Sorenson: Comeback Players And Key MatchupsColumns
Sometimes you just gotta call an audible.
I was all set to fly back east to Baton Rouge this weekend to see Texas A&M-LSU and some Arkansas State-Louisiana as well. I was fired up. The last time I saw the Tigers was probably at their worst, getting swept at Texas, with two of those games coming in blowout fashion. But they’ve played much better since that chilly weekend in Austin, even dare I say up to Omaha-type standards in taking two of three at Mississippi State last weekend.
And the Red Wolves? They are merely coming off a two-to-one series win over Sun Belt big bully Coastal Carolina, so seeing them play was gonna be huge too.
… but then Mother Nature intervened.
It is supposed to rain cats and dogs…. and elephants and grey wales this weekend in Baton Rouge. So instead of sitting out a bunch of rain delays and withstanding some postponements, I called an audible at the line and now I am going to see Oklahoma State and Oklahoma play some Big 12 games against West Virginia and TCU respectively. Should be a great weekend of ball in the Sooner state.
I’m interested to see Mountaineer ace Alek Manoah against that Cowboy offense. Opposing hitters are hitting just .204 off him so far. Also want to see how that Big 12-best OU pitching staff handles TCU and its .313 team average. Oh, and Kyler Murray is supposed to throw out the first pitch on Saturday. Wonder if the OU fans will boo him for only playing one year of Sooner baseball? Okay, I’m kidding.
Before I go further, let’s get to the five quick hits about this coming weekend.
FIVE QUICK HITS
A few things that jump out to me going into this weekend in college baseball.
How cool is it that the Pac 12 gets a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown? And get this, it does NOT involve a team named Oregon State. Go figure. UCLA takes it’s top-ranked unit to the Farm to face off with Stanford. It will be a matchup of two of the best pitching staffs in the country as the Trees are third in team ERA at 2.43 and the Bruins are fourth at 2.46. The Bruin offense hits just .275 but has more thump to it than recent years. Stanford is another offense that lives on “potential” as they hit just .266 right now, but always seem to get the hit they need at just the right time.
– This is BC’s (next) big chance.
Last we saw the Eagles, they were taking down Florida State in two of three games in Tallahassee and even the lone loss was a bottom-of-the-ninth white-knuckler that could’ve gone either way. With the two wins the Eagles improved to 14-13 and bounced up to No. 61 in the RPI. But then came the midweek. Egad. BC lost to UMass in the opening round of the Beanpot Tournament and then lost to Hartford as well. Those losses to the Nos. 138 and 216-ranked teams in the RPI devastated the Eagles, dropping them 30 slots to No. 90. Things get a little more serious this weekend as they’ll host 27-2 North Carolina State. But then again it’s another chance to stun the ACC circles.
– How will Mississippi State respond?
Last weekend was a crushing defeat against LSU, giving up 21 runs in the two losses. But they came back rabid in taking down UL-Monroe by a 21-8 score, their most runs scored since 2010. Now those Dogs are going to travel to Tennessee for another tough assignment, facing off against the top pitching staff in the country (2.37 team ERA). MSU still has the best offense in the SEC and fourth-best in D1, hitting .329 as a team. So this should be an intriguing showdown.