The Lineup: Ranked teams look to rebound, Big Ten play kicks off

Courtesy of Indiana Athletics

Across the country, there are ranked teams facing off in Power Five conferences, a non-conference matchup at the Rhodes House and pivotal series in the Big Ten and Conference USA.


1. No. 10 Virginia Tech @ No. 15 Alabama

Where: Tuscaloosa, Ala. 
When: March 22, 7 p.m. & March 23, 2 p.m. ET
What’s it on: SECN+

What do we want to see: We should, and we hope to see the Hokies lineup against Kayla Beaver. Virginia Tech’s power stroke against Beaver’s ability to work all parts of the zones will be a fun battle. Six different Hokies have at least six home runs, while Beaver has only allowed two long balls this season.

2. No. 22 Baylor @ No. 1 Oklahoma

Where: Norman, Okla. 
When: March 22-24

What’s it on: ESPN+

What do we want to see: Will the Bears show fight? Because if they don’t they are in danger of starting Big 12 play 1-8. Baylor has averaged a little over one run a game in its series against Oklahoma State and Kansas. With an Oklahoma offense that is rolling again, Baylor will need more run support.

3. No. 2 LSU @ No. 16 Missouri

Where: Columbia, Mo. 
When: March 22-24

What’s it on: SECN+

What do we want to see: What team will respond after difficult weekends? Missouri overall had a bad series at Tennessee, where the bats were cold and the pitching struggled for the first time this season. LSU lost the series at home to Ole Miss after being undefeated. Neither Tiger team has faced a ton of adversity this season, what team wants more could be a big difference come postseason time.

4. No. 14 UCLA @ No. 9 Washington

Where: Seattle, Wash. 
When: March 22-24

What’s it on: Pac-12 Networks

What do we want to see: Coming into the season, we had questions about UCLA’s pitching and Washington’s hitting after the talent each team graduated. Both units have answered the call and are a big reason both teams are Top 15 in our poll. Which group wins the weekend in a pivotal Pac-12 series?

Jadelyn Allchin, who has become an important bat in the Bruin lineup, returns to Seattle after a four-year career with the Huskies.

5. No. 18 Mississippi State @ No. 17 Arkansas

Where: Fayetteville, Ark. 
When: March 22-24

What’s it on: SECN+

What do we want to see: Outside of Bri Ellis and Kennedy Miller, the Razorbacks are still searching for more consistency in its lineup. Hannah Camenzind has had good at-bats but needed more in the circle as Robyn Herron left Sunday’s game with an apparent injury. Meanwhile, Mississippi State has allowed seven home runs in the last four conference games. The team that gets back on track in those categories likely takes this series.

6. No. 24 Arizona @ No. 21 Cal

Where: Berkeley, Calif. 
When: March 22-24

What’s it on: Pac-12 Networks

What do we want to see: Arizona and Cal’s hot starts to the season this season but have hit a bit of a blip. Both pitching staffs had a tough weekend and as they face each other’s strong lineup, we’d like to see competitive pitching duels

7. Indiana @ Penn State

Where: University Park, Pa.
When: March 22-24

What’s it on: BTN+

What do we want to see: These teams are two of the three strongest contenders in the conference based on what we’ve seen this season. Which one can make its case during the opening weekend of Big Ten play? Penn State will need to pitch well against Indiana’s offense that leads most Big Ten offensive categories.

8. NC State @ Norte Dame

Where: South Bend, Ind. 
When: March 22-24

What’s it on: ACCN Extra 

What do we want to see: Notre Dame won its first ACC series, while NC State gained valuable non-conference wins in Columbia. Which side can keep the momentum going? Madison Inscoe will have a big part in the series after having a great weekend in the circle last week.

9. No. 20 Kansas @ Houston

Where: Houston, Texas
When: March 22-24

What’s it on: ESPN+

What do we want to see: The Jayhawks fell one short against Missouri on Wednesday, but how will they handle success? We saw Houston give Texas trouble by hitting a good amount of home runs in its home park. Kasey Hamilton and Katie Brooks will need to keep the ball in the park.

10. Western Kentucky at Louisiana Tech

Where: Ruston, La. 
When: March 22-24

What’s it on: ESPN+

What do we want to see: This series could very well decide the regular season champion in Conference USA. Louisiana Tech’s masterful pitching duo of Brook Melnychuk and Allie Floyd both have a sub-two ERA and will need to keep it up against WKU. The Hilltoppers have the best offense in the conference led by Taylor Sanders and Morgan Sharpe.










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