Colorado vs. Colorado State

Saturday: Noon, 2:30 p.m. doubleheader, Johnstown

Sunday: Noon, 2:30 p.m. doubleheader, Scott Carpenter Field, Boulder

Opening Day in Major League Baseball days away, but the Colorado Rockies won’t be the only local baseball team worth watching.

This weekend, the University of Colorado men’s baseball team will play two doubleheaders against rival Colorado State University in a battle of two of the top teams in the National Club Baseball Association’s Mid-America West region. The winner of the region (as determined by head-to-head record) will advance to NCBA Regionals in May.

“Pretty much every year it’s come down to us and CSU for who makes it to regionals,” said CU catcher Matt Cochran. “We knew from the beginning that our whole season basically comes down to beating CSU.”

CSU is ranked first in the NCBA and has won five of the past six NCBA World Series titles, including the past two seasons and three straight from 2004-2006. The next four games won’t be easy for the 20th-ranked Buffs, but the players are confident.

“We’ve played some pretty good competition so far this season, and we’ve done well,” said second baseman Garrett Smith. “We’re always competitive with them. We’ve beat them in the past, so we know we can do it again.”

The Buffs are 5-2 this season, with three wins over Nebraska and two over Northern Colorado, as well as two losses to UNC. A number of games early in the season were postponed due to weather, but the team has gotten in plenty of playing time of late.

Last week, they played seven spring training games, going 4-3.

Projected starting pitchers for the Buffs this weekend are Matt Degraaf, Patrick Darrow, Conor Vidulich and Shams Sayed. Cochran said the pitchers should match up well with the Rams.

“Last year they had really good pitching, and all of their hitters were really big,” he said. “But from what I’ve heard, they’ve lost a lot of players, and we’ve gained a lot of good players, so it should be a great matchup.”

Both games on Saturday, which begin at noon and 2:30pm, will be played in Johnstown at the Buffs’ home field. On Sunday, the games will be played at Scott Carpenter Field in Boulder.

“This is the first time we’ll be playing CSU in Boulder,” Smith said. “There will be a lot of fans out at Scott Carpenter on Sunday, so it should be a great atmosphere.”