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College | Story | 5/6/2022

Week 12 College Picks and Preview

Craig Cozart      Vincent Cervino     
Photo: Cooper Hjerpe (Oregon State Athletics)
Picks and Breakdowns

Matchup Vin's Picks Cozy's Picks
#17 Oregon at #2 Oregon State
Southeast Missouri State at #4 Oklahoma State
#5 Arkansas at #19 Auburn
Oklahoma at #21 Texas Christian
Sacramento State at #24 Grand Canyon
Vanderbilt at #25 Georgia
Maryland at Rutgers

No. 17 Oregon at No. 2 Oregon State

Cozy's Pick: Oregon State
One of the best rivalries in college baseball will occur this weekend in Corvallis and will feature two well-rounded ball clubs. The Ducks (28-16) hit the field with a balanced offense of 81 doubles, 59 home runs and 44 stolen bases. They are averaging almost 8 runs per game in league play where they are 13-8 and are tied for 15th in the nation with a .979 team fielding percentage. Unfortunately, they are surrendering almost 5 walks per game on the mound in league play and are allowing their opponents an OBA of .276 in 21 games. The Beavers (35-9) are more than adequate offensively as they average 7 runs per game in Pac-12 competition where they have a 15-6 record. However, there isn’t a better defensive unit in the nation. They are No. 1 in the nation with a .988 fielding percentage, only allow 4 free bags per game, have on OBA of just .207 while carrying an amazing 4.5-to-1 K/BB ratio in conference play. Oregon State has the look of a national title contender, and they will take care of business at home this weekend.

Vin’s Pick: Oregon State
Much has been made about Tennessee’s dominance as the No. 1 team in the country but Oregon State has been just behind the Vols for basically the entire season. Oregon State is already 2-0 against the Ducks this season as they’ll host them for a best-of-three set this weekend. Cooper Hjerpe is a legitimate Golden Spikes candidate while the lineup is super deep from Jacob Melton to Justin Boyd. The Beavers are a legitimate national title contender and I just don’t think the Ducks are on the same level.

Southeast Missouri State at No. 4 Oklahoma State

Cozy's Pick: Oklahoma State
Credit these clubs for scheduling an ultra-competitive series on their open date in conference play. This is exactly the kind of series that will carry a lot of weight with the NCAA Selection Committee in a few weeks. The Redhawks (30-13) will bring a powerful lineup to Stillwater as they sit 13th in the nation with 77 home runs, average almost 8 runs per game and they have also swiped 50 bags. But they are under .500 on the road and allow opponents to hit .273 and carry a 5.27 team ERA on the mound. The Cowboys (31-13) are coming off an impressive road sweep of Texas and have an offense that produces over 7 runs per game. They have 85 doubles, 55 home runs and have stolen 40 bases. Their defense and pitching are stellar, fielding .982 which is 8th in the nation, holding opponents to a .231 OBA and possess a 3-to-1 K/BB ratio. Oklahoma State also looks like an Omaha contender, they need this series to build their hosting resume and I think they win the weekend taking at least 2-of-3.

Vin’s Pick: Oklahoma State
Oklahoma State is a legitimate national title contender and Southeast Missouri is currently atop the Ohio Valley conference. Southeast Missouri is a strong mid major contender who is already up to 30 wins on the year but they’re below .500 at home against a top ten ranked Oklahoma State team. The Cowboys should take care of business as they look to close out the Big 12 in the coming weeks.

No. 5 Arkansas at No. 19 Auburn

Cozy's Pick: Auburn
The struggle for the top of the SEC West will see the Razorbacks and the Tigers do battle in Plainsman Park this weekend. Arkansas (34-11) has relied heavily on their pitching and defense to carry them this season. They are 14-7 in league play, have a 3.47 team ERA and possess a 2.5-to-1 K/BB ratio in SEC play. They are the No. 2 defense in the nation with a .984 fielding percentage and hold opponents to a .232 OBA. Offensively they have 8 hitters in the lineup with at least 5 home runs, but they are only averaging 5.5 runs per game in the league. Auburn (31-14) has been stellar at home this year with a 19-7 record and they are currently 17th in the nation with a .979 fielding percentage. They are 12-9 in SEC play and have been an explosive offense, averaging over 6 runs per game in conference play, blending 86 doubles, 47 home runs with 36 stolen bases on the season. They have struggled on the mound, especially inside the league, with a 6.16 ERA and allowing a .296 OBA. The Tigers have been showing signs of really getting on a roll and are due a big-time statement series win. I have the feeling it’s coming this weekend; Auburn wins 2 out of 3.

Vin’s Pick: Auburn
Auburn has been one of the toughest and most competitive teams in the SEC and they stand just two games behind Arkansas for the top spot in the SEC West. The home field advantage looms large for the Tigers here as though they lack the Friday night ace that Arkansas has in Connor Noland the offense has been really good for Auburn. Look for a huge weekend from Sonny DiChiara who has been arguably the best hitter in the country this season as Auburn should take two-of-three at home.

Oklahoma at No. 21 Texas Christian

Cozy's Pick: Oklahoma
The Sooners (27-16) have been an interesting and competitive club all year and it has the feel that they are close to breaking out in a big way. They are in 4th place in the Big 12 at 9-6 and have played very well on the road this year. They are scrappy on offense, using the gaps with occasional home run power and they are 6th in the nation with 99 stolen bases on the season. Add all that up and they are scoring on average 9.5 runs per game in conference play. Their OBA in Big 12 competition in a bit elevated at .288 and they field a pedestrian .969 on the year. The Horned Frogs (27-16) are coming off a tough road trip to Tallahassee last weekend and currently sit 2nd in the Big 12 with a 12-6 record. Offensively they have been pretty generic in the league, batting .252 and have only averaged 5.8 runs per game, which is 3 runs less per game than out of conference. They are tied for 15th in the nation with a .979 fielding percentage and pitch at a 2-to-1 K/BB ratio in the league. On the mound, they have also taken a half point off their overall team ERA in conference competition with a 4.16 to date. This matchup is sure to be a competitive struggle, but I have a feeling the Sooners win their biggest series of the year.

Vin’s Pick: Oklahoma
The Sooners are a trendy pick to make the field of 64 as an at-large bid though they’re not too behind Oklahoma State atop the conference standings. Peyton Graham has been on fire since the middle part of the season while Blake Robertson is as tough an out in the lineup as any while Jake Bennett has evolved into a true Friday night ace. The Sooners are just playing like a more consistent team right now and I think they can steal a series in Fort Worth.

Sacramento State at No. 24 Grand Canyon

Cozy's Pick: Grand Canyon
The Hornets (23-21) started the season with an amazing February going 7-1 and sweeping then 6th-ranked Long Beach State. Things haven’t gone quite that good since, but they are in 3rd place in the WAC with a 13-11 conference record. They can slug the ball a bit with 79 doubles and 46 home runs but are only averaging 6 runs per game in league play. They are good with the glove, fielding .978 which ties them for 20th in the nation, but their team ERA is almost 6.00 and their K/BB ration is less than 2-to-1 as a staff. The Lopes (31-15) sit atop the league with a 17-4 record and have dominated from an offensive standpoint. They are hitting .333 in conference and are averaging over 7 runs per game on their way to scoring more than twice as many runs as their opponents. Defensively they have been tremendous, fielding .974, allowing only 6 free bags per game while averaging over 10 strikeouts per game inside the league. They simply limit opponent’s opportunities to score, allowing less than 4 runs per game in the WAC. Grand Canyon will increase their lead again this weekend, winning the series but I think they may sweep.

Vin’s Pick: Grand Canyon
GCU has had one of the tougher schedules nationally and especially amongst mid major teams as they currently sit comfortably atop the WAC heading into May. Juan Colato, Jacob Wilson, and Elijah Buries lead a very deep, talented offense while the pitching staff has been solid headed up by true freshman Daniel Avitia on Friday nights. The ‘Lopes are one of the top mid majors in the country and should be able to take care of business at home.

Vanderbilt at No. 25 Georgia

Cozy's Pick: Georgia
It’s hard to remember the last time the Commodores (29-14) were under .500 in SEC play. However, they are currently 10-11 and sitting in 3rd place in the East. Even more surprising is the fact that they are only 6-6 in league play on their home turf. They have struggled to produce consistent offense and hitting with runners in scoring position has been lacking. They are averaging less than 6 runs per game in the SEC, but the bright side is that they can really defend. They are fielding .991 inside the league, with a 4.23 team ERA and holding opponents to a .221 OBA. The Bulldogs (31-14) are a team that just seems to figure out ways to win games but haven’t hit a real sustained hot streak yet. They are sitting 2nd in the East right now with a 12-9 record and usually heat up as a team with the weather heats up in Athens. They generate runs, scoring over 6 runs per game in league, by playing station-to-station and have hit 26 doubles and 24 home runs in conference play. They catch it well with a .980 team fielding percentage but have a concerning 7.03 team ERA in the SEC and a less than 2-to-1 K/BB ratio. These teams seem to be heading in opposite directions and I think Georgia wins another series at home.

Vin’s Pick: Georgia
The Dawgs have been among the national leaders in terms of RPI, as is Vanderbilt though the Commodores have been deeply disappointing in terms of offensive production this year. Georgia starting Jon Cannon on Saturday should be as big of an advantage as you’ll find in the series but I like Georgia’s chances on Saturday and find a way to win another game between Friday and Sunday.

Maryland at Rutgers

Cozy's Pick: Maryland
The marquee matchup in the Big 10 with the top two teams in the standings and the only two teams that have a shot at an at-large NCAA bid this year. The Terrapins (36-9) have been a team we have followed all season and they are 11-4 in the league. They are hitting .301 in Big 10 action with 28 doubles, 29 home runs and are averaging almost 8 runs per game. They have quality and depth on the mound, where they are averaging almost 9 Ks per game and are holding opponents to a .247 OBA in conference play. They have played well on the road (15-6) and have won every Big 10 series thus far. Rutgers (36-10) is continuing to enjoy a banner year, sitting atop the league with a 15-3 record. They are one of the more dangerous offenses in the nation with 109 doubles, 68 home runs and 43 stolen bases as they average over 9 runs per game. They have been clean with the glove, fielding .980 and their staff has limited opponents to an OBA of .237 inside the league. The winner of this series will be alone in 1st place in the Big 10. This will be a tightly contested series and it could go either way, but I am going with my gut. I think Maryland wins the series and puts themselves in great shape heading to the postseason.

Vin’s Pick: Rutgers
Maryland has been the most impressive team in the Big Ten all season and their starting rotation of Ryan Ramsey, Jason Savacool, and Nick Dean has been among the best in the conference. Rutgers has the offensive firepower, however, as potential Conference POY Nick Cimillo is hitting .400 with twelve bombs. I think the offense outlasts the pitching here as Rutgers should be able to jump on the Maryland bullpen and put themselves in the driver’s seat in the Big Ten.

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