Weekend College Baseball Preview: April 12-14

Mason Katz leads the hottest team in the country into Fayetteville - Crystal Logiudice-US PRESSWIRE

April 12-14: Stories to watch and Open Thread.

So, we're getting close to tourney time. There are about six weeks left in the college baseball regular season.

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The #1 LSU Tigers are 32-2. They haven't lost a game in almost a month and rank 7th in both hitting and pitching in Division I. No other team appears that high in both categories.

Senior Mason Katz is first in the country in total bases, and sits a home run out of the lead with 13 to Kris Bryant's 14. Freshman Alex Bregman is right behind Katz in bating average and total bases, helping to lead the Tigers offensive attack.

From the mound, Ryan Eades, Aaron Nola, and Cody Glenn have held opponents to 38 earned runs in 151.2 innings, while striking out 131 to 34 walks.

The Bayou Bengals hit the road, North to Fayetteville this weekend to take on the #10 Arkansas Razorbacks.

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The North Carolina Tar Heels have something to say about who the best team in the country is, as well. Sitting on a 31-2 record, they head in to Blacksburg to take on Virginia Tech and try and separate themselves in the standings from second-place Virginia. The Tar Heels, led by Colin Moran and Benton Moss, are one of three teams in the Top 10 in ERA (2nd) and batting average (10th).

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The Cavaliers have their hands full this weekend as they face the Ramblin Wreck of Georgia Tech. Zane Evans (10 HR on offense, 3 saves and a 1.29 ERA from the bump) and his Yellow Jackets want to stay in the Top 20 and set themselves up with a good seeding in the tough ACC tournament.

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Perhaps the biggest surprise to me, or at least the team that I most completely overlooked until now, is the Indiana Hoosiers. Indiana is the OTHER of the three teams to rank Top 10 in both batting and ERA, with LSU and UNC.

Sophomore Kyle Schwarber leads the Hoosiers offensive attack. Primarily a Catcher, Schwarber leads the team in hits and home runs, is sitting on a 1.181 OPS, and has even swiped a bag. Not easy for a catcher. Scott Donley and Sam Travis (both also sophomores) give Schwarber some line-up support.

Aaron Slegers (soph), Kyle Hart (soph), and Will Coursen-Carr (frosh) are quickly moving Indiana's pitching staff into the national conversation. They battle Michigan State this weekend.

Just in case you weren't keeping score: that's a team in the top 10 in hitting AND pitching, right there with LSU and UNC, that is led by six outstanding players, ALL of whom (five sophomores and a freshman) will be around NEXT season, too. Look out for the Hoosiers.

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Personal note: If I miss any action this weekend, it'll be because I am taking my 10 year-old to see the Jackie Robinson movie, 42.

When I was a kid, I was fascinated by Robinson and read many biographies about him. My favorite Robinson story is the legend that he was traded to the Giants, and opted to retire rather than play for them. I also love that Jackie, himself wasn't the first in his family to make an impression on bigots or cause ripples in the racial climate. His brother Mack won the silver medal in the 200 meters at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, just behind Jesse Owens, and very much in the face of Adolf Hitler who had stated his superior Aryan athletes would sweep the games.

My older boy did a project in grade-school that was a biographical Robinson timeline. I'm hoping the young one will do something similar, although earlier this year he did a biography project and chose Babe Ruth. I hope he enjoys the film and I hope that you all go see it as well. You know, when you're not keeping up with these NCAA Baseball stories. So far, the buzz on the film is pretty promising.

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