Josh Watson, TCU (TCU photo)


Weekend Insider: What College Baseball Fans Should Be Watching


What’s Inside:

• I’ve Got My Eye on …
• Five Prospects To Watch
• Five Under The Radar Series To Watch
• This Week’s RPI Takeaways

I’ve Got My Eye On …

1. Arizona State and NC State hit the road

The Sun Devils have been the greatest rebound story in college baseball after missing the NCAA tournament last year and are 20-0 overall. However, the Sun Devils have limited action on the road — playing just one game on the road thus far, a midweek win over Cal State Fullerton. ASU hits the road this weekend to face a beat-up Oregon team that’ll be without righthander Kenyon Yovan and fellow weekend starting pitcher Cole Stringer, so chances are good they fare well on their trip to Eugene, Ore. As for the Wolfpack, they’re 20-1 and 5-0 on the road. However, they’ve played just two true road games, both wins over Elon and Coastal Carolina. NC State gets a huge test this weekend as it trips to Coral Gables, Fla., to face Miami. The Hurricanes had a golden opportunity to get a marquee series win over North Carolina last weekend but failed after winning the series opener. You can bet the Hurricanes will be ready for the red-hot Pack this weekend. What those two teams do on the road this weekend likely won’t mean much for the long-term, but it’s an intriguing litmus test for sure.

2. Auburn and Mississippi State’s starting pitching

If you’re a fan of starting pitching, you might want to keep an eye on the series in Starkville this weekend. It features a pair of terrific weekend rotations, with the Friday night battle between AU’s Tanner Burns and State’s Ethan Small leading the way. Burns has tallied crazy numbers this spring, sitting pretty with an 0.54 ERA in 33.1 innings, along with 48 strikeouts and five walks (.133 OBA), while Small has a 1.50 ERA in 30 innings, along with 51 strikeouts and five walks (.157 OBA). Meanwhile, Auburn lefthander Jack Owen has been terrific since joining the weekend rotation after the UCF series but is banged up this weekend, and State freshman JT Ginn has been as advertised. Ginn, who will get into the mid-90s with his fastball, along with a plus slider, has a 2.59 ERA in 31.1 innings, along with 43 strikeouts and three walks (.195 OBA). Mississippi State ranks fifth nationally (2.32) in ERA, while AU tops the national list with a 2.11 ERA. Something must give this weekend as the two SEC stalwarts do battle.


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