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College  | Story  | 3/1/2024

Week 3 Preview Pick 'Em

Vincent Cervino      Craig Cozart     
Photo: Charlie Condon (University of Georgia Athletics)
Georgia vs Georgia Tech

The battle between the two marquee programs in the state of Georgia also features two of the most prolific power hitters in the entire nation. First year head coach Wes Johnson has his Bulldogs off to a tremendous (8-0) record and All-American Charlie Congdon is batting .625 with 5 double and 4 home runs. Meanwhile, the Yellow Jackets (7-1) have a freshman taking the college game by storm in Drew Burress who already has 9 home runs (4 in Tuesday night’s game alone) to go with 20 RBI. This series will ultimately come down to who plays the cleanest and who has the depth on the mound, so advantage Bulldogs in my opinion.

Cozy's Pick: Georgia



This is a home-home-neutral between two teams that boast two of the hottest hitters in the sport: 1:1 candidate Charlie Condon and star freshman Drew Burress. This will likely be a very offensive series as both teams have veteran lineups and some question marks with the pitching staff. Give me the older lineup with a bit more experience in the Bulldogs in what should be some high scoring matches.

Vin's Pick: Georgia


No. 6 Florida at Miami

These Florida bluebloods are off to similar starts with a (5-2) record and both teams are slugging at a mind-blowing rate. The Gators of course boast the best two-way player in the nation in Jac Caglianone but Luke Heyman is off to a great start and leads the club in RBI. First year head coach JD Arteaga has his own freshman Golden Spikes Award candidate in Daniel Cuvet who is batting .630 with a SLG% 1,375. Both clubs pitch at a high level, the Gators are amongst the nation’s best in strikeouts per-9 and have been virtually flawless with the leather. The margin for error in this series will be razor thin and Florida has been doing the little things that should give them the series.

Cozy's Pick: Florida

Miami gets the home series in this matchup but the programs are in different places as the Gators are coming off a CWS runner-up finish and Miami is in Year 1 of the JD Arteaga era.  This rivalry matchup is always competitive, though, but I do believe that Florida’s firepower is going to be too much for Miami to keep up with.

Vin's Pick: Florida
 

No. 13 South Carolina vs No. 16 Clemson

The Palmetto State will be showing off the best the state has to offer with this matchup. Both teams have only suffered one loss so far on the young season and both clubs love to hit the long ball. The Gamecocks (7-1) have the distinct advantage on the mound this season with their power arms, team ERA of 2.40 and deep bullpen. Not to mention, All-American Ethan Petry is liable to dominate a series any given weekend. The Tigers Cam Cannarella is an All-American as well and is on fire this year batting .517 with a couple home runs and 10 RBI. Clemson (7-1) needs to pitch at a higher level and play cleaner defensively to hang in this series, but South Carolina looks ready to take off.

Cozy's Pick: South Carolina

Yet another big time rivalry matchup, the Gamecocks and Tigers represent one of the only rivalry matchups that are a contest between two Top 25 teams. I think South Carolina has a slight edge when it comes to the pitching staff and both offense feature firepower with maybe a little more power power on the Gamecocks side.

Vin's Pick: South Carolina


No. 24 Indiana State at Southern Miss

The Sycamores (7-1) got punched in the mouth by Vanderbilt on Tuesday giving up 20 runs in their first loss of the season. But this club is already battle tested and have played a nasty road schedule throughout February. Their strength is on the mound and while they haven’t scored runs in bunches, they usually hold opponents down. The Golden Eagles (6-3) are stellar on the mound and have already punched out 106 batters on the year. However, they have struggled mightily with the bats and are only hitting .229 as a team with just 5 home runs. Runs will come at a premium this weekend and Indiana State has a bit more firepower that should get them the series.

Cozy's Pick: Indiana State

This is a matchup against two of the top midmajor programs in recent memory as the Sycamores head to Hattiesburg. The Sycamores recently entered the Top 25 and are coming off a midweek loss to Vanderbilt into a tough road environment. I still think this Sycamores team is built for a long season run but there’s no doubt that this will be their toughest test of the season.

Vin's Pick: Indiana State


USF at UCF

The Bulls (4-3) have yet to find their groove on the early season and haven’t really reached their potential at the plate or in the field. They are active on the bases offensively but don’t really slug. On the mound, they are giving away too many freebies as they have allowed 31 walks in 54.0 IP as a staff which leaves their margin for error very small. On the flip side, first year head coach Rich Wallace has the Knights off to a perfect (6-0) start with big road wins at Miami and FAU. They are batting an astronomical .385 as a team and are averaging 11 runs per game. They also, do not give away free bases to their opponents only allowing 9 walks and committing 2 errors so far. This is a long and storied rivalry, and anything can happen, but UCF is playing the much better game right now.

Cozy's Pick: UCF

The War on I4 is upon us once again with both programs entering 2024 with reasons to be excited. USF has added nice pieces in what should be a competitive American team while UCF is now in the Big 12 under first year head coach Rich Wallace. This should be ultra competitive but give me the home field advantage as the Knights take two of three.

Vin's Pick: UCF


Oregon at UC Santa Barbara

The Ducks (6-1) are off to a nice start and will have their biggest test of the year this weekend. This a well-balanced club, they do most everything well and they have carried over their pitching momentum from 2023 into the new season. Jeffrey Heard is batting .500 and SLG% .893 to set the tone offensively and they swipe on average 2 bags per game. The Gauchos (3-4) have been a surprise but not in a good way as they came into the season with very high expectations. Pre-season All-American arms Hudson Barrett and Matt Ager have an ERA of 7.71 and 5.40 respectively and just haven’t given this club what they anticipated but the talent is there. We expect UCSB to get going any time but the Ducks are playing at a high level and should take this road series.

Cozy's Pick: Oregon

UCSB was a preseason Top 25 team before sputtering as of late but the core of this team is still very good with a chance to go on the road and beat a good Oregon team. The pitching staff is a separator here for the Gauchos as if they’re able to string quality outings, starting with Friday night ace Matt Ager, the Gauchos should stay in control.

Vin's Pick: UCSB