If you are ready for the 2022 college baseball season, you might want to bookmark this page all the way up until March 18th or so. These are some of the top matchups or series that you will not want to miss ahead of conference play. Non-conference play can be so much fun — getting to see teams you might not see face each other until the postseason. Let's break down some of our favorites:
(All times ET, D1baseball rankings as of Feb. 15)
No. 3 Vanderbilt vs. No. 7 Oklahoma State, Feb 18-20
You won't have to wait long to get some big-time baseball matchups. Vanderbilt, the 2021 runner-ups, will take on preseason No. 7 Oklahoma State on Feb. 18-20 in a three-game series in Nashville. The Commodores have suffered the very considerable loss of Kumar Rocker and Jack Leiter, which leaves some question marks on the mound, but Nick Maldonado could be a big arm for them this season. The Dores return Dominic Keegan, Carter Young and Enrique Bradfield Jr. to their lineup. They'll be going up against an Oklahoma State team that finished outside of the top 25 last year but moved up to No. 7 preseason after an overhaul of its roster from the transfer market. They’ve added Victor Mederos from Miami and a few power bats.
RELIVE 2021: Mississippi State wins first College World Series
No. 14 Texas Tech vs. No. 15 Arizona, Feb 20
Arizona and Texas Tech will face off in the State Farm College Baseball Showdown opening weekend. These two teams are extremely close in the preseason rankings. Texas Tech has the reigning 2021 Big 12 Conference Player of the Year in Jace Jung. Jung, the younger brother of former Texas Tech star Josh Jung, smashed 21 home runs and notched almost 70 RBI last season. Arizona is coming off of a trip to the Men's College World Series last season with an offense that led the nation in triples and averaged .508 in slugging percentage. Jacob Berry has departed from the program along with head coach Jay Johnson, but All-American catcher Daniel Susac is running it back at Arizona.
No. 2 Arkansas vs. No. 6 Stanford, Saturday, Feb. 26
Arkansas and Stanford is all too exciting. We've got another top-10 matchup just the second weekend of college baseball. Arkansas was the No. 1 team most of the 2021 season, despite missing out on the MCWS. They are now without Kevin Kopps and Peyton Pallette, who will be out due to injury. But, there should be some other names that can step into the weekend rotation — perhaps Connor Noland — and they should have a really strong offense this year. Stanford also has left us with question marks on the mound without Brendan Beck this season, applying the pressure on younger guys that will need to fill big shoes. But Brock Jones is back; he hit .311 with 56 runs scored, 13 doubles, a team-best 62 RBI and 18 home runs to rank first in the Pac-12 last season. Kody Huff returns, and Alex Williams should be a key component for this pitching staff.
No. 1 Texas vs. No. 19 Tennessee, March 4
No. 1 Texas vs. No. 8 LSU, March 5
No. 1 Texas vs. UCLA, March 6
The Longhorns have got a BIG weekend at the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic. By big weekend I mean they’ve got Tennessee, LSU and UCLA back-to-back-to-back March 4-6. This is a huge test for a team that looks all but unstoppable on paper so far. They lost Ty Madden to the draft, but they return Tristan Stevens, Tanner Witt, Pete Hansen and a talented bullpen. Their lineup is strong top to bottom, highlighted by the return of Ivan Melendez and Trey Faltine. Plus, they brought in Skyler Messinger from the transfer portal. There are some high expectations for the Longhorns.
They face No. 19 Tennessee, a fellow 2021 MCWS team, first. The Vols will be looking to put it all together again with a strong arm in Blade Tidwell leading their pitching staff. LSU is next, up to No. 8 in the preseason with a new look this season and Jay Johnson at the helm. The combination of Jacob Berry and Dylan Crews could be lethal, making this is a scary offense. Lastly they’ve got UCLA to cap off the weekend. Bruins coach John Savage brought in the No. 1 incoming freshman class, according to D1Baseball, so should be exciting to watch.
2022 SEASON PREVIEW: D1baseball's preview and predictions
No. 16 Georgia vs. No. 21 Georgia Tech, March 4-6
Next, we’ve got a home-state rivalry matchup between preseason No. 16 Georgia and No. 21 Georgia Tech, March 4-6. The Dawgs have the makings of a strong pitching staff, led by right-hander Jonathan Cannon, and some experienced talent returning, including Connor and Cole Tate. Connor Tate batted a team-best .344 with six doubles and a team-high 10 home runs with 33 RBI last season. The Yellowjackets have a stacked offense with power hitters and speedsters and not one easy out. Kevin Parada returns for his junior season at Tech after he led the ACC in hitting the first half of the season in 2021, hitting better than .400 until April 10. He finished hitting a team-best .318 for 70 hits, 20 doubles. This should likely be a great matchup, per usual.
No. 4 Mississippi State vs. No. 14 Texas Tech, March 8-9
Mississippi State, the reigning champs, will take on Texas Tech March 8 and 9th. The Bulldogs no longer have Tanner Allen and Rowdy Jordan but return the makings of a championship team. For one, they have Logan Tanner, who had a massive 2021 campaign. He is back, along with even more experience up and down the lineup. Tanner burst onto the scene last season, hitting .287 with 70 hits, a team-high 15 home runs, 13 doubles, 53 RBI and 45 runs scored. Then they’ve got Landon Sims. Bulldog fan or not, you know this name if you watched the 2021 Men's College World Series. He absolutely dominated out of the bullpen. In his first season, he was an incredible weapon at the MCWS and finished the season with a 5-0 record, 1.44 ERA and 13 saves in 56.1 innings. He will likely move to the starting rotation with Preston Johnson. Texas Tech should be a great matchup, a team with a lot of potential for this season.
No. 9 Florida vs. No. 25 Miami (FL) March 4-6
No. 9 Florida vs. No. 11 Florida State, March 15
Lastly, we have two Florida matchups. Preseason No. 9 Florida will first take on preseason No. 25 Miami March 4-6 and then preseason No. 11 Florida State March 15. Center fielder and power bat Jud Fabian is back at Florida despite being a second-round pick in the draft after smashing 20 homers last season, plus they brought in the No. 2 recruiting class in college baseball, according to D1Baseball. The Gators have two tough clubs to face in Miami and then FSU. The Seminoles return lefty Parker Messick, the reigning ACC Pitcher of the Year, Tyler Martin, the son of head coach Mike Martin Jr., Logan Lacey and a slew of transfers like Alex Toral, Brett Roberts and Florida transfer Jordan Carrion. They make up a stacked FSU team.