Weekend College Baseball Preview: May 17-19

Artie Lewicki and the Virginia Cavaliers will try and establish their ACC supremacy Friday and Saturday vs. UNC - Kyle Laferriere-US PRESSWIRE

This is it; the College Baseball season is coming to a very quick close, some of the conference tournaments have already begun, and there are some key battles this weekend to decide regular season conference winners.

The Big One

A few weeks ago the ACC's Coastal Division looked all but decided. In those weeks, however, we have seen a drop-off in the play of North Carolina as well as the steady rise of the Virginia program. The two squads enter the final weekend of the regular season with near identical records. The Tar Heels began Thursday with the win-percentage advantage in conference play at 20-5, while the Cavaliers entered the weekend at 20-7. The two started off their weekend series Thursday night in Chapel Hill with each side hoping to decide the Coastal Division, and the ACC crown as well. It didn't go too well for the Tar Heels as Virginia roughed up Kent Emanuel and raked 17 hits. The two meet again Friday and Saturday and a sweep by Virginia would mean a complete flip-flop in the standings, and probably the National consciousness regarding who is the best team in the East.

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The Other Big One

It's billed as the Civil War. It's an in-state rivalry which, this year, has championship implications. The Oregon State Beavers travel to Eugene to battle the Oregon Ducks in a weekend set that could decide the Pac-12. UCLA is still hanging around, but the Beavers, at 20-4 in conference could all but wrap up the conference with a sweep over the weekend.

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The One for delorean

I have it on good authority that Baseball Prospectus writer, and world renowned heavy-metal bass wizard, Ian Miller, known in SBN circles as delorean, will be in attendance Friday in Berkeley to take in the Cal/Stanford tilt featuring probable MLB draft #1 Mark Appel. Appel will be trying to add to his 8 wins and lower his 1.97 ERA. These two scenarios appear likely as this season's Bears squad has been a disappointment, to say the least.

What we are all hoping is that Mr. Miller checks in with a guest appearance/scouting report citing his astute and learned observations, at some point this weekend, in these comments. (It would be the LEAST he could do after all of the previous shameless plugs.)

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Kris Bryant Watch

The University of San Diego's 2013 season ended on Wednesday and they don't play again until the WCC Tournament, but Kris Bryant hit a home run in each of his last two games to end the season with a nation-leading 30. Yes, 30 big flys in the BBCOR era. It has been 10 years since anybody hit more than 30 home runs in a season, and with just a couple more bombs, Bryant would firmly plant himself in the top 10 of all time. And that includes the guys swinging the SC500 Redlines and Z-Cores of years past.

If you are not already fully informed of what the "BBCOR era" actually is, you can read this column from 2011 by Chris Spurlock at Beyond the Box Score. The article cites THIS article by Dave Cameron at Fangraphs from that same year, outlining some of the changes in the college game that were made by the difference in regulations.

Read these, and it'll put Bryant's home run totals in perspective. I would be shocked if Bryant doesn't win the Golden Spikes Award.

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Ephemera

Follow the scores here.

Listen to this.

And this.

And some may disagree with me, but if there is a lull in your baseball consumption I say, go see this. (Baseball needs a player named Benedict Cumberbatch)

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