By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
Alabama Week 3 Review
Alabama won its biggest series of the season in taking two of three games from No. 9 Kentucky over the weekend in Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide won the first two games by scores of 4-2 before falling 5-2 in the series finale. Brad Bohannon’s team followed up that series win with a disappointing 4-0 loss to Jacksonville State, however, and Alabama has its work cut out if it wants to make the NCAA tournament. Still, the program is trending in the right direction in Bohannon’s first season at the helm, and there’s still plenty of time to add to the resume. The Tide travel to Columbia this weekend (April 6-8) to take on No. 18 Missouri.
Auburn Week 3 Review
After winning its conference opening series against Texas A&M, the Tigers lost back-to-back series in the SEC. Auburn dropped two of three at Kentucky and followed that up with a home series loss to Missouri. Butch Thompson’s team is still in good shape for the postseason, though, and as of now the Tigers have a solid resume. This weekend’s series at No. 5 Arkansas will give AU three opportunities to add pivotal wins.
SEC baseball rankings
1. Florida (26-5, 7-2)
2. Ole Miss (26-4, 6-3)
3. Arkansas (21-9, 5-4)
4. Missouri (22-7, 5-4)
5. Georgia (22-7, 7-2)
6. LSU (19-11, 5-4)
7. Auburn (23-7, 4-5)
8. Kentucky (20-9, 3-6)
9. Vanderbilt (17-12, 5-4)
10. Texas A&M (21-8, 3-6)
11. South Carolina (17-12, 4-5)
12. Tennessee (18-12, 4-5)
13. Alabama (18-12, 3-6)
14. Mississippi State (15-15, 2-7)
Week 4 Previews and Predictions
Series of the Week: Auburn at Arkansas. The SEC is loaded this season with nine teams from the conference currently ranked in the Top 25. The Razorbacks and Tigers both are ranked as of now, and only one game separates these two squads in the conference standings. Auburn lost its last two series, but this is still a dangerous team thanks to ace pitcher Casey Mize. Mize, who was named the Midseason Pitcher of the Year in college baseball, is 6-0 with a 2.11 ERA in seven starts this season. The Tigers need to steal at least one game on the road this weekend to avoid falling too far behind in the SEC West Division race. Series Prediction: Arkansas 2, Auburn 1.
South Carolina at Kentucky. Both the Gamecocks and Wildcats currently reside at the bottom of the SEC East standings, but both are very talented teams who should make the postseason. Both squads currently are under .500 in league play, however, and neither team can afford to be swept this weekend. Series Prediction: Kentucky 2, South Carolina 1.
Florida at Tennessee. The defending national champions are ranked No. 1 in the country and look like the team to beat again in college baseball. Florida is off to a 7-2 start in the SEC and is coming off of a sweep of Vanderbilt. The Gators also took two of three games from both Arkansas and South Carolina. The Volunteers are one game under .500 in the league, and taking one game from Florida would do wonders for their postseason resume. Series Prediction: Florida 3, Tennessee 0.
LSU at Texas A&M. A year after finishing as the national runner-up to Florida, the Tigers are back on track to make another deep run into the NCAA Tournament. This LSU team isn’t as dominant as last year’s squad, but it is talented and remains among the best in the league. The Aggies are off to a sluggish 3-6 start in the SEC and could use a series win over the Tigers. Series Prediction: LSU 2, Texas A&M 1.
Alabama at Missouri. Missouri has been the biggest surprise in the SEC so far this season, and the Tigers are currently tied for third in the SEC East. They just took two of three games on the road at Auburn, and now will look to knock off Auburn’s in-state rival. Alabama just won a pivotal series over Kentucky, and the Tide will look to add another series on the road over the Tigers. Ser-ies Prediction: Missouri 2, Alabama 1.
Georgia at Vanderbilt. Georgia hasn’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2011, but this is the best team the Bulldogs have had in nearly a decade. They currently are ranked No. 16 and are tied with Florida atop the SEC standings. Vanderbilt is ranked one spot ahead of Georgia in the college baseball rankings, though the Commodores are two games behind in the SEC. This series might not appear to mean that much in the short term, but it could be a tiebreaker at the end of the year. Series Prediction: Vanderbilt 2, Georgia 1.
Ole Miss at Mississippi State. These two rivals have been trending in opposite directions all year, but the Bulldogs have a chance to spoil the Rebels’ season this weekend. Mississippi State is 2-7 and in last in the SEC, while Ole Miss is 26-4 overall, 6-3 in the league and ranked No. 3 in the country. This could be one of the best Ole Miss teams in history, and it would be disappointing if the rebels lost to the Bulldogs, even if the series is in Starkville. Series Prediction: Ole Miss 3, Mississippi State 0.