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February 22, 2007

SCS.comThis is the last weekend for February, and this season is just getting into gear. After this weekend, all the Division I college baseball teams will have games under their belts. I am going to highlight the five best series and touch on a hand full more. Pacific will be traveling to Clemson to take on the #3 Tigers. #5 Cal State-Fullerton will have a three game set vs UCLA, two at UCLA and one game in Fullerton. Elon out of the Big South will travel to #10 Miami to take on the Hurricanes, while #13 Wichita State travels to Hawaii to play a three game set. WSU needs to bounce back after losing a series at Pepperdine last week. The upstart Cowboys of Oklahoma State, meanwhile, will travel to take on Cal State-Northridge. OSU has two All-American candidates this year and need to win a road series to prove that they are for real.

Pacific @ #3 Clemson

Clemson is 2-1 on the year and coming off a series victory over the George Mason Patriots. Clemson has sky high expectations this season. The Tigers hit the ball well vs George Mason, but they must get good pitching also. After one series, there are five Tigers hitting over .300, led by Stan Widmann and Doug Hogan (.357). Pacific is a middle of the road team out of the West Coast Conference, however West Coast baseball is loaded with talent and they could give Clemson some problems. In the end, I think Clemson will be too much for the University of the Pacific. I see the Tigers moving on to 5-1 after this weekend.

Prediction: Clemson sweeps series

UCLA vs #5 Cal State-Fullerton

This will be the Titans' fourth series of 2007, and so far they are 7-2 on the year. All-American Wes Roemer is off to a great start, and I see the Titans making another run to Omaha. The Titans and Bruins have a series this weekend split between home fields, with two at UCLA and one at Fullerton. UCLA is trying to establish itself as a solid program in tradition rich Southern California. Fullerton should win the series, but UCLA will be pumped for the opportunity to take down Fullerton. It will be a great series to watch, but CSF will be too much in the end.

Prediction: Cal State-Fullerton wins series 2-1

Elon @ #10 Miami

Elon made a run in 2006 to put them on the map. Out of the Southern Conference, they made their name last year and are picked in some circles to win that league again. Miami had lost some of its luster in 2006, before making an improbable run to Omaha. The Hurricanes were down, but not out. They went into Oxford, Mississippi and snatched a College World Series berth away from the snake bitten Rebels. So far this year, the ‘Canes are 4-4 on the year. They started slow in 2006 before the improbable run. Elon is no weakling. The Phoenix will be ready to play, and 1st basemen Robert Rodenbaugh and 3rd basemen Adam Weaver are good enough to play for anybody. They will give Miami all they want.

Prediction: Miami wins series 2-1

Cal State-Northridge @ Oklahoma State

Oklahoma State is off to a 5-1 start this year after a good season in 2006. The Cowboys have a dymamite infield with All-Americans Tyler Mach at 2nd and Matt Mangini at 3rd. Cal Northridge is looking to make some waves in the Big West. They must overcome Fullerton and Long Beach, so a series win over a Big 12 school on the road would give the Grizzlies a lot of confidence. The Pokes will have to be focused to win this series. Both of these teams have the talent to be NCAA tournament teams, so it is great to see a cross-country matchup like this. Both of these teams are on their way up.

Prediction: OSU wins series 2-1

#13 Wichita State @ Hawaii

The Shockers went into Malibu last week and came up short, but now they leave cold Wichita again for warmer weather as they travel to the Aloha State. WSU is 1-2 in the year and needs to get on track vs the Rainbow Warriors. Pitchers Aaron Shafer and Travis Banwart are very good and should get it going this weekend after mediocre showings last week. Coach Gene Stephenson has said this is his best team since 1996. Look for the Shockers to bounce back and sweep this week. A healthy Damon Sublett gives the Shockers a leader that they lacked last year.

Prediction: Wichita State sweeps series

Other series to watch

  • Wake Forest @ San Diego
  • Tulane @ USC
  • Miami (Ohio) @ Winthrop
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