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National Weekend Preview (Feb.18th-20th)

Here are the best matchups in the Opening Weekend of College Baseball. 

5. Vanderbilt at San Diego (2), San Diego State

The Commodores are coming off a Super Regional appearance in 2010 in which they lost to Florida State in a tight three game series. Vandy returns one of the deepest pitching staffs in the country headlined by Sonny Gray and Grayson Garvin while Jason Esposito leads the lineup as he is rated nationally as the second best third baseman in the nation behind Anthony Rendon. They will face a rebuilding San Diego pitching staff which was decimated with the losses of Kyle Blair and Sammy Solis. Incoming freshman Dylan Covey was selected in the first round by the Milwaukee Brewers. It was discovered that Covey was dealing with Diabetes which caused him to decide to attend college.

4. South Florida at Florida

The Gators looked clearly like the worst team in the College World Series in 2010 as they went 0-2 to head home much earlier then anyone predicted. They return two stud position players in corner infielders Austin Maddox and Preston Tucker, They also return the weekend rotation which got stronger with the addition of Karsten Whitson who turned down the San Diego Padres to attend the University of Florida after being selected in the first round. South Florida brings back a group of solid starting pitchers in Randy Fontanez and Andrew Barbosa as they could give the Gators fits in the early season series.

3. Kentucky at College of Charleston

The Kentucky Wildcats had a disappointing 31-25 as they missed out on the postseason for the second straight season. They return two solid pitchers in sophomore lefty Taylor Rogers and junior righty Alex Meyer. College of Charleston on the other hand made the postseason tournament as they gave Coastal Carolina all they could handle but couldn’t win that decisive game to end their season. They bring back Cole Rakar who was tabbed the 2011 Southern Conference Preseason Player of the Year after hitting .378 while becoming the premier leadoff hitter in the conference.

2. Stanford at Rice

The only matchup this weekend which features two ranked teams playing a three game set is between the Stanford Cardinal and Rice Owls in Houston, Texas. Stanford is expected to be one of the top pitching teams in the country with Jordan Pries and Brett Mooneyham leading the rotation. Mooneyham’s role this weekend will be limited though as he has a cut on one of his fingers which is not allowing him to make his routine start. Rice returns the top hitter in the country in Anthony Rendon who hit .394 with 26 homers and 86 RBI.

1. Big East/Big Ten Baseball Challenge

This tournament features eight teams from each conference which will play 24 games over a multitude of sites in teh St. Petersburg, Florida area. The teams participating have some of the best talent in the country lacing it up  like UConn’s George Springer and Matt Barnes. THey aren’t the other two stars participating but it is well worth checking out if your in the Florida Area

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