Baseball Weekend Preview
Cavs-Tigers top-10 matchup headlines must-see series
No. 6 Virginia at No. 7 Clemson
The Cavaliers and Tigers open Atlantic Coast Conference play with a highly touted top-10 matchup between the league’s best pitching and hitting teams. Virginia enters the weekend on a seven-game winning streak and boasts a 1.50 ERA. The Cavaliers have notched four shutouts in 14 games, and have allowed just 1.64 walks per nine innings. Clemson leads the ACC with a .343 batting average, propelling the Tigers to score 8.9 runs per game. Friday’s clash will feature UVa junior lefty Danny Hultzen (3-0, 0.87 ERA), while the Tigers will trot out junior right-hander Scott Weismann (2-1, 5.40 ERA). Virginia is Clemson's second top-10 opponent in as many weekends. The Tigers dropped two of three games to South Carolina last week. Clemson leads the all-time series 102-41.
• Schedule: 5 p.m. ET March 11, 2 p.m. March 12, 1 p.m. March 13
No. 12 Cal State Fullerton at No. 8 LSU
This matchup pits two of the most successful programs during the past 32 years; the Titans and Tigers have combined for 10 NCAA titles since 1979. The programs will face each other for the first time in a regular season series. Cal State Fullerton right-hander Noe Ramirez (2-1, 1.71 ERA) will start the series for a pitching staff that boasts a 2.09 ERA. LSU will counter with ace RHP Kurt McCune (3-0, 1.47 ERA). The most notable difference between these two squads is at the plate – LSU is batting a robust .321 with 14 HR, while Fullerton is hitting .267 and has yet to hit a home run. CSF infielder Anthony Trajano enters the series on fire after batting .462 with seven RBI and five runs scored last week, earning NCBWA National Player of the Week honors. The Titans hold a 4-3 edge in the all-time series with six of the meetings in postseason play.
• Schedule: 7 p.m. CT March 11, 2 p.m. March 12, 1 p.m. March 13
No. 9 Arizona State at No. 24 Auburn
This matchup is certainly one to watch as the top team in the Pac-10 looks to make a statement against a rising SEC team. Arizona State leads its league in batting (.344) and stolen bases (30), but Auburn also is hitting well with a .319 average. The Sun Devils bring a 2.91 ERA to Auburn, while the Tigers look to hold their own with a staff that owns a 3.42 ERA. ASU leadoff man Johnny Ruettiger is batting .417 with 11 stolen bases, while Auburn's Casey McElroy (.375, 11 RBI) enters the series with an eight-game hitting streak. Last year, ASU swept the series with the Tigers in Tempe. The Sun Devils lead the all-time series 6-2.
• Schedule: 6 p.m. CT March 11, 3 p.m. March 12, 1 p.m. March 13
No. 22 Fresno State at Nebraska
The Huskers play host to their second consecutive West Coach opponent after taking two of three games to then-No. 5 UCLA last weekend. Fresno State enters the series on a seven-game winning streak, and is led offensively by senior Danny Muno (.324), who brings a 20-game hitting streak into the weekend and boasts a team-leading 14 RBI. Junior RHP Derek Benny (3-0, 2.70 ERA) takes the mound for the Bulldogs on Friday, while Nebraska’s Jon Keller (3-0) looks to keep his spotless 0.00 ERA intact. Kash Kalkowski tops the Huskers offensively with a .414 average, 2 HR and 11 RBI.
• Schedule: 1:35 p.m. CT March 11, 2:05 p.m. March 12, 1:05 p.m. March 13
Cal Baseball Classic at AT&T Park
Cal plays hosts to the inaugural Cal Baseball Classic on March 11-13 at AT&T Park, home of the 2010 world champion San Francisco Giants. The Golden Bears welcome No. 20 Rice, Long Beach State, UC Santa Barbara, San Francisco and Louisiana-Lafayette to the nine-game tournament. Key match-ups are Long Beach State vs. Rice at 11 a.m. PT Friday and Cal vs. Rice at 7 p.m. Saturday.
• Complete schedule
Cal State L.A. at No. 11 Sonoma State
The Golden Eagles hit the road for the first time this season as they visit the Seawolves in a key California Collegiate Athletic Association matchup. Cal State L.A. is ranked first in the West Region, while Sonoma State is third. The Golden Bears lead the league with a .320 batting average and 18 HR in 20 games, but the Seawolves have pop of their own as the league’s only other double-digit HR team (10). On the mound, Cal State L.A. will look to junior Gabrel Asakura (3-0, 0.69 ERA), who earned NCBWA National Pitcher of the Week after tossing a shutout against Cal State East Bay last weekend.
• Schedule: 2 p.m. PT March 11, 11 a.m. March 12 (DH), 11 a.m. March 13
Lander at No. 17 USC Aiken
After sweeping then-No. 3 UNC Pembroke to open Peach Belt Conference play last weekend, Lander is looking to do damage against another ranked league foe as the Bearcats travel to No. 17 USC Aiken. Lander’s Robert Skinner leads all starters with a .366 batting average and 19 RBI, while Stephen Carmon serves as the Pacers’ offensive spark with a .416 average and 13 RBI. The series will feature evenly matched pitching staffs as Lander enters the weekend with a 3.49 ERA, and USC Aiken sports a 3.24 ERA.
• Schedule: 1 p.m. ET March 12 (DH), 1 p.m. March 13
No. 19 West Texas A&M at Southwestern Oklahoma State
A key Lone Star Conference and South Central Region matchup will be featured in Weatherford, Okla., as both squads look to gain ground in an already hotly contested battle for the top of the league standings. SWOSU (14-5) is off to its best start since 2004, and cracked the latest NCBWA South Central Region rankings at No. 10. The Buffs claimed a series win against then-No. 14 Cameron in LSC play last weekend, improving to 16-3.
• Schedule: 2 p.m. CT March 11, 1 p.m. (DH) March 12
No. 24 Mary Washington at No. 25 Salisbury
This battle of nationally ranked Capital Athletic Conference squads was scheduled to begin Thursday, but postponed due to heavy rains. The Sea Gulls have won nine of the past 10 meetings. Bill Root’s .406 batting average leads SU, while UMW’s Beattie Southerland tops the Eagles with a .458 average and 14 RBI. UWM enters the series with a stellar 1.37 ERA, while Salisbury boasts a solid 2.54 ERA. Mary Washington is 3-0 in league play, while Salisbury sits in second place with a 5-1 mark.
• Schedule: noon ET (DH) March 12, 1 p.m. March 13
No. 18 Cortland vs. No. 21 Wheaton (Mass.)
Cortland begins a seven-game spring break trip to Auburndale, Fla., with a matchup against nationally ranked foe Wheaton, which will be playing for the first time in 2011. After starting the season with three losses, the Red Dragons have bounced back to even their record at 3-3. Michael Mahay (2-0, 0.69 ERA) leads the Red Dragons on the mound, while Tim Panetta is batting .400 with six RBI for Cortland. Wheaton is coming off a New England Women's and Men's Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) title and NCAA Tournament appearance as the Lyons return their entire starting infield from last season, including junior third baseman Dan Haugh, who was last year’s NEWMAC Player of the Year.
• Schedule: 4 p.m. ET March 13