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Friday NCAA Baseball Best Bets: 3 Picks for West Virginia vs Texas, Clemson vs UNC & More

Friday NCAA Baseball Best Bets: 3 Picks for West Virginia vs Texas, Clemson vs UNC & More article feature image

John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Clemson catcher Jacob Jarrell.

  • Welcome to the final regular-season weekend of the college baseball season.
  • Friday's slate features plenty of big games across the country, including NC State vs. Pitt, Clemson vs. North Carolina and West Virginia vs. Texas.
  • Check out Doug Ziefel's top three picks for Friday's college baseball slate below.

One more weekend stands between us and the college baseball postseason, so it’s time to lock in and cash some tickets for the final regular-season games.

There are three teams in great spots in this final Friday slate of the season. So, let’s dive right in and meet the teams that can help build your bankroll tonight.

NC State (-185) vs. Pitt

6 p.m. ET · ACC Network Extra

The Wolfpack took the opening game of this series behind a dominant outing from Logan Whitaker, who held the Panthers to just one hit over seven innings of work. They’ll have the edge on the mound again tonight, as Matt Willadsen will get the ball.

Willadsen has put together a strong season coming into this outing, sporting a 3.10 ERA and .249 BAA. However, his 2.96 SIERA shows just how excellent he’s been, and he should face little resistance from Pittsburgh’s lineup.

The Panthers got shut down last night, which has been a trend for them, as they’re 10-16 in conference play. They sport a team batting average of .254 entering tonight, and it may be even lower after this one is done.

On the other side, the Wolfpack bats are primed to feast on Pitt’s Logan Evans. Evans will be making his eighth start of the season and comes in with a 5.27 ERA.

While Evans is due for some positive regression, it won’t come tonight, as NC State ranks 34th in wRC+ and 35th in wOBA. Back the Wolfpack to roll and clinch their final series of the season.

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Clemson (-140) vs. North Carolina

6 p.m. ET · ACC Network Extra

We’re heading just a bit south from our first game, as Clemson looks to secure a series win over North Carolina tonight.

Clemson bashed its way to a 14-7 victory yesterday, and all signs point to the bats staying hot.

The Tigers will face UNC’s Jake Knapp, who enters with a 4.78 ERA over 13 starts. But a closer look shows he could be in trouble this evening.

Knapp has been very fortunate to wiggle in and out of trouble this season, as he’s stranded nearly 85% of runners. However, a 1.50 WHIP and opponent OBP of .349 show just how much traffic he’s allowed.

The last and most startling statistic Knapp has entering this start is his FIP, which sits at 7.25.

Clemson is the team to make Knapp pay and regress toward that unsightly FIP. The Tigers boast the 19th-best batting average in the country and strike out just 18% of the time. They’ll make a ton of contact, and we can bet that more than a few balls will find the grass.

While Tigers starter Austin Gordon will have a tall task of his own to deal with, this game is going to be about offense, and Clemson should be hitting from wire-to-wire.

West Virginia (+114) vs. Texas

7 p.m. ET · Longhorn Network

It’s not often that we see the No.6 team in the country priced as an underdog, but that’s because it’s facing a menace on the mound. Texas boasts a formidable 1-2 punch at the top of its rotation, and we saw Lucas Gordon shut down the Mountaineers last night.

Now, Lebarron Johnson Jr. will get his turn, and he’s been tremendous. The sophomore right-hander boasts a 2.76 ERA and an impressive .209 BAA. However, he also owns a 4.01 FIP and 3.22 SIERA.

Those are clear signs of regression, and if there’s a lineup that can knock Johnson around, it’s the Mountaineers. West Virginia has the 20th-best wRC+ in the country while hitting .303 as a team.

The Longhorns will have their chances at the dish against Blaine Traxel, but their offense is a notch below the Mountaineers. Plus, Traxel has proven to be an effective workhorse with a 3.23 ERA over 94 innings pitched.

Lastly, the Mountaineers should be motivated to win this one, as they need just one win to clinch the Big 12 regular-season title this weekend.

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