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Wayne Cavadi | | February 14, 2020

11 college baseball games we can't wait to see on opening day

A look at the top college baseball matchups you don't want to miss before conference play

The long wait is finally over and the 2020 college baseball season is here. And lucky for us, we waste little time getting right into intense action.

Two top-25 matchups highlight an exciting opening day, Friday, Feb. 14. Here are 11 we are really looking forward to, as well as the entire schedule for the top 25 on Opening Day 2020. 

2020 IS COMING: Our preseason top 25 | Eight for Omaha, predicted 

College baseball opening day: Top 25 action

No. 1 Louisville at No. 25 Ole Miss | 5 p.m. ET | SECN+

The Rebels certainly test themselves ahead of a challenging SEC schedule. Louisville tops the rankings entering the season, and deservedly so. The Cardinals made a deep run in Omaha last season, and ace Reid Detmers may be the best lefty in the land. The expected Doug Nikhazy vs. Detmers opening-day showdown should be a good one, but the Rebels’ young lineup will have their hands full with Detmers' filthy stuff.

No. 2 Vanderbilt vs. No. 13 Michigan | 7 p.m. ET |MLB Network

Not much of an introduction needed here. The Vandy Boys open their second straight season in Arizona at the MLB4 Collegiate Baseball tournament, but this one is a rematch of the College World Series finals. There will be a much different look for Michigan in its weekend rotation, but a Jeff Criswell vs. Mason Hickman — or better yet Kumar Rocker — showdown on opening night would be a dandy. 

See our full preview for the MLB4 Collegiate Baseball Tournament by clicking or tapping here

No. 3 Miami (FL) vs. Rutgers | 7 p.m. ET | ACC Network Extra

While we are interested in the new era of baseball at Rutgers under first-year head coach Steve Owens, this is all about Miami. The Hurricanes are returning stars all over the diamond and crack the preseason top 3, pretty impressive for a team that didn't even make it out of the Starkville regionals last year. That's how much talent this Miami team returns and after erupting for 19 runs on opening day against Rutgers in 2019, we can't wait to see what's in store for an encore. 

No. 8 Auburn vs. Illinois-Chicago | 6 p.m. ET | SECN+

We have Auburn pegged for a return trip to Omaha after a thrilling run in 2019. The Flames are a nice test for opening weekend after making a run to the NCAA tournament for the second time in three years. Jacob Key — the reigning Horizon League Pitcher of the Year — is an experienced righty that could challenge a Tigers' lineup minus a few of its bigger bats for 2019. That said, Tanner Burns could utterly dominate the UIC lineup and put on a memorable show right out of the gates. 

The 2020 college baseball season, previewed

No. 11 LSU vs. Indiana | 8 p.m. ET | SECN+

There are big expectations in the bayou this spring, especially with the exciting possibilities Cole Henry and Landon Marceaux offer atop the rotation. Facing off against the reigning Big Ten regular-season champions should be a nice test. This was a team that was second in college baseball with 95 home runs and Cole Barr and Elijah Dunham are back to lead the attack. LSU, however, could take advantage of inexperienced pitching, especially with sophomore first baseman Cade Beloso seemingly on the verge of being one of DI’s best sluggers.

No. 15 Duke vs. Army | 4 p.m. ET | ACCNX

Army won the Patriot League tournament in each of the past two seasons and return Jacob Hurtubise to lead the charge for an unprecedented third Patriot title in a row. This is a good challenge for Duke, one the No. 15 Blue Devils should handle, but they will be tested. Duke returns an experienced lineup — led by catcher Michael Rothenberg — but has some question marks on the mound. If the Blue Devils weekend rotation can reach its expectations, Duke will be dangerous in a stacked ACC, so starting against a tournament team will be good. 

LOOK AHEAD: 7 questions to be answered 

No. 17 Stanford vs. Cal State Fullerton | 9 p.m. ET | Stanford Live Stream 

Cal State Fullerton saw a run of 27 straight seasons to the NCAA postseason come to an end behind a 27-win season (the Titans have still never finished below .500). This team returns three starting pitchers and some of the best bats in the Big West Conference, so a test against Stanford’s pitching, especially ace Brendan Beck on opening night is a big one. Our own Anthony Chiusano has Stanford heading to Omaha this season, so Cal State Fullerton is certainly a solid first matchup.

No. 24 Oklahoma vs. Virginia | 7 p.m. ET | LISTEN

The Sooners and Cavaliers face off in the Wahoos Classic in Pensacola, Florida, to get their 2020 seasons rolling. Virginia will have to find its way in a loaded ACC and taking an opening night win against Oklahoma ace Cade Cavalli would send quite the statement. Virginia will have its hands full with a Sooners team loaded with returning experience, including eight of nine starting position players and three starting pitchers.  

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Three more to watch outside college baseball's top 25:

Kentucky vs. TCU | 7:30 p.m. ET | HFTV: The Wildcats had a disappointing 2019 and TCU is a good way to start a bounce-back season. If they can win. The Horned Frogs look tough this season behind an intriguing pitching staff that blends experience — like opening day starter Johnny Ray — and youth. 

Clemson vs. Liberty | 4 p.m. ET | ACCNXThe Flames were a 43-win, NCAA tournament team a year ago and are slated to repeat in the ASUN led by second baseman Will Wagner and starter Noah Skirrow in the rotation. The Tigers will have a new-look lineup minus big bats Grayson Byrd, Logan Davidson and Kyle Wilkie so facing a tournament-experienced team is a good test for a Clemson team looking to stay afloat in that loaded ACC.

Texas at Rice | 8 p.m. ET | LISTENA battle in the Lone Star State against two NCAA tournament regulars is a good one no matter the previous season's records. Trei Cruz — the C-USA preseason player of the year — leads the Owls, while Texas looks to rebound from a 27-27 season and a last place finish in the Big 12. The Longhorns will have a young lineup so it will be exciting to see how they start out. 

College baseball opening day: The complete top-25 schedule

All times Eastern

  • No. 1 Louisville at No. 25 Ole Miss, 5 p.m. 
  • No. 2 Vanderbilt vs. No. 13 Michigan, 7 p.m. 
  • No. 3 Miami (FL) vs. Rutgers, 7 p.m. 
  • No. 4 Florida vs. Marshall, 6:30 p.m.
  • No. 5 Georgia vs. Richmond, 5 p.m.
  • No. 6 Texas Tech vs. Houston Baptist, 3 p.m. ET
  • No. 7 Arkansas vs. Eastern Illinois, 4 p.m. 
  • No. 8 Auburn vs. Illinois-Chicago, 6 p.m.
  • No. 9 Arizona State vs. Villanova, 8:30 p.m.
  • No. 10 Mississippi State vs. Wright State, 5 p.m.
  • No. 11 LSU vs. Indiana, 8 p.m.
  • No. 12 Florida State vs. Niagara, 6 p.m.
  • No. 14 UCLA vs. UC Riverside, 9 p.m. 
  • No. 15 Duke vs. Army, 4 p.m.
  • No. 16 NC State vs. James Madison, 3 p.m.
  • No. 17 Stanford vs. Cal State Fullerton, 9 p.m.
  • No. 18 Wake Forest vs. Seton Hall, 4 p.m.
  • No. 19 Georgia Tech vs. Saint Peter’s, 4 p.m.
  • No. 20 Texas A&M  vs. Miami (OH), 7:30 p.m.
  • No. 21 East Carolina vs. William & Mary, 4 p.m.
  • No. 22 Oklahoma State at Grand Canyon, 8 p.m.
  • No. 23 UNC vs. Middle Tennessee, 3 p.m.
  • No. 24 Oklahoma vs. Virginia, 7 p.m.

Click or tap here for the full opening-day baseball schedule.

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