Happy Friday! The MLB lockout continues and they have officially canceled the first two series of the season. But I have good news! There is lots massive match-ups this week in college baseball. Below I’ve highlighted some big match-ups occurring this weekend and how you can watch them if you are so inclined. This does not include #1 Texas, #3 LSU, #8 Tennessee, UCLA, Oklahoma, or Baylor because they are playing in the Shriners Children College Classic on MLB Network and I did a separate preview which you can read here.
The Top 25 rankings I’m using are from my HSHH rankings, and most other references are from Baseball America, including the Top 50 College Prospects list for the 2022 MLB Draft. While MLB is locked out, I’ll highlight the top match-ups every weekend throughout the college baseball season. There will be plenty of focus on top MLB prospects, so when the draft comes in the summer, you’ll already know many of the names that get called.
Match-ups to Watch
#18 Florida (8-2) at #25 Miami (7-1)
Friday, 7:00 (ACCNX):
LHP Hunter Barco, 3-So. (2 G, 2-0, 0.75) vs LHP Carson Palmquist, R-So. (2 G, 2-0, 1.74)
Satuday, 7:00 (ACCNX):
RHP Brandon Sproat, So. (3 G, 1-1, 2.00) vs RHP Karson Ligon, Fr. (2 G, 1-0, 2.25)
Sunday, 12:00 (ACCN):
LHP Timmy Manning, So. (3 G, 0-0, 5.63) vs RHP Jake Garland, So. (2 G, 2-0, 0.00)
Florida has won 7 straight since dropping their Opening Weekend Series at home to Liberty. They’ll be coming to Coral Gables to face the rival Hurricanes who have likewise gotten off to a good start with their only loss coming at home last weekend to Harvard.
The Friday night pitching match-up features the best pitching match-up amongst potential 2022 MLB Draft picks. Top lefties Hunter Barco of Florida and closer-turned-ace Carson Palmquist should make for an entertaining pitching duel. Alejandro Rosario, who is ranked by BA as the #75 college player, has seemingly lost his spot in Miami’s weekend rotation after giving up 10 earned runs in his first two starts against Towson and Harvard, respectively. He will be replaced by mid-week starter and freshman pitcher Karson Ligon. The most favorable of the three match-ups for the Canes comes on Sunday, when they have sophomore Jake Garland on the mound facing the struggling lefty Timmy Manning. The Miami starters will have to find a way to cool down the Gator bats, who are hitting .319 on the season and averaging 2.4 homers a game.
While OF Jud Fabian and SS Josh Rivera are typically the players highlighted due to their prospect potential, it’s Sterlin Thompson, Colby Halter, and Deric Fabian carrying the offense. Jud Fabian and Josh Rivera have combined for 5 homers, but Thompson and Halter are hitting over .400 with 4 and 5 home runs, respectively, while Deric Fabian is hitting .353. On the flip side, Miami is hitting .289 as a team and no hitters are over .400 through the first 8 games of the season. 3B Yohandy Morales is hitting .321 with 4 XBHs, while CJ Kayfus and Maxwell Romero Jr. lead the team in hitting with a .375 batting average.
I really like Florida in this series. I think they go on the road and hit the ball out of the ballpark before running into trouble with the Sunday pitching match-up. I predict the Gators to take two of three from their in-state rival.
LHP Hunter Barco, Florida #9
LHP Carson Palmquist, Miami #21
OF Jud Fabian, Florida #24
RHP Alejandro Rosario, Miami #75
OF Sterlin Thompson, Florida #83
3B Yohandy Morales, Miami #114
SS Josh Rivera, Florida #117
RHP Alex McFarlane, Miami #119
OF Michael Robertson, Florida #129
Coastal Carolina (7-2) at North Carolina (8-1)
Friday, 4:00 (ACCNX)
RHP Nick Parker, Sr. (0-0, 6.43) vs LHP Brandon Schaeffer, Jr. (2-0, 2.45)
Saturday, 2:00 (ACCNX)
LHP Reid VanScoter, R-Sr. (1-0, 2.25) vs RHP Max Carlson, So. (1-0, 0.00)
Sunday, 1:00 (ACCNX)
RHP Elliot Carney, 5-Sr. (0-0, 7.27) vs RHP Shaddon Peavyhouse, 5-Sr. (0-1. 2.70)
North Carolina is featured on our Weekend Preview for the second week in a row as they host one of the top mid-majors in the country in the 2016 National Champion Coastal Carolina. UNC has gotten off to a fantastic 8-1 start, including a series win last weekend over in-state rival and Top 25 team in East Carolina. Coastal has also had a decent start, despite tough losses to Kent St at home and UNC-Wilmington on the road this past Wednesday.
According to Coastal’s pre-series notes, they’ll be going with Nick Parker, Reid VanScoter, and Elliot Carney to face the Tar Heels in Chapel Hill. Going with Elliot Carney might be a bit of a surprise considering fellow senior Michael Knorr has been the best performing starter to begin the year. He’s 1-0 in 12.1 innings pitched with a 1.46 ERA. UNC will likely stick with the same rotation as last weekend in Brandon Schaeffer, Max Carlson, and Shaddon Peavyhouse. UNC pitching has been great, with a 1.69 ERA as a staff. They’ll have their work cut out for them as Coastal’s offense is red hot and is hitting .325 as a team to start the season.
Big-time SS prospect Eric Brown is hitting .419 (13/31) with an OBP of .558. He is joined by 3B Cooper Weiss (.467, 7/15) and 2B Dale Thomas (.371, 13/35) in anchoring the Chanticleers’ lineup. All told, Coastal has 7 players hitting over .300 so far. On the other side, freshman CF Vance Honeycutt is the hot hitter for UNC, going .414 (12/29) with 5 homers. 1B Johnny Castagnozzi is also hitting over .400 (.452 in 31 ABs), while RF Angel Zarate is hitting .394 (13/33).
This is a big match-up of two teams that I have on the cusp of the Top 25. Whomever wins this series will likely be ranked in my polls next week. I’d like to take Coastal and predict they’ll take two of three from UNC, but I don’t think their staff keeps UNC off the scoreboard. Tar Heels will win the series and I think Coastal will be happy as long as UNC doesn’t sweep..
Top Prospects (According to Baseball America’s Top 150 College Prospects)
SS Eric Brown, Coastal Carolina #59
#15 Georgia (7-0) vs #16 Georgia Tech (8-1)
Friday, 6:00 (ACCNX):
RHP Jonathan Cannon, Jr. (2 G, 2-0, 0.00) vs RHP Chance Huff, Jr. (2 G, 1-0, 2.45)
Saturday, 2:00 (SECN+):
LHP Liam Sullivan, So. (2 G, 1-0, 5.14) vs RHP Zach Maxwell, So. (2 G, 1-0, 3.00)
RHP Dylan Ross, Jr. (2 G, 1-0, 3.00) vs RHP Aeden Finateri (Fr. (2 G, 0-0, 7.04)
It’s another massive in-state rivalry occurring this weekend, this time in Georgia. The Bulldogs are undefeated to start the year while the Yellow Jackets have only the lone road loss to Georgia Southern back on February 22nd. The first game of this series will be played at Georgia Tech on Friday, before moving to Athens for a UGA home game on Saturday. The finale, which doesn’t appear to be available to stream, will be played at a neutral site.
Georgia ace Jonathan Cannon is the big pitching prospect in this series and so far this season he’s been fantastic having only given 5 hits and walking none over 14.1 shutout innings. Liam Sullivan, Saturday’s starter for the Bulldogs, has struggled, while Dylan Ross only has 6 innings pitched over 2 starts. Relievers Jaden Woods and Luke Wagner has 13 and 11 strikeouts already this season. As a team, Georgia has a 1.90 ERA to start the year. The Yellow Jackets pitching has not been as good with a 3.94 ERA. Starters Chance Huff and Zach Maxwell have been good, but beyond that, the staff has struggled a bit. Marques Grissom Jr. and Aeden Finateri have ERAs of 6.48 and 7.04 and will be in the conversation for the start on Sunday. They could be in for a rough weekend, as the Bulldogs are hitting .313 in their first seven games.
Georgia’s top positional prospect is catcher Corey Collins, who is hitting .333 with 5 XBHs to start the season. The Bulldogs are very balanced in terms of RBIs and are spreading the wealth around as no one has over 6 RBIs so far. Ben Anderson and Cole Tate have both gotten off to red-hot starts. Anderson is hitting .543 with 6 XBH and has more walks (5) than K’s (3) while Cole Tate is hitting .406. Georgia Tech, on the other hand, is led by one of the best catching prospects in the country. Kevin Parada is hitting .514 with 5 doubles, 6 homers, and 20 RBIs. He’s not striking out much either, with 5 walks versus just 4 strikeouts. As a whole, the Jackets are hitting .342 as a team and big bopper Drew Compton is slashing .387/.463/.839 with 4 home runs. Chandler SImpson and Tre Gonzalez are other plays to watch for in the Yellow Jacket lineup.
To me, this series is a toss up. The big question for me is can the Georgia pitching staff slow down Kevin Parada and Chandler Simpson. If they can do that and Georgia Tech pitching continues to struggle, then I believe that Georgia will win the series and could potentially sweep their rival.
Top Prospects (According to Baseball America’s Top 150 College Prospects)
RHP Jonathan Cannon, UGA #40
C Kevin Parada, GT #15
OF Tres Gonzalez, GT #101
RHP Zach Maxwell, GT #105
C Corey Collins, UGA #132
3B Drew Compton, GT #135
Other Top 25 Matchups
#2 Ole Miss (8-0) at UCF (7-1)
Ole Miss has their first decent-sized test of the season as they’ll go on the road to 7-1 Central Florida. All three games of the series will be available to stream on ESPN+.
SS Jacob Gonzalez, Ole Miss #14
1B Tim Elko, Ole Miss #25
C Hayden Dunhurst, Ole Miss #43
3B Tyler Locklear, VCU #77
OF Kevin Graham, Ole Miss #80
OF TJ McCants, Ole Miss #143
Northeastern (3-5) at #4 NC State (8-1)
NC State dropped their first game of the season mid-week at Campbell by a score of 7-4. While Northeastern might look like a walk in the park, they have a pair of pitchers ranked in the Top 150 in Cam Schlittler and Sebastian Keane. All three games will be on ACCNX.
RHP Sam Highfill, NC State #66
LHP Chris Villaman, NC State #82
RHP Cam Schlittler, Northeastern #97
RHP Sebastian Keane, Northeastern #108
Southeastern Louisiana (4-5) at #5 Arkansas (5-2)
Arkansas has rebounded after their shutout loss to Stanford, and will look to sweep Southeastern Louisiana at home. All three games will be on SECN+.
2B Robert Moore, Arkansas #16
3B Cayden Wallace, Arkansas #42
OF Jace Bohrofen, Arkansas #46
1B Peyton Stovall, Arkansas #63
RHP Jaxon Wiggins, Arkansas #69
SS Jalen Battles, Arkansas #110
#6 Vanderbilt (6-2) at Hawaii (4-4)
Vanderbilt heads to Hawaii for a four-game series this weekend. There will be a doubleheader on Saturday. The games on Friday and Sunday night will be available on ESPN+.
OF Enrique Bradfield, Jr., Vanderbilt #17
RHP Nick Maldonado, Vanderbilt #31
SS Carter Young, Vanderbilt #41
RHP Patrick Reilly, Vanderbilt #47
C Dominic Keegan, Vanderbilt #60
2B Davis Diaz, Vanderbilt #88
LHP Carter Holton, Vanderbilt #96
OF Spencer Jones, Vanderbilt #103
RHP Christian Little, Vanderbilt #116
3B Parker Noland, Vanderbilt #121
CSU Northridge (5-2) at #7 Stanford (6-2)
Stanford impressed over #5 Arkansas, Louisiana, and Indiana last weekend before dropping a game at UTSA on Monday. They’ll head home to Palo Alto for a 3-game set against CSUN.
OF Brock Jones, Stanford #5
3B Drew Bowser, Stanford #57
2B Tommy Troy, Stanford #120
Gonzaga (6-2) at #9 Oklahoma State (6-2)
Gonzaga has won 4 in row after sweeping Cal State Fullerton on the road and a big win over Cal mid-week. They’ll be brimming with confidence as they come to Stillwater to face an OSU team that came from behind twice to beat the Arizona State Sun Devils on the road mid-week.
RHP/1B Justin Campbell, Oklahoma State #58
RHP Victor Mederos, Oklahoma State #64
3B Nolan McLean, Oklahoma State #78
RHP Gabriel Hughes, Gonzaga #79
1B Griffin Doersching, Oklahoma State #113
UC-Irvine (5-3) at #10 Oregon State (7-0)
This is the biggest series happening on the West Coast this weekend. Irvine has gotten off to a disappointing start, and now they’ll have to face their biggest test by going on the road to Corvallis and facing a very impressive Oregon State Beaver team.
LHP Cooper Hjerpe, OSU #30
OF Nathan Church, UC-I #55
2B Travis Bazzana, OSU #65
RHP Michael Frias, UC-I #81
RHP Will Frisch, OSU #93
OF Jacob Melton, OSU #128
RHP Jacob King, UC-I #138
Illinois, Michigan State, & Minnesota vs #11 Notre Dame (5-1)
Notre Dame’s non-conference schedule continues as they head to Minneapolis to take on Illinois, Michigan State, and Minnesota.
LHP John Michael Bertrand, Notre Dame #56
3B/RHP Jack Brannigan, Notre Dame #95
LHP Trey Dombroski, Monmouth #102
Texas State (8-1) at #12 Arizona (8-1)
Texas State goes on the road to take on the hot hitting Arizona Wildcats under first year manager Chip Hale. All three games will be available on the PAC-12 Network.
C Daniel Susac, Arizona #7
RHP TJ Nichols, Arizona #91
#13 Mississippi State (5-4) at Tulane (8-1)
The defending National Champs are in a bit of a free fall after barely scraping by Grambling and getting blown out by Southern Miss in the middle of the week. Now they’ll have to go to Tulane, who just took two of three on the road from a very good Louisiana Tech team. All three games will be available to stream on ESPN+.
RHP Landon Sims, MSU #8
C Logan Tanner MSU #26
C Bennett Lee, Tulane #131
Penn State (3-4) at #14 Virginia (8-0)
After scoring 60 runs against Cornell last weekend and 12 more on Tuesday against William & Mary, Co-National Player of the Week Jake Gelof and the Virginia Cavaliers welcome Penn State to town. All three games will be on ACCNX.
C/OF Kyle Teel, UVA #44
LHP Nate Savino, UVA #74
OF Chris Newell, UVA #76
Cal (5-3) at #17 Florida State (5-3)
Cal is a tough team to figure out. They’ve beaten #19 TCU and Sacramento State, but they’ve dropped games to Gonzaga and Illinois-Chicago. Now they’ll have to face potentially the best 1-2 punch in the country in Parker Messick and Bryce Hubbart, the latter of which just won National Pitcher of the Month for February. The Friday night game will be on ACC Network, while the Sunday game will be on ACCNX.
LHP Parker Messick, FSU #12
LHP Bryce Hubbart, FSU #19
OF Dylan Beavers, Cal #22
RHP Josh White, Cal #39
RHP Carson Montgomery, FSU #98
OF Logan Lacey, FSU #127
#19 TCU (7-1) at #24 Kentucky (8-1)
This is another match-up of Top 25 programs. Kentucky just dropped their first game of the year mid-week to Western Kentucky before rebounding the next day against Evansville. TCU meanwhile, took care of business mid-week against UT-Arlington after sweeping Nebraska last weekend. Friday and Saturday’s games will be on SECN+, while Saturday’s game will be on ESPN+.
3B Brayden Taylor, TCU #71
LHP Austin Krob, TCU #85
SS Ryan Ritter, UK #89
RHP Ryan Hagenow, UK #122
Canisius (4-5) at #20 Liberty (7-1)
Liberty just keeps on winning, extending their streak to 7 games with their mid-week win over Radford. All three games will be available on ESPN+.
RHP Devereauz Harrison, LBSU #54
Michigan, Indiana State, ECU vs #21 Maryland (8-0)
Maryland has a tough test this weekend as they face Michigan on Friday, Indiana State on Saturday, and a struggling but talented ECU team on Sunday. They’ll need to win at least two to prove they belong in the Top 25.
OF Clark Elliott, Michigan #112
Merrimack (2-2) at #25 Texas Tech (6-2)
Merrimack comes to Lubbock for a four-game set with a doubleheader on Saturday. All three games will be on ESPN+.
2B Jace Jung, Texas Tech #3
1B Cole Stilwell, Texas Tech #147
UMass-Lowell & Central Michigan at #23 Wake Forest (9-0)
Wake Forest is one of the top home run hitting teams in the country and they’ll face UMass-Lowell on Friday and Central Michigan on Saturday. They may avoid Central Michigan ace Andrew Taylor, but if they don’t, that’ll be the game to watch. Both games will be on ACCNX.
3B Brock Wilken, WF #35
RHP Andrew Taylor, CMU #48
RHP Eric Adley, WF #67