Big 12 Baseball Preview: Round Rock Classic Headlines Second Weekend
The opening weekend of college baseball has come and gone but there is plenty more right around the corner. While last weekend saw plenty of great action on the diamond, there will be even more action coming up this weekend.
Between some big-time matchups and exciting series, let’s take a look at the upcoming weekend for Big 12 baseball.
The Round Rock Classic
Friday: vs #1 LSU
Saturday: vs Sam Houston
Sunday: vs Iowa
Kansas State is the lone Big 12 team that was invited to play in the Round Rock Classic down in Round Rock, Texas. There the Wildcats will be facing #1 LSU, Sam Houston, and Iowa. Obviously, the big matchup will be against LSU on Friday afternoon. The Tigers are the number one team in the country and rightfully so. They can do it all and have plenty of talent to go along with depth. Now, the Wildcats also get to play Sam Houston and Iowa who are no slouches themselves. I think we will get to know just how good this Kansas State team is after this weekend. I really like the way Kansas State is hitting the long ball with Cole Johnson, Kaelen Culpepper, and Nick Goodwin. Now I want to see them do it against better competition.
#8 TCU at Florida State
To me, this is the biggest matchup of the weekend in the Big 12. Florida State is typically a solid team every single year and that is once again the case this season. The Seminoles have some great arms with Wyatt Crowell, Carson Montgomery, and Jackson Baumeister. This should provide a great battle between the hot bats of TCU and Florida State’s weekend rotation. The Horned Frogs have shown a lot of power offensively with Elijah Nunez, David Bishop, and Brayden Taylor leading the way. Can they continue that in Tallahassee this weekend? Hopefully, they can.
Baylor at Duke
After a tough series against Central Michigan last weekend, the Bears have a golden opportunity ahead of them this weekend. Baylor will make the trip to Durham, North Carolina to face Duke in a three-game series starting Friday. So far for Baylor, the duo of Kolby Branch and Gavin Brzozowski have been good for them offensively. However, they still need some help putting runs on the board and need to get some things figured out on the mound. The Blue Devils have some quality veterans who can make pitchers work. However, just like Baylor they too have some question marks on the mound. Pitching will be key in this series if this series doesn’t turn into a shootout.
West Virginia at Arizona
Depending on the TCU/FSU series, this series may end up being the most important for the conference. West Virginia is one of those programs knocking on the door to become one of the better programs in the Big 12. This Arizona team they are facing is not only tough but talented as well. Wildcat pitcher TJ Nichols pitched a gem against a top-five Tennessee team on opening day last Friday. On top of that, Arizona has the batting power to back him up as well. I am interested to see the WVU pitching staff in action against a good Arizona lineup, especially with a guy like Ben Hampton. Also, can Caleb McNeely keep his bat going?
#24 Texas Tech vs Western Illinois
There is no need to study too much on this one. This should be a cupcake of a series for the Red Raiders who did a great job against Gonzaga last weekend. I want to see Mason Molina be lights out once again and I want to see those Texas Tech bats stay hot with Gavin Kash and Ty Coleman. Western Illinois shouldn’t win a single game in the series as Tech should have no trouble completing a four-game sweep.
Kansas at Oakland
This series was made out due to some odd scheduling as these two schools will face off in Cleburne, Texas for a four-game set. Kansas is fresh off their series against Valparaiso down in Corpus Christi, Texas while Oakland got swept by Lamar in Beaumont, Texas. It would be nice for Kansas to win the series of even split but they can’t afford to fall behind in a series like this. I am still not sure what to make of this Kansas team but improvement still remains important for first-year head coach Dan Fitzgerald.
Oklahoma vs Rider
Last weekend I said that Oklahoma should take care of business against California Baptist and they didn’t as they lost their opening series at home. This time they need to start turning things around quickly. The Sooners lost to Abilene Christian on Wednesday, and they really need a bounce-back win. I want to see better pitching and I want to see Kendall Pettis, Wallace Clark, and Jackson Nicklaus get those bats going this weekend.
Oklahoma State vs Loyola Marymount
I had some questions on the mound for Oklahoma State, but I felt a lot better after their no-hitter against California Baptist on Tuesday night. We all know that the Cowboys can hit the ball well with guys like David Mendham, Nolan McLean, and Roc Riggio but I want to see what their weekend rotation looks like. They really struggled in Arlington last weekend, so they really need to get things under control against an inferior team.
Indiana at Texas
Texas finally got their first win of the season this week against Corpus Christi A&M. Unfortunately they won’t get a team like that coming into Austin this weekend. Indiana has a veteran team that returns eight starters from last season. The Hoosiers bring in plenty of experience which is something the young Longhorns don’t have. However, Indiana does have pitching issues with their starting rotation. I know Lucas Gorgon will get a quality start for Texas but who else can step up? That’s what I want to see.