Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Host of D-II Match-Ups Between Conference and Regional Contenders This Weekend

The Division II baseball schedule is a little light this weekend on Top-25 match-ups, with only one between a pair of teams in the rankings. That series will be our Marquee Match-Up of the Week, while a host of other series' around the country will be contested between teams fighting for either regular season conference titles or regional tournament berths.

With all that said, we will first point out this weekend's Marquee Match-Up of the Week, which we will highlight later tonight or Friday morning in a little more depth:

#9 Tampa (27-11, 9-6 SSC) @ #17 Florida Tech (33-7, 13-6 SSC) (4/17, 4/18 (DH)): Shockingly, Tampa is fourth in the SSC, while the Panthers are second and only two games behind Nova Southeastern. Those three teams are probably safely in the South regional tournament at this point, but when it comes to the conference race, both of these teams need a sweep. FIT has put up an impressive season so far, and this will be a huge opportunity for them to prove their season even further. For Tampa, they seem to be stuck in a bit of a rut lately, and a good weekend here would be a great time for them to find their stride going in to the postseason.

Here are a few other series' around the country to keep your eye on, pitting a lot of very talented teams going up against each other as they jockey for position in the standings:

#12 Cal Poly Pomona (27-11, 19-9 CCAA) vs Cal State Los Angeles (23-13, 18-10 CCAA) (4/16 @ CPP, 4/17 @ CPP, 4/18 (DH) @ CSLA): Pomona is carrying a one game advantage over Cal State LA going in to this series in the CCAA standings, making this an important series, especially with the team between them, UCSD, taking on a lesser opponent this weekend. Additionally, CSLA is most likely a fringe regional team right now, so some quality wins this weekend would be enormous for them.

Azusa Pacific (25-13, 15-9 PacWest) @ California Baptist (23-15, 15-5 PacWest) (4/16, 4/17, 4/18): These are the third and fourth-best teams in the PacWest right now, going by the standings, and they both need a sweep to stay in the race if they want to be within shouting distance of Dixie State. Both squads are still in the running for a regional tournament spot out West, considering the GNAC is most likely only going to get one in, that leaves some spots to fight over between the CCAA and PacWest.

Fresno Pacific (24-14, 12-12 PacWest) @ Point Loma (30-7, 16-4 PacWest) (4/17 (DH), 4/18 (DH)): This series is more about PLNU than it is Fresno Pacific, as PLNU is second in the PacWest race, two games behind Dixie State. A sweep here can pull them even with the Red Storm, as they are playing out of conference this weekend.

Tusculum (26-14, 17-9 SAC) @ #23 Catawba (33-9, 21-5 SAC) (4/17, 4/18 (DH)): Catawba is running away with the SAC race right now by three games, and Tusculum sits four back. Since this is the final weekend of SAC play, Tusculum is out of the race, but Catawba is only three games ahead of Newberry in second. A single win in this series gives the Indians the regular season title. Newberry is facing Coker, the last place team in the conference, so if they play to their talent level, they should get the three victories they need to make Catawba work for it.

Angelo State (27-12, 15-11 LSC) @ West Texas A&M (26-14, 16-10 LSC) (4/17, 4/18 (DH)): Angelo is in third in the LSC and three games behind the leaders, TAMU-Kingsville, while WTAM is second and two games out. The winner of this series will most likely be the only contender to Kingsville for the conference crown. However, Angelo will face Kingsville next weekend, an opportunity to directly make up games on the Javelinas. With that said, this is a very important series for WTAM as their final two weekends will be against teams in the lower half of the LSC standings, giving them no opportunity to make up games on Kingsville without some help.

#20 North Georgia (28-11, 18-6 PBC) @ Francis Marion (24-14, 12-10 PBC) (4/17, 4/18 (DH)): North Georgia is leading the way in the conference by 1.5 games over Armstrong State, who has a tough match-up this weekend. If UNG can sweep or go 2-1 against a very talented Francis Marion team, it will most likely give them the regular season title in the Peach Belt. However, despite being buried in the conference standings, FMU is a very talented team that already has a bevy of quality victories on their schedule this season.

West Florida (25-14, 18-9 GSC) @ #22 West Alabama (29-8, 21-5 GSC) (4/18 (DH), 4/19): UWA is leading the GSC race by three games over West Florida, which makes the math pretty easy here for the Argos. A sweep, and they pull even, but the problem is Alabama-Huntsville in between the two with a pretty easy match-up in front of them this weekend. UWF needs the sweep to pull even, while UWA needs the series win to stay in front of the pack, most likely.

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