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Wayne Cavadi | | February 21, 2020

DI college baseball preview: 13 series we're looking forward to this weekend

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

Week 2 of the 2020 college baseball season has already gotten off to a thrilling start. Vanderbilt's freshman pitcher Jack Leiter impressed in his debut while Wright State and Nicholls State pulled off some surprising midweek upsets. That's just an appetizer for the full menu served up on the second weekend of college baseball.

MIDWEEK WILDNESS: Vandy's Jack Leiter's debut | Wright State downs Louisville | Nicholls beats LSU

Let's take a look at the 13 series we can't wait to watch this weekend.

College baseball 2020: Week 2 series to watch (all times ET)

No. 2 Florida at No. 1 Miami | Feb. 21 (7 p.m.) | Feb. 22 (7 p.m.) | Feb. 23 (1 p.m.)
It's early and a lot of strong contenders are still finding their footing, but to get a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup before March is certainly one to watch. Miami's bats are clicking right now, hitting .313 as a team with six home runs. Adrian Del Castillo — one of our preseason player-of-the-year candidates — leads the way hitting .583 with two home runs. Florida's bats are clicking as well, but so is the pitching. Combined the Gators have pitched to a 2.43 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 37 innings pitched. This should be a classic battle for the Sunshine State.

LATEST RANKINGS: Miami (FL) the new No. 1 in college baseball

No. 6 Texas Tech, No. 25 Stanford highlight the first Round Rock Classic field | Feb. 21-23
The Red Raiders and Cardinal join Tennessee and Houston in the inaugural weekend tournament from Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas. Texas Tech's bats have been simply outstanding since first pitch hitting an absurd .438 with 12 home runs through its first four games. Nate Rombach picked up national hitter of the week honors and is off to a torrid start hitting .500 with five home runs, two doubles and 15 RBI through four games.

While the Red Raiders are must-see entertainment right now, all eyes will be on Stanford who is off to a sluggish start. The Cardinal lost an opening weekend series to Cal State Fullerton and a mid-week-er to Santa Clara. We're not saying it's time to hit the panic button, but these are three solid teams for Stanford to get back on track against, and the Cardinal certainly doesn't want to drop to 1-6 on the young season. Stanford and Texas Tech face off Saturday at 7 p.m. and could be the game of the tournament. You can watch the entire weekend on FloSports (note: this is a paywall).

Full Round Rock Classic schedule:
Friday, Feb. 21
3 p.m.: Stanford vs. Houston
7 p.m.: Texas Tech vs. Tennessee

Saturday, Feb. 22
2 p.m.: Tennessee vs. Houston
6 p.m.: Stanford vs. Texas Tech

Sunday, Feb. 23
11 a.m.: Tennessee vs. Stanford
3 p.m.: Houston vs. Texas Tech

UCF at No. 8 Auburn | Feb. 21 (3 p.m.) | Feb. 22 (2 p.m.) | Feb. 23 (1 p.m.)
The Knights are off to a 4-1 start, dropping a heartbreaker against Stetson this week. While UCF is in a tricky American Athletic Conference and is projected to finish closer to the top of the standings this season, the Knights still fared well against ranked opponents last year, picking up wins against Florida, Florida State and Miami. That said, Auburn — which we have pegged at making a return trip to Omaha in 2020 — is off to a scorching-hot start at the plate and on the bump. A veteran squad, it wouldn't be surprising to see the Tigers get to 8-0 in dominant fashion this weekend. 

No. 9 Michigan vs. UConn | Feb. 21 (2 p.m.) | Feb. 22 (2 p.m.) | Feb. 23 (11 a.m.)
The Wolverines got off to a pretty nice start in the MLB4 Collegiate Baseball Tournament, showing that they can definitely contend once again despite the loss of some key cogs that got them to the College World Series in 2019. Michigan went 3-1 last weekend with an impressive comeback against Vanderbilt and dominating performance against Arizona State, two nationally-ranked foes. Michigan's lone loss was against Connecticut and now the two face off for a weekend in Port St. Lucie, Florida. The Huskies have one of the most exciting freshmen in the nation in Reggie Crawford. The two-way player went 2-for-4 with five RBIs last weekend against Michigan, so it will be fun to see what he can do over a full series.

Oregon State at No. 10 Mississippi State | Feb. 21 (2 p.m.) | Feb. 22 (2 p.m.)  | Feb. 23 (2 p.m.) | WatchESPN
Two College World Series heavyweights the past few years collide in Starkville in what should be a fun series. Oregon State went 2-2 at the Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic and will have its first big test of the season on the road. Mississippi State swept a Wright State team that just upset Louisville in a midweek clash. It was a good start for the Diamond Dawgs who are certainly searching for a bit of a new identity after losing so much to the MLB Draft and graduation. With reports that ace JT Ginn is on the shelf for sometime, this will be a good test for the new-look rotation.

Eastern Kentucky at No. 11 LSU | Feb. 21 (8 p.m.) | Feb. 22 (4 p.m.) | Feb. 23 (noon) 
This game was already on our radar as the Colonels have a penchant for hitting the long ball, but now that Eastern Kentucky is off to its first 3-0 start since 2001, it takes on a little more relevance. Especially when LSU is coming off a midweek loss to Nicholls State. We don't put too much weight into early midweek losses, so this LSU team is still plenty good. That said, there are enough big bats in both lineups to make Alex Box Stadium a launching pad this weekend.

REACTIONS: 7 Opening Day surprises | How No. 25 Ole Miss beat No. 1 Louisville to take series 

Tennessee Tech at No. 15 NC State | Feb. 21 (3 p.m.) | Feb. 22 (2 p.m.) | Feb. 23 (1 p.m.)
Speaking of long balls, undefeated Tennessee Tech rolls into Raleigh as one of the most explosive home run hitting teams in DI baseball. We had Jason Hinchman as a strong contender for the 2020 home run crown, and the Golden Eagles first baseman showed well on opening weekend, bashing five home runs, including three in the series finale. The Wolfpack looked sharp on opening weekend, showing a balance of good hitting and solid pitching. They'll want to keep rolling against a strong Tennessee Tech offense, especially at home.

Ohio State at No. 19 Georgia Tech | Feb. 21 (4 p.m.) | Feb. 22 (2 p.m.) | Feb. 23 (1 p.m.)
The defending Big Ten tournament champions roll into Atlanta in a battle of 2-1 teams. The Yellow Jackets are in a bit of a transition, losing some of their biggest bats and rotation pieces after last season, but look to be reloaded with the right pieces to contend. Ohio State rebounded after a surprising opening day loss to St. Jospeh's with back-to-back wins on its Florida swing and will look to keep the momentum rolling in a series win that would send a statement to the conference. A Seth Lonsway/Jonathan Hughes Saturday showdown would be a good pitching matchup to watch.

Army at No. 20 Texas A&M | Feb. 21 (7:30 p.m.) | Feb. 22 (2 p.m.) | Feb 23 (1 p.m.)
Army came out and impressed on opening day as Friday starter Logan Smith hurled seven innings of shutout ball with 10 strikeouts to shut down No. 16 Duke. It looked to have the series won until squandering a six-run lead in the late innings of game 2. Still, we know this Army team is a Patriot League contender and causes problems for all its competition, ranked or not. The Aggies are rolling, now at 5-0, and certainly have momentum on their side. Texas A&M is coming off a 30-2 midweek victory, the most runs scored since 1991, in which the bottom third of the order accounted for 13 RBIs and not one home run was hit. 

DBU at No. 22 North Carolina | Feb 22 (12 p.m.) | Feb. 22 (2 p.m.) | Feb. 23 (1 p.m.)
The Diamond Heels are also rolling, off to a 5-0 start. Slugger Aaron Sabato has yet to really get the bat going, but you know it's only a matter of time. Senior centerfielder Dylan Harris has been leading the charge hitting over .400 with two home runs. Dallas Baptist has been a force the past few seasons, an NCAA tournament regular. The Patriots are off to a 4-0 start but this will be the first big test of the young season for them. 

Iona at New Mexico State | Feb. 21 (5 p.m.) | Feb. 22 (2 p.m.) | Feb. 23 (5 p.m.) 
Why is 0-3 Iona at 4-0 New Mexico State a series to watch? Two words: Nick Gonzales. The all-world hitter closed the perfect weekend for New Mexico State with a three-home run, nine-RBI day and has literally not stopped hitting the baseball since last February. 

BYU at Cal Poly | Feb. 20 (9 p.m.) | Feb. 21 (9 p.m.) | Feb. 21 (4 p.m., 7:30 p.m.)
Cal Poly had the unfortunate task of being the only team not to reach the 2019 NCAA tournament in a loaded MLB4 field and the Mustangs showed very well. They dominated UConn to a 5-0 win and small-balled its way to a comeback victory against Vanderbilt. Now they'll face a BYU team that pulled off an impressive 4-3 victory over Oregon State to close the Sanderson Ford College Baseball Classic.

Navy vs. Air Force | Feb. 21 (6 p.m.) | Feb. 22 (2 p.m.) | Feb. 23 (12:30 p.m.)
The Freedom Classic is always a good one. Despite a strong opening performance from 2019 Golden Spikes finalist Noah Song, Air Force took the 2019 series, while Navy took it in 2018. The two will look to go back-and-forth once again as Navy enters with a 3-1 record and Air Force the opposite, sitting at 3-1.

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Division I
Baseball Championship
June 16 - 26, 2023
Charles Schwab Field Omaha | Omaha, NE

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