NCAA Regionals Odds & Predictions: 4 College Baseball Picks for Friday’s Games
Bailey Orr/Texas Rangers/Getty Images. Pictured: Arizona’s Garen Caulfield.
- The NCAA Regionals kick off today with all 64 college baseball teams in action.
- Doug Ziefel came through with four best bets for the first day of the NCAA Tournament, including picks for Arizona vs. TCU, Oregon State vs. Sam Houston and more.
- Read on for all four Friday college baseball picks below.
The Road to Omaha begins today with all 64 teams in the NCAA Baseball Tournament in action.
This will surely be one of the most exciting days of the year, and I can't wait for the first pitch to be thrown. So, let's not waste any more time and dive into the best bets for Friday's NCAA Regionals slate.
Texas -185 vs. Louisiana
2 p.m. ET · Longhorn Network
After a disappointing showing in the Big 12 Tournament, the Texas Longhorns get to wipe the slate clean with their first Regional matchup this afternoon. Texas wants to make a statement by throwing ace Lucas Gordon in this matchup.
Gordon had a tremendous regular season, going 6-1 with a 2.55 ERA while holding opposing batters to just a .219 average.
Those numbers are vastly different from Louisiana's starter Jackson Nezuh. The Florida State transfer gave up a great deal of hard contact and enters this start with a 6.14 ERA. While he does have good stuff, he'll face a Texas lineup that's due to wake up after a quiet weekend in Arlington.
Don't let last week fool you — this Longhorn lineup can swing it. They hit .297 as a club and boast a wRC+ of 115.
They should give their ace plenty of early support on their way to victory.
Central Connecticut State +5.5 vs. South Carolina
7 p.m. ET · ESPN+
South Carolina is probably the most surprising of all the SEC hosts, as the Gamecocks stumbled down the stretch while dealing with a multitude of injuries. However, their hosting status works to our advantage, as they're now inflated favorites in this first Regional matchup.
Central Connecticut dominated the Northeast Conference this season, going 25-5 in conference play while claiming both the regular-season and conference tournament titles. CCSU can't be overlooked, especially with ace Dominic Niman taking the ball.
Niman was lights-out for the Blue Devils, going 12-2 with a 2.76 ERA and holding opponents to a .227 batting average. While the Gamecocks lineup will be the toughest he's faced all season, he should be able to contain them.
Also, the Blue Devils are threats at the dish as well. They hit .301 as a team and had a wRC+ of 112, which is only seven points lower than South Carolina.
Behind their ace, the Blue Devils should be able to keep this one tight and cover the run line.
Oregon State -160 vs. Sam Houston
8 p.m. ET · ESPN+
The Beavers may have been the second-best team in the Pac-12 this season, but their flaw was exposed quickly in the conference tournament. The Beavers lack starting pitching depth, which is scary with LSU in their Regional.
This is why it's puzzling that the Beavers are starting ace Trent Sellers tonight. It may be from a lack of confidence in the rest of the staff, but nonetheless, it puts them in a great spot to win tonight.
Sellers' ERA is a tad inflated, but he was dominant at times for the Beavers. His FIP of 4.43 and SIERA of 2.51 are much more telling. He racked up 101 strikeouts in 66 innings of work this season and should contain a Cougars lineup that hasn't faced a pitcher of his caliber this season.
Oregon State should give Sellers plenty of support, as the Cougars' ace is due for some sizable regression, and the pen behind him is no better.
Arizona +120 vs. TCU
9 p.m. ET · ESPNU
The Wildcats showed what they're all about, as they were the talk of the town in the Pac-12 Tournament. They slugged their way to the title game, demolishing a team in Stanford that featured Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year Quinn Mathews.
Tonight, they'll face a TCU squad that also impressed in its conference tournament but is due to come back to earth tonight.
The Horned Frogs will throw their ace, Kole Klecker. Klecker had a fine regular season, pitching to a 4.04 ERA over 75 innings of work. The issue is that he doesn't strike out a ton of batters and is due for some serious regression. His FIP entering this matchup sits at 6.39 — over two runs higher than his season ERA.
Those numbers spell trouble against this red-hot Wildcats lineup. If this game becomes a slugfest, I like Arizona's chances of coming out on top.