By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
Auburn Week 5 Review
The Tigers dropped two of three games in a road series at Texas A&M in a battle of ranked teams. Auburn lost the series opener, 4-0, as ace pitcher Tanner Burns lost his first start of the season. Burns only gave up five hits and three earned runs and struck out seven batters.
However, Aggie pitcher John Doxakis shut down the Auburn bats. The Tigers bounced back in the second game with a 7-0 win before losing, 4-1, in the series finale. A midweek loss to Georgia Tech gave the Tigers a 24-13 overall record and AU is 8-7 in conference play. Auburn hosts Ole Miss this weekend (Thursday, Apr. 18 – Saturday, Apr. 20) for a pivotal SEC West Division matchup.
Alabama Week 5 Review
Brad Bohannon is still in the process of rebuilding the Alabama baseball program, so it’s been a transition year for the Crimson Tide. They’ve improved since last year but are fighting for the last spot in the SEC Tournament field. Alabama was swept by Mississippi State over the weekend and fell to 24-14 overall and 4-11 in league play. The Tide hosts Vanderbilt this weekend, and UA needs to avoid a sweep to stay in contention for the postseason.
SEC baseball rankings
1. Mississippi State (32-6, 10-5)
2. Georgia (30-8, 10-5)
3. Vanderbilt (28-9, 9-6)
4. Texas A&M (27-11-1, 9-5-1)
5. Arkansas (27-10, 9-6)
6. LSU (24-14, 9-6)
7. Ole Miss (26-12, 9-6)
8. Auburn (24-13, 8-7)
9. Florida (25-14, 6-9)
10. Missouri (26-12-1, 7-7-1)
11. Tennessee (27-11, 6-9)
12. South Carolina (22-15, 4-11)
13. Kentucky (20-17, 4-11)
14. Alabama (24-14, 4-11)
Week 6 Previews and Predictions
Series of the Week: Mississippi State at Arkansas. The Razorbacks were very close to winning their first-ever NCAA title a season ago. The current group is not quite as dynamic as last year’s team but is a threat to make a deep postseason run. Mississippi State is national title contender and one of the best teams in all of college baseball. This series is a massive matchup between two of the best teams in the league, with the winner holding an advantage in terms of winning the SEC West. Series Prediction: Mississippi State 2, Arkansas 1.
Missouri at Georgia. Georgia’s emergence as a contender in the conference has been one of the most intriguing storylines in college baseball this year. Before last season, the Bulldogs had a six-year postseason drought. They now lead the SEC East and are one of the top teams in the country. Georgia leads Vanderbilt only by one game in the division, so the Bulldogs need at least two wins against the Tigers. Series Prediction: Georgia 2, Missouri 1.
Tennessee at Kentucky. Kentucky currently resides in the same position as Alabama. The Wildcats are 4-11 in the SEC and in a three-way tie for last place with the Tide and South Carolina. Two of those teams will be left out of the conference tournament, so it’s imperative for the Wildcats to turn things around right now. Tennessee is only two games out of last place, so the Volunteers need at least one win in Lexington this weekend. Series Prediction: Kentucky 2, Tennessee 1.
Ole Miss at Auburn. The Rebels and Tigers are in the middle of the pack in the SEC, which is not necessarily a bad thing considering how great the league is compared to other conferences. Either team can make a push toward the top of the standings after this weekend as they enter the second half of the conference schedule. Series Prediction: Auburn 2, Ole Miss 1.
Vanderbilt at Alabama. All Alabama has to do to move out of last place is beat one of the best programs in the country. Vanderbilt has been an excellent team under Tim Corbin and has made the College World Series three different times. The Commodores once again are among the best teams in the country and are headed to Tuscaloosa trailing Georgia by only one game in the SEC East. Series Prediction: Vanderbilt 2, Alabama 1.
Texas A&M at South Carolina. The Aggies played very well in their series against Auburn, and looked like a team capable of contending with anyone in the country. A&M hits the road this weekend to face a struggling South Car-olina team but the Gamecocks remain capable of winning this series. Series Prediction: Texas A&M 2, South Carolina 1.
Florida at LSU. For many years, these two programs have been the best in the SEC. While neither squad currently is at the top of the league standings, they still possess enough talent to beat anyone in the conference. Florida in particular has struggled more than normal and has the difficult task of playing in Baton Rouge this weekend. Series Prediction: LSU 2, Florida 1.