sun.)
19Oklahomavs. VirginiaNoneWahoo Classic, Penscaola
20Wake ForestSeton Hall (Fri.), Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Sat. DH), Illinois (Sun.)ACC Network Extra (Fri.)Wake Forest Tournament
21Georgia TechSaint Peter's (Fri.), Cincinnati (Sat.), St. John's (Sun.)ACC Network ExtraAtlanta Challenge
22ArizonaAlbanyPac-12 Plus
23Dallas BaptistSouth Dakota StateDBUPatriots.com
24Ohio Statevs. St. Joseph's (Fri.), Pittsburgh (Sat.), Indiana State (Sun.)FloLiveSnowbird Classic, Port Charlotte, Fla.
25East CarolinaWilliam & MaryECUPirates.com

Tournaments to watch

MLB 4, Scottsdale, Ariz.
No. 1 Vanderbilt, No. 8 Michigan, Cal Poly, Connecticut

The tournament, now in its second year, has rapidly become college baseball’s best kickoff event. The main draw this year is an Opening Day rematch of the College World Series finals between Vanderbilt and Michigan, but Friday’s opener of Cal Poly vs. UConn is not to be dismissed either. The Commodores and Wolverines both have significant expectations this season and will be looking to get off to a strong start. The Mustangs and Huskies, meanwhile, will be aiming for an upset and an RPI boost for their NCAA Tournament resumes.

Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic, Surprise, Ariz.
Brigham Young, Gonzaga, New Mexico, Oregon State

Oregon State’s annual season-opening tournament is always a solid one. This year doesn’t have the cachet it has the last few years when the Beavers have been one of the best teams in the country, but it has plenty of intrigue. Oregon State is entering a new era as Mitch Canham takes over as coach and there’s been plenty of turnover on the field as well, none more notable than the departure of catcher Adley Rutschman, the 2019 Player of the Year. The new-look Beavers are the main draw, but BYU and Gonzaga are two of the favorites in the West Coast Conference. The Cougars edged the Bulldogs by one game in the standings last season and this fall brought in the No. 25 ranked recruiting class. With so much newness for several of these teams, this tournament is one to keep an eye on throughout the weekend.

Series to watch

No. 2 Louisville at Mississippi

These two teams deliver a good series every time they meet. Louisville has national championship aspirations this year thanks to a strong group of returners from a team that last year reached its bracket final at the College World Series. Ole Miss, meanwhile, has a lot of new faces in its lineup after a large core of last year’s super regional team was lost to the draft. It brought in the No. 2 ranked recruiting class in the country and this will be the first look at that new-look lineup. The pitching figures to be strong in this one with lefthanders Reid Detmers and Doug Nikhazy squaring off on Friday night, followed by righthanders Bobby Miller and Gunnar Hoglund. Throw in the closeness of the two programs – Louisville coach Dan McDonnell was a part of Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco’s staff for six seasons – and you have a fun Opening Weekend.

Indiana at No. 14 Louisiana State

This is a challenging opening series for LSU. The Hoosiers are coming off a Big Ten title and figure to again be strong, despite the fact they have a lot of pieces to replace this year. LSU has a new look of its own, especially in the lineup. The Tigers are going to lean on their pitching staff early in the season while the offense rounds into form. If their rotation of Cole Henry, Landon Marceaux and A.J. Labas can deliver this weekend against a powerful Indiana lineup, that would be a good sign going forward for LSU.

No. 19 Oklahoma vs. Virginia in Pensacola

The Sooners and Cavaliers are meeting in the Wahoo Classic at Blue Wahoos Stadium, the home of Double-A Pensacola. Oklahoma comes into this season with high hopes thanks to a large returning cast led by starters Cade Cavalli and Levi Prater. Virginia is looking to get back to the NCAA Tournament after missing regionals the last two years and has the overall talent to do so. This looks like it may be a low-scoring series and whichever team wins it will head home feeling good about where they stand.

Jeff Criswell Billmitchell

2020 College Baseball Top 25 Chat (2/17/20)

Our first Top 25 chat of the season has plenty to focus on, including an impressive start to the season by Michigan, Ole Miss and more.

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