Jan. 3, 2011
Opening Weekend just six weeks
by Phil Stanton
Now that we have passed the holiday season and
turned the calendar to 2011, we can anticipate the start of the
college baseball season, which is just six weeks away.
are many intriguing match-ups to kick-off the 2011 campaign on
Friday, Feb. 18. At the top of the list is Stanford playing a
three-game set at Rice. Both teams were #2 seeds in the 2010
NCAA Tournament and both hope to be in consideration to host
this year. Owl third baseman Anthony Rendon (right) is one of
the top hitters in the nation and the junior could be the first
pick in this year’s MLB draft. Junior left-hander Taylor Wall
should anchor Wayne Graham’s pitching staff. Sophomore infielder
Kenny Diekroeger will pace the offense for the Cardinal, while
juniors Brett Mooneyham (LHP) and Jordan Pries (RHP) lead the
hurlers for Mark Marquess.
suspension, FIU junior shortstop Garrett Wittels (left) will
have a chance to break the NCAA Division I hit-streak record
against Southeastern Louisiana. Wittels finished the 2010
campaign with a 56-game hit streak, two away from Robin
Ventura’s mark of 58, set in 1987. Wittels batted .413 a season
ago in 56 games with 100 hits, 21 doubles and 60 RBI. He walked
22 times with just 19 strikeouts. Wittels was charged with rape
in the Bahamas in late December and could face disciplinary
action from the school or the NCAA.
Several teams hope to start and end the season
with a strong RPI. Vanderbilt will head to the West Coast to
face San Diego and San Diego State. Oral Roberts will travel to
Baylor and Elon visits NC State in battles of 2010 NCAA tourney
teams. USF will play a three-game series at Florida. Oregon will
head across the water for a four-game set at Hawaii. Other key
series include Cal State Fullerton against Long Beach State,
Kent State at Georgia Tech, Kansas at TCU and New Mexico at
There are several interesting tournaments on
Opening Weekend. The Big East/Big Ten Challenge will be held on
the Gulf Coast of Florida. Connecticut, Louisville and Minnesota
hope to build on successful 2010 campaigns with strong starts in
the Sunshine State. USC will entertain North Carolina, Missouri
and Cal Poly in Southern California. The Tar Heels will also
play at Cal State Fullerton while on their West Coast weekend.
Auburn will host Virginia, UAB and Arkansas State. Fresno State
will welcome Oregon State and Gonzaga. Coastal Carolina will
entertain Virginia Tech, Boston College, Indiana and Tennessee
Tech in Conway and Myrtle Beach.
So don’t let the winter blahs get you down.
Baseball is just around the corner.
(photos courtesy of Rice and FIU
Media Relations Offices)