By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
Auburn Week 9 Review
The Tigers had been playing as well as anyone in the league outside of Florida, but last weekend’s series at Ole Miss was a reality check for Butch Thompson’s team. Auburn was swept by the Rebels, including 8-3 and 10-3 losses in the final two games. Auburn nearly erased a 4-0 deficit in the opening game but the Rebels held on for a 5-4 win. The Tigers dropped to 35-18 overall and 13-14 in conference play. AU hosts LSU this weekend (May 17-19) for the final series of the regular season.
Alabama Week 9 Review
Alabama was eliminated from postseason contention after dropping two of three games to LSU in Baton Rouge this past weekend. The Crimson Tide led 5-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning, but LSU designated hitter Beau Jordan blasted a one-out grand slam to give the Tigers a 7-5 lead. Alabama couldn’t get anything going at the plate, and the Tigers held on for the win. The Tide won the second game at 6-1, but LSU won the finale, 7-3. Alabama dropped to 26-27 overall and 7-20 in league play. The Tide returns home to host Ole Miss this weekend.
SEC Baseball Rankings
1. Florida (41-12, 20-7)
2. Ole Miss (40-13, 16-11)
3. Arkansas (36-15, 17-10)
4. Georgia (35-16, 16-11)
5. Auburn (35-18, 13-14)
6. South Car (30-21, 15-12)
7. Texas A&M (35-17, 12-15)
8. LSU (32-21, 14-13)
9. Vanderbilt (28-24, 13-14)
10. Kentucky (34-18, 13-14)
11. Mississippi State (28-24, 12-15)
12. Tennessee (28-25, 11-16)
13. Missouri (32-20, 10-17)
14. Alabama (26-27, 7-20)
Week 10 Previews and Predictions
Series of the Week: Arkansas at Georgia. The Razorbacks and Bulldogs are comfortably in the NCAA Tournament, but this matchup will serve as a barometer for both teams heading into the postseason. Arkansas holds a one-game lead over Ole Miss in the SEC West Division, and a series win at Georgia clinches at least a share of the division title. Georgia can’t win the SEC East but the Bulldogs remain in position to potentially host a super-regional if they can finish the season on a strong note. Series Prediction: Arkansas 2, Georgia 1.
LSU at Auburn. Despite being swept by Ole Miss, Auburn is still in good shape for the postseason. The Tigers are No. 12 in RPI, and while they likely won’t host a regional, a strong showing down the stretch could certainly impact their tournament seeding. LSU still has some work to do for its NCAA Tournament resume, and a win or two at Auburn would leave the Tigers feeling confident about their postseason chances. Series Prediction: LSU 2, Auburn 1.
Ole Miss at Alabama. Alabama can’t make the postseason at this point, so the Crimson Tide is strictly playing for pride against Ole Miss. The Rebels are in position to host a super-regional, so UA can spoil those dreams with a couple of wins this weekend. Ole Miss looks like one of the best teams in the country, and head coach Mike Bianco’s team looks capable of making another appearance at the College World Series. Series Prediction: Ole Miss 3, Alabama 0.
Tennessee at Missouri. The final two spots in the SEC Tournament field are up for grabs, and it will come down to Mississippi State, Texas A&M, Missouri or Tennessee. Mississippi State and Texas A&M have 12 conference wins, while Tennessee has 11 and Missouri 10. The winner of this series will give itself a chance, though only one team from this matchup is guaranteed a spot in the tournament. Missouri looked like a lock to make the SEC Tournament a few weeks ago, but the Tigers stumbled lately. Tennessee is trying to end its 13-year NCAA Tournament drought, and the Volunteers must win at least two out of three games on the road to have a chance. Series Prediction: Missouri 2, Tennessee 1.
Kentucky at Vanderbilt. The stakes are low for this series in Nashville, as both teams will likely make the NCAA Tournament. Kentu-cky is comfortably in the field with a No. 17 RPI, while Vanderbilt should be in at No. 36. Both teams are one game under .500 in SEC play, which speaks volumes about the depth and difficulty in the conference. Series Prediction: Kentucky 2, Vanderbilt 1.
South Carolina at Texas A&M. The Aggies need just one win to make the SEC Tournament, and they’ll have to earn it this weekend as they host a very solid South Carolina team. Despite A&M’s sluggish conference record, the Aggies still have the No. 14 RPI in the country. They’re a very good team that’s struggling in a loaded conference. South Carolina isn’t necessarily a lock for the NCAA Tournament, but the Gamecocks should be in as long as they at least win one game before the tournament field is announced. Series Prediction: Texas A&M 2, South Carolina 1.
Florida at Mississippi State. While Mississippi State is projected to make the NCAA Tournament as of now, it’s far from a gua-rantee. The Bulldogs still need one win to even clinch a spot in the SEC Tournament, and that will be difficult as they host No. 1 Florida this weekend. The Gators likely will be the top overall seed for both postseason tournaments as they look to repeat as national champions. Series Prediction: Florida 3, Mississippi State 0.