In & around SEC baseball


Alabama Week 4 Review
The Crimson Tide won another pivotal conference series in taking two of three games from No. 22 Missouri on the road last weekend in Columbia. It was UA’s second straight series win over a ranked conference opponent Alabama won the opening game of the series, 2-1, behind seven solid inn-ings from starting pitcher Sam Finnerty, who allowed only one run in 102 pitches. The Tigers responded with a 1-0 victory the following day to even the series, but Alabama won the finale, 5-1, thanks in part to a four-hit effort from junior Cobie Vance. The Tide improved to 20-13 overall and 5-7 in league play. Alabama hits the road again this weekend (April 13-15) to take on No. 22 Texas A&M.
Auburn Week 4 Review
Auburn’s slump continued over the weekend, as the Tigers were swept by No. 8 Arkansas on the road. The Tigers lost the opening game, 2-1, despite ace pit-cher Casey Mize striking out seven in seven innings. Arkansas dominated the second game, 13-2, as the Razorbacks shut down Auburn’s bats for the second straight game. The Hogs had already clinched the series entering the finale. The Tigers had their best game at the plate in the third game and were tied 4-4 in the bottom of the ninth inning. However, Ar-kansas freshman Heston Kjerstad knocked through a walk-off base hit to give the Razorbacks a 5-4 win and a series sweep. Auburn dropped to 23-10 overall and 4-8 in conference play. The Tigers host Mississippi State this weekend.
SEC baseball rankings
1. Florida (28-6, 9-3)
2. Arkansas (24-9, 8-4)
3. Ole Miss (27-6, 7-5)
4. LSU (20-13, 6-6)
5. Georgia (23-9, 8-4)
6. Missouri (23-9, 6-6)
7. Kentucky (22-10, 5-7)
8. Vanderbilt (19-13, 7-5)
9. Texas A&M (23-9, 5-7)
10. Auburn (23-10, 4-8)
11. Alabama (20-13, 5-7)
12. Tennessee (19-14, 5-7)
13. Mississippi State (17-16, 4-8)
14. South Carolina (18-14, 5-7)
Week 5 Previews and Predictions
Series of the Week: Ole Miss at Vanderbilt. The Rebels entered last weekend’s series against Mississippi State as the No. 3 team in the country and were the heavy favorites to win that series despite playing on the road. The Bulldogs had other plans, however, stealing a pair of games from their in-state rival. Ole Miss hits the road again for a challenging series against Vanderbilt. The Commodores just won a series over Georgia and are just two games behind Florida in the SEC East Division. Meanwhile, Ole Miss needs the series win to keep pace with Arkansas in the SEC West. Series Prediction: Vanderbilt 2, Ole Miss 1.
Kentucky at Georgia. There’s no shame in losing on the road at Vanderbilt, and the Bulldogs are still in good shape in the SEC East. Georgia is only one game behind Florida and has a chance to get back on track this weekend against Kentucky. The Wildcats won a home series over South Carolina to inch closer to .500 in the SEC and scored a combined 25 runs in the series. Series Prediction: Georgia 2, Kentucky 1.
Missouri at Florida. While the Gators didn’t pull off the sweep at Tenne-ssee, they still showed how dominant they can be in their wins over the Volunteers. The defending na-tional champions poured in 22 runs in the first game of the series and in the process proved they still possess the necessary firepower to make another championship run. Missouri is looking to get back on track after dropping two of three games at home against Alabama. Series Prediction: Florida 3, Missouri 0.
South Carolina at Arkansas. These two programs are trending in opposite directions, and the Razorbacks have an opportunity to sweep an-other SEC foe this weekend. Arkansas is playing like one of the best teams in the country and is getting it done on the mound and at the plate. On the other hand, South Carolina is near the bottom of the league, which is rare for that program. The Gamecocks won back-to-back national titles in 2010 and 2011 and were the runners-up in 2012. Unless they can turn things around this season, however, they are in jeopardy of missing the NCAA Tournament and perhaps even the SEC Tournament. Series Pre-diction: Arkansas 3, South Carolina 0.
Alabama at Texas A&M. Alabama is looking for its third straight series win over a ranked opponent this weekend in College Station, but the Aggies pose a difficult challenge for the Crimson Tide. Tex-as A&M just won two of three games at home against No. 20 LSU and looked like a team capable of making a postseason run. Alabama is playing great baseball, however, and a series win at Texas A&M would do wonders for the Tide’s hopes of making the NCAA Tournament. Series Prediction: Texas A&M 2, Alabama 1.
Tennessee at LSU. While Tennessee lost the series to Florida, the Volun-teers managed to steal the series finale, which was massive boost for the Vols’ postseason aspirations. It’s a difficult task to win a series in Baton Rouge, but if Tennessee can come away with at least one game, then the Vols can keep themselves in position to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005. LSU just lost a series at Texas A&M, but this is a favorable matchup for the Tigers at home. Series Prediction: LSU 3, Tennessee 0.
Mississippi State at Auburn. The Bulldogs remain in last place in the SEC, but their series win over Ole Miss gave the team some life heading into the last half of the conference schedule. Auburn is in desperate need of a series win and probably needs a sweep to keep up with the top tier of the SEC West. Series Prediction: Auburn 2, Mississippi State 1.

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