Friday, March 17, 2017

The Last Two Champions Square Off; Three Top-15 Match-Ups This Weekend

Uh oh. It is happening again. Nova Southeastern finds itself in yet another gigantic, Division II-rocking series. This time it is against the #1 team in all the land. Division II baseball really doesn't get much better than this. Not only that, but there are THREE series' going on between top 15 teams this weekend, and they are all doozies.

First, we begin with the aforementioned D2 Diamond Series of the Week:

#1 Tampa (16-5, 5-1 SSC) at #3 Nova Southeastern (16-7, 5-1 SSC)
Sunshine State Conference
Game One (Friday, 3/17, 6 p.m. ET): UT Garrett Cave (3-1, 3.69) vs NSU Matt Hardy (3-1, 3.00) Live Stats | Live Video
Game Two (Saturday, 3/18, 12 p.m. ET): UT David Lebron (3-0, 3.41) vs NSU Devin Meyer (3-1, 6.03) Live Stats | Live Video
Game Three (Saturday, 3/18, 3 p.m. ET): UT Christian Calleja (1-0, 6.00) vs NSU Joe DiBenedetto (4-1, 3.21) Live Stats | Live Video
(Projected starting pitchers are based exclusively off prior series' and should not be considered official in any way.)

Yes, guys, I'm trying to get out of the South and the West for our top match-ups of the week. But come on. There's a reason the teams in those regions are always the highest-ranked. Nova/USC Aiken last week was spectacular baseball. Something tells me this series might be an even better showcase for the world of Division II baseball as the two most recent national champions face off. Tune in. Do it.

And here are the other *spectacular* series' to keep an eye on this weekend:

#15 West Texas A&M (16-2) at #7 Angelo State (16-2)
Game One (Friday, 3/17, 6:30 p.m. CT): Live Stats | Live Video
Game Two (Saturday, 3/18, 4 p.m. CT): Live Stats | Live Video | Live Audio
Game Three (Saturday, 3/18, 6 p.m. CT): Live Stats | Live Video | Live Audio
Game Four (Sunday, 3/19, 1 p.m. CT): Live Stats | Live Video | Live Audio

#8 Point Loma (15-3, 8-0 PacWest) at #14 Colorado Mesa (13-7, 6-2 RMAC)
Game One (Monday, 3/20, 12 p.m. PT): Live Stats | Live Video
Game Two (Monday, 3/20, 3 p.m. PT): Live Stats | Live Video

#2 USC Aiken at Columbus State (13-8, 7-2 PBC)
Peach Belt Conference
Game One (Friday, 3/17, 6 p.m. ET): Live Stats
Game Two (Saturday, 3/18, 3 p.m. ET): Live Stats
Game Three (Sunday, 3/19, 1 p.m. ET): Live Stats

#5 Dixie State (18-5, 7-2 PacWest) at California Baptist (16-7, 7-2 PacWest)
PacWest Conference
Game One (Thursday, 3/16): Dixie 6, CBU 1 (Box Score)
Game Two (Friday, 3/17, 4 p.m. PT): Live Stats | Live Video
Game Three (Friday, 3/17, 7 p.m. PT): Live Stats | Live Video
Game Four (Saturday, 3/18, 12 p.m. PT): Live Stats | Live Video

Cal Poly Pomona (13-10, 9-3 CCAA) at #9 Chico State (19-4, 12-0 CCAA)
California Collegiate Athletic Association
Game One (Saturday, 3/18, 12 p.m. PT): Live Stats | Live Video | Live Audio
Game Two (Saturday, 3/18, 3 p.m. PT): Live Stats | Live Video | Live Audio
Game Three (Sunday, 3/19, 11 a.m. PT): Live Stats | Live Video | Live Audio

Southern New Hampshire (11-3) vs West Chester (7-3)
Game One (Sunday, 3/19, 12 p.m. ET): Live Stats
Game Two (Sunday, 3/19, 2 p.m. ET): Live Stats
(Had four games scheduled originally, but Saturday's contests have already been cancelled due to weather.)

Below is the week ahead preview for the teams in the most recent Top 25 Division II rankings:

1. Tampa (16-5, 5-1 SSC): As you can see above, Tampa has a big weekend in front of it as the team heads to #3 Nova Southeastern for a match-up of the two top teams in the best conference in the nation for three games this weekend. The Spartans will also face Valdosta State on Tuesday (Mar. 21).

2. USC Aiken (19-4, 6-0 PBC): Fresh off the big weekend victories over Nova Southeastern, the Pacers will look to keep things rolling in conference play as they head to Columbus State for three games, a very talented team in its own right. The Pacers will also head to North Greenville, a team that is over 20 wins already, on Wednesday (Mar. 22) for a single game.

3. Nova Southeastern (16-7, 5-1 SSC): Another big weekend coming for the defending national champions, as they take on #1 Tampa in a three game conference series at home. They'll also face a very solid #25 Flagler on Tuesday (Mar. 21). They already beat Flagler in a wild 19-16 contest in February.

4. North Georgia (18-4, 5-1 PBC): The Nighthawks welcome in to town PBC foe Augusta for three games, and then face West Georgia in a single home game on Tuesday (Mar. 21).

5. Dixie State (18-5, 7-2 PacWest): Dixie will be part of one of the top series' in the nation this weekend, as they face California Baptist on the road for four conference contests.

6. Emporia State (16-4, 5-1 MIAA): The Hornets will hit the road for three conference games at Fort Hays State this weekend, before facing Missouri Western in a single conference tilt at home on Tuesday (Mar. 21).

7. Angelo State (16-2): Yet another series mentioned above, the Rams will pit their blistering record against an equal on paper, as they take on #15 West Texas A&M in four games at home to finish up early-season non-conference play.

8. Point Loma (15-3, 8-0 PacWest): Although not a long series, the Sea Lions will be entrenched in one of the best match-ups in the nation this weekend, as they'll face Colorado Mesa in a very intriguing doubleheader on Monday (Mar. 20).

9. Chico State (19-4, 12-0 CCAA): One of the hottest teams in the country along with the team directly above them, the Wildcats will face a pre-season top 10 team in Cal Poly Pomona for three games this weekend at home.

10. Azusa Pacific (15-3, 2-2 PacWest): The Cougars will try and rebound from last weekend's split by heading to Holy Names for four conference games this weekend.

11. Mount Olive (20-5, 9-0 Conf. Carolinas): The Trojans will have a good opportunity to boost their conference record even more, as they head to Pfeiffer for three games this weekend before facing Armstrong State on Monday (Mar. 20) and Virginia State on Tuesday (Mar. 21).

12. Lynn (18-7, 4-2 SSC): Lynn takes its prolific offense to the field for a mini two-game series against Adelphi, with one game each on Friday (Mar. 17) and Saturday (Mar. 18).

13. Mercyhurst (8-1): The Lakers will face Shippensburg in a doubleheader on Saturday (Mar. 18) before facing Notre Dame College at home for a single game on Tuesday (Mar. 21). They'll start conference play next weekend.

14. Colorado Mesa (13-7, 6-2 RMAC): The Mavericks have a very tough test this Monday (Mar. 20), when they head to #8 Point Loma for a weekday doubleheader.

15. West Texas A&M (16-2): WTAM will finish non-conference play with a huge four-game set on the road at #7 Angelo State that is mentioned above.

16. Lubbock Christian (16-7, 2-1 Heartland): It just missed one of our series' to watch up top, but the Chaps will head to Tarleton State for a great non-conference series with a tough squad. They'll also face University of the Southwest on Tuesday (Mar. 21).

17. Central Missouri (15-4, 7-2 MIAA): The Mules will continue conference play with three games on the road at Nebraska-Kearney that should allow them to buoy their conference record, and then they'll face Lindenwood at home for a single conference game on Tuesday (Mar. 21).

18. Henderson State (15-6, 9-3 GAC): The Reddies just keep chugging along, and they'll take their train to SE Oklahoma State for three conference games this weekend, then take on Delta State for a road doubleheader on Tuesday (Mar. 21).

19. UC San Diego (16-4, 8-2 CCAA): UCSD has found its gear in conference play, and the squad will have a good opportunity to move up in the rankings after this weekend, when they head to San Francisco State for three games.

20. Minnesota State (5-4): The Mavericks will already begin conference play this weekend, as they'll head to the University of Mary for four contests.

21. Millersville (11-4): The Marauders will be taking on Indiana (Pa.) in a four-game series that will be taking place all the way down in North Carolina.

22. Valdosta State (16-7, 8-4 GSC): VSU will be involved in another great match-up, as the Blazers will welcome in to town a surprising Union squad that is near the top of the conference, as well.

23. Franklin Pierce (7-6): The Ravens will have the weekend off, but will face Post in a single game on Tuesday (Mar. 21).

24. Delta State (15-7, 7-5 GSC): DSU will hit the road for three conference games at Alabama-Huntsville over the weekend.

25. Flagler (17-8, 5-1 PBC): The Saints will play four home games this week, including three conference games against Montevallo and then a single game against #3 Nova Southeastern on Tuesday (Mar. 21), as they look to avenge their early-season 19-15 track meet.

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