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2024 Jacksonville Classic: Everything you need to know

Weekend Preview

A new entrant among early-season tournaments in college baseball, the Jacksonville Classic will begin with a bang, welcoming No. 14 Virginia, No. 18 Iowa, Auburn and Wichita State to 121 Financial Ballpark in Jacksonville. The four teams went a combined 10-2 during opening weekend, setting the stage for a fun weekend ahead. 

Let’s take a closer look at the Jacksonville Classic field: 

Virginia

Head coach: Brian O’Connor

The Skinny On The Cavaliers

Virginia got a push from Hofstra in two of its games last weekend, but ultimately the Cavaliers came out of it with a three-game sweep. The lineup mashed in those three games, batting .371/.485/.695 with 13 doubles and seven home runs. The team ERA against the Pride was 6.00, but two of the toughest outings of the weekend came from Jack O’Connor (4 IP, 8 H, 4 R) and Jay Woolfolk (2 IP, 2 H, 6 R), and given their respective track records, you don’t expect those struggles to continue. 

Star Power: Griff O’Ferrall

O’Ferrall is the quintessential offensive spark plug. He’s not the toolsiest player on the field and he’s certainly not the biggest, but he puts together great at-bats, he can really hit and he’s the type of player that an opposing team can’t wait to never have to pitch to again. Against Hofstra, he went 6-for-12 with two homers, and he continues to be a steady defender at shortstop. 

Virginia SS Griff O’Ferrall (Photo by Shotgun Spratling)

‘Hoos Hot Right Now?

In addition to O’Ferrall, Indiana transfer Bobby Whalen (5-for-9), Henry Ford (7-for-13, 2 HR), Casey Saucke (4-for-10) and Harrison Didawick (5-for-13, 2 HR) are off to quick starts. Generally speaking, just about the entire lineup is hot. Six players started all three games last weekend and all of them are batting .308 or better. On the mound, with three shutout innings, Bryson Moore had the Cavaliers’ most effective relief outing. 

Prospect Watch

Here’s a list of prospects ranked by D1Baseball in the 2024 and 2025 draft classes. 

2024

SS Griff O’Ferrall (23)
C/1B Ethan Anderson (33)
RHP Jay Woolfolk (62)
OF Casey Saucke (129)

2025

RHP Jack O’Connor (33)
OF Harrison Didawick (85)
LHP Bradley Hodges (86)

Iowa

Head coach: Rick Heller

The Skinny On The Hawkeyes

Iowa went 2-1 in a tournament in Charleston, S.C. last weekend, scoring wins over Seton Hall and Ball State before taking a loss to Lehigh on Sunday. It’s no surprise given the talent the Hawkeyes have on the mound that they pitched extremely well to begin the season. In 27 innings of baseball, they struck out 42 batters and held opponents to a .160 batting average. It’s been a little more slow going at the plate, where the team came out of the weekend batting .255, but the bats should warm up as the weather does. 

Brody Brecht, RHP, Iowa (Shotgun Spratling)

Star Power: Brody Brecht

Brody Brecht might have the best raw arm strength in college baseball, with a fastball that averaged over 97 mph last season and touched as high as 101. Interestingly, however, he tends to have better command of his slider, which last season had a 53% whiff rate. Last weekend against Seton Hall, he threw 4.1 innings, giving up one hit and one run with six walks and 11 strikeouts. The free passes are what tends to hurt him, both in terms of his stat line and in terms of keeping him from being efficient enough to go deep into games, but if he’s in the zone, there’s very little stopping him from being a dominant force. 

Who’s Hot Right Now?

Outfielder Sam Petersen was Iowa’s best hitter opening weekend by going 7-for-13 with a home run and six runs scored. He was consistent in his production, too, as he had at least two hits in all three games. The starting rotation was generally excellent as well. The trio of Brecht, Marcus Morgan and Cade Obermueller gave up a combined four hits and one run in 14 innings. 

Prospect Watch

Here’s a list of prospects ranked by D1Baseball in the 2024 and 2025 draft classes. 

2024:

RHP Brody Brecht (6)
RHP Marcus Morgan (87)
LHP Cade Obermueller (90)

Auburn

Head coach: Butch Thompson

The Skinny On The Tigers

Auburn impressed with an emphatic sweep of Eastern Kentucky to begin the season. The Tigers pitched extraordinarily well in the three games, putting up a 1.80 ERA and holding the Colonels to a .161 average. In the last two games of the series, the starting pitching duo of Joseph Gonzalez and Carson Myers combined to throw 11 innings, giving up four hits and one unearned run. And the bullpen gave up just two runs all weekend. Offensively, Auburn batted .283 against EKU with a .460 on-base percentage, thanks in large part to drawing 28 walks. 

Star Power: Ike Irish

Irish is one of the best pure hitters in college baseball. After emerging as a star right away as a freshman last season, Irish is off to a hot start in 2024. Against EKU, he went 5-for-13 with a double, a triple, a home run and six RBIs. Being the team’s primary catcher this season is a new challenge for Irish, but there’s no reason to believe he won’t handle it well. 

Ike Irish, Auburn (Auburn photo)

Who’s Hot Right Now?

Carson Myers, who transferred to Auburn from UAB, was excellent in his debut for the Tigers, tossing six shutout innings, giving up two hits and one walk with eight strikeouts. Christian Herberholz, who pitched in the rotation last season, was great out of the bullpen against EKU, throwing three innings, giving up one hit and one run with six strikeouts. In the lineup, in addition to Irish, Miami (Ohio) transfer infielder Cooper Weiss (5-for-10) and outfielder Chris Stanfield (4-for-9, 5 BB) are off to hot starts. 

Prospect Watch

Here’s a list of prospects ranked by D1Baseball in the 2024 and 2025 draft classes.

2024: 

RHP Joseph Gonzalez (163)
RHP Chase Allsup (179)

2025: 

C Ike Irish (6)
RHP Cam Tilly (37)
RHP Dylan Watts (59)

Wichita State

Head coach: Brian Green

The Skinny On The Shockers

Wichita State impressed opening weekend with a road series win against OVC favorites Little Rock. In the two victories to begin the series, the Shockers outscored the Trojans by a combined 32-5 score. The offense batted .342/.479/.474 and on the mound, WSU held Little Rock to a .230 average while striking out 30 and walking just seven in 26 innings. 

Star Power: Mauricio Millan

The Shockers lost most of their star power from last season to the transfer portal as a result of the coaching change in the offseason, but they brought back the starting catcher in Mauricio Millan. So far this season, he’s lived up to the billing as the top returning hitter in the lineup. Against Little Rock, he went 5-for-11 with three walks and just one strikeout. 

Who’s Hot Right Now?

As good as Millan has been at the plate, Ryan Callahan (7-for-13) and Camden Johnson (8-for-15) have been even hotter. Daniel Zang turned in the best start last weekend against Little Rock, throwing six shutout innings, giving up three hits and two walks with eight strikeouts. He uses a low-90s fastball as part of a three-pitch mix that also includes a slider and changeup. 

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