If you want WVU to host a regional, these are some series you might want to keep an eye on.
kmSo here we are, the final weekend of the regular college baseball season.
The Mountaineers charge into the weekend sitting at 32-18, already finished with their Big 12 schedule. Currently, WVU is projected by D1Baseball and Baseball America to go to Chapel Hill to play their NCAA Regional games, but they’re the bubbliest of hosting bubble teams.
If there will be NCAA Tournament games in Morgantown, some dominoes will have to fall and things will have to bounce West Virginia’s way.
With that in mind, here are some series worth keeping an eye on this weekend.
George Washington (30-22) at No. 21 West Virginia (32-18)
Game 1: Thursday at 6:30 p.m. (MountaineerTV)
Game 2: Friday at 6:30 p.m. (MountaineerTV)
Game 3: Saturday at 2 p.m. (MountaineerTV)
So yeah, obviously this is a series that Mountaineers fans should pay attention to.
For the first time in two months, WVU will be playing a non-conference opponent over a weekend and it could not come at a better time. According to Randy Mazey, his team is playing their best baseball of the season right now.
This goes without saying, but West Virginia needs a sweep here to remain a serious regional host candidate. The Colonials are 1-5 against serious competition (loosely defined as usually decent Tulane and likely A-10 champ VCU) and despite a recent sweep against St. Bonaventure, hasn’t looked great in conference play.
The one question here is the pitching rotation. Since this is a Thursday-Saturday series instead of a traditional weekend, it’s possible we could see a different set of starters, especially since this is just an exaggerated version of a mid-week series.
TCU (28-22) at No. 10 Texas Tech (34-14)
Game 1: Thursday at 7:30 p.m. (Fox Sports Southwest)
Game 2: Friday at 7:30 p.m. (Fox Sports Southwest+)
Game 3: Saturday at 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
As far as the Big 12 goes, the only team that can unseat WVU from the top four in the standings is TCU. Seeing as how the Horned Frogs have to take the trip up to Lubbock for the weekend, it looks very unlikely that would happen.
The Mountaineers only need Texas Tech to win one game in order to secure a top four finish. While that isn’t the biggest deal, the optics are much better for the NCAA selection committee.
No. 12 Baylor (33-13) at No. 13 Oklahoma State (30-17)
Game 1: Thursday at 7:35 p.m. (Fox Sports Oklahoma)
Game 2: Friday at 7:35 p.m. (Fox Sports Oklahoma+)
Game 3: Saturday at 7:05 p.m. (Fox Sports Oklahoma+)
The last series ever at Allie P. Reynolds Stadium is going to be a big one.
Both the Bears and the Pokes (along with Texas Tech) are competing for a Big 12 regular season title. Baylor holds a half-game lead over the Red Raiders and 2.5 game lead over Oklahoma State.
As for how this might affect WVU, there could be two different effects. If the Bears sweep the series, they win the Big 12. West Virginia would leap-frog Oklahoma State into third place, which (once again) would be great optics for the NCAA selection committee. The only problem is, Baylor is currently NOT projected to be a regional host, and a regular season title might raise them to that status instead of WVU.
If Oklahoma State wins the series, WVU would stay put at fourth and remain a strong regional hosting candidate. The Mountaineers need some dominoes to fall, and unfortunately, this series can’t knock one down without propping up another.
No. 17 NC State (39-14) at No. 20 North Carolina (37-15)
Game 1: Thursday at 6 p.m. (ACC Network Extra)
Game 2: Friday at 6 p.m. (ACC Network Extra)
Game 3: Saturday at 4:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
Same here. This series can’t knock one team down without propping up another.
Right now the Tar Heels are sitting right on the good side of the hosting bubble after losing a series at Pitt last weekend. The problem is, NC State is in the same spot as WVU, playing for the right to host as well.
This series might not help WVU one way or another, but it’s definitely one worth keeping an eye on.
Auburn (31-21) at No. 19 LSU (32-21)
Game 1: Thursday at 7:30 p.m. (SEC Network+)
Game 2: Friday at 8 p.m. (SEC Network+)
Game 3: Saturday at 3 p.m. (SEC Network+)
Here is one spot where WVU could benefit from some dominoes falling.
According to D1Baseball, LSU is sitting as the de facto 14-seed in the NCAA Tournament and a regional host. That being said, this series is a winnable one for Auburn, even being played at Alex Box Stadium.
This would be perfect for WVU if Auburn could pull off the upset in Baton Rouge. The Bayou Bengals would likely fall as a regional host, but Auburn doesn’t quite have the resume to rise above the two-seed line even with a series win in Cajun country.
No. 11 Oregon State (34-15-1) at No. 3 Stanford (38-9)
Game 1: Friday at 9 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
Game 2: Saturday at 7 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
Game 3: Sunday at 3 p.m. (Pac-12 Network)
The Beavers have been in a small funk ever since Oklahoma State swept them in Corvallis to kick off the month.
Oregon State won a tough series against rival Oregon, but needed a late rally to beat Portland earlier in the week. Not the most ideal state of mind to be in going into the premier Pac-12 series of the weekend.
Along with UCLA, the Beavers and the Cardinal sit atop the conference standings in a three-team logjam. With the Bruins having a more winnable schedule here on out, both Oregon State and Stanford would ideally need a sweep to stay competitive with UCLA.
As far as WVU goes, Stanford would be the team to root for. The Cardinal have basically already secured a hosting gig, but the Beavers are falling closer to the bubble. Go for Oregon State losing the series and another domino may fall.
Duke (29-22) at No. 18 Miami (36-16)
Game 1: Thursday at 7 p.m. (ACC Network Extra)
Game 2: Friday at 7 p.m. (ACC Network Extra)
Game 3: Saturday at 1 p.m. (ACC Network Extra)
Same deal here, Miami is a domino in WVU’s way and we’re all about #TeamChaos here at the Musket. Not that it was that much of a sell for West Virginia fans to root against the Hurricanes anyway…
No. 14 UC Santa Barbara (40-7) at Hawai’i (20-24)
Game 1: Saturday at 12:35 a.m. (BigWest.TV)
Game 2: Sunday at 12:35 a.m. (BigWest.TV)
Game 3: Sunday at 7:05 p.m. (BigWest.TV)
LATE NIGHT BASEBALL!!!
UC Santa Barbara is finally turning their program around after a few years in the dark and looked poised for a NCAA Regional hosting gig (even though it wouldn’t be in Santa Barbara).
The Gauchos have taken care of business in the Big West and are looking to get one step closer to securing the auto bid (their conference has no tournament). As a WVU fan, you’re not pulling for a series loss, just one bad loss. If the Rainbows can embarrass UCSB once and maybe give them a close game, it could keep the NCAA from rolling the dice on giving a hosting gig to a team that wouldn’t even be able to have it on their own campus anyway.
Oklahoma (30-19) at Texas (26-25)
Game 1: Thursday at 7:30 p.m. (Longhorn Network)
Game 2: Friday at 2 p.m. (Longhorn Network)
Game 3: Friday at 7:30 p.m. (Longhorn Network)
If Texas loses this series, they will be watching the Big 12 Tournament from Austin. That doesn’t effect WVU in anyway, but hey….#HornsDown.
Kansas State (25-28) at Kansas (28-24)
Game 1: Friday at 7 p.m. (ESPN+)
Game 2: Saturday at 3 p.m. (ESPN+)
Game 3: Sunday at 3 p.m. (ESPN+)
If Texas somehow beats (but doesn’t sweep) Oklahoma in Austin, then Kansas State would only have to win one game in Lawrence to take the eighth spot for themselves. It might be the only time in recent history that baseball fans in the Lone Star State have watched the Sunflower Series with season-ending implications in mind.
Source: Smoking Musket