By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
Auburn Week 5 Review
The Tigers finally got back on track in taking two of three games from Mississippi State last weekend. Auburn won the first game, 2-1, thanks to a complete game from ace Casey Mize, who allowed only five hits and one earned run in nine innings. Mize struck out nine Bulldogs on the evening as he improved to 7-1 on the year. The Bulldogs won the second game, 7-2, but Auburn’s bats came alive in the series finale as the Tigers clinched the series with a 7-5 victory after a seven-run sixth inning. Auburn improved to 26-12 overall and 6-9 in the SEC and travel to take on Alabama this weekend (April 20 – April 22).
Alabama Week 5 Review
Alabama ran into the wrong team at the wrong time last weekend, as the Crimson Tide was swept by Texas A&M in College Station. The Aggies have won seven straight games and won the series over Alabama despite the Tide having success at the plate. A&M won the first game, 12-6, and took the second game, 9-6. The finale was more of a pitcher’s duel, with the Aggies sneaking away with a 3-2 win after an 11th inning walk-off from Braden Shewmake. To make matters worse, Alabama stumbled to a 6-0 loss to Samford last Tuesday (Apr. 17). The Tide fell to 21-17 overall and 5-10 in the SEC.
SEC baseball rankings
1. Florida (32-7, 12-3)
2. Arkansas (28-10, 10-5)
3. Ole Miss (29-8, 8-7)
4. Vanderbilt (23-14, 9-6)
5. LSU (24-13, 9-6)
6. Kentucky (25-12, 6-9)
7. Texas A&M (28-9, 8-7)
8. Georgia (26-11, 9-6)
9. Missouri (25-12, 6-9)
10. Auburn (26-12, 6-9)
11. South Carolina (20-17, 6-9)
12. Alabama (21-17, 5-10)
13. Mississippi State (19-18, 5-10)
14. Tennessee (22-17, 5-10)
Week 6 Previews and Predictions
Series of the Week: Florida at Kentucky. The Gators keep rolling and enjoy a comfortable lead over both Georgia and Vanderbilt in the SEC East Division. Florida is No. 1 in the country and look every bit as dominant as it did a season ago when the Gators won the national title. Kentucky just won two of three games on the road at Georgia, moving the Wildcats into the top 10 nationally. Series Prediction: Florida 2, Kentucky 1.
Vanderbilt at Missouri. These two squads are trend-ing in opposite directions, though both are in good position to make the NCAA Tournament. The Tigers were swept by Florida, which was expected but certainly not what Missouri needed. Vanderbilt took two of three games from Ole Miss and is only three games behind Florida in the SEC East. Series Prediction: Vanderbilt 2, Miss-ouri 1.
Texas A&M at Tennessee. The Volunteers’ postseason hopes suffered a major setback last weekend as they were swept at LSU, and Tennessee welcomes one of the hottest teams in the country to Knoxville this weekend. UT must take at least one game from Texas A&M this weekend to avoid being in the cellar of the SEC, but that will be difficult task given how well the Aggies are playing. A&M is slowly climbing up the standings in the SEC West and is only two games behind Arkansas with five weeks remaining in the regular season. Series Prediction: Texas A&M 3, Tennessee 0.
Auburn at Alabama. Alabama is limping into this series against its in-state rival, but Auburn isn’t in much better shape as the two squads enter the second half of the season. While Auburn currently is projected as an NCAA Tournament team, the Tigers don’t have much margin for error, and neither team is safe from missing the SEC Tournament. Alabama swept Auburn last season, and the Tide needs a series win to stay in the mix for the postseason. The Tigers just won a series over Mississippi State, but they’ll need to perform better at the plate if they want to win a series against Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Series Prediction: Alabama 2, Auburn 1.
LSU at South Carolina. The Gamecocks won one game at Arkansas last weekend, and while they needed a series victory, that win kept them out of last place in the SEC East. LSU currently is playing as well as anyone in the SEC West, but this will be a tough road test for the Tigers. LSU is only one game behind Arkansas in the SEC West, and the Tigers could possibly catch the Razorbacks if they can sweep the Gamecocks. Series Prediction: LSU 2, South Carolina 1.
Georgia at Ole Miss. The Rebels have lost two consecutive series but return to the friendly confines of Oxford this weekend. Ole Miss is now two games behind Arkansas in the SEC West and might need a sweep to catch up with the Hogs. Georgia has been one of the biggest surprises in the SEC this year, but the Bulldogs’ schedule has toughened in recent weeks. They won’t be expected to win this series but must steal at least one game. Series Prediction: Ole Miss 3, Georgia 0.
Arkansas at Mississippi State. Arkansas is in sole possession of first place in the SEC West and is only two games behind Florida for first place overall in the conference. A sweep over Mississippi State would give the Hogs some breathing room in the division, though a series win will keep them in first place. The Bulldogs are tied for last in the SEC and need at least one win to keep their postseason hopes alive. Series Prediction: Arkansas 3, Mississippi State 0.