Around the Bases // LSU Goes Down

Aroundthebases_medium

One thing about baseball, at almost any level, is that you don't go undefeated. You don't even win every series.

But there are some series, at least in college baseball, that you must win. There are certain teams that any contender should be able to beat twice in a weekend. One of those teams faced a contender this weekend. It did not turn out well for the contender.

TENNESSEE AT LSU

Series Tennessee, 2-1 Runs: 19-27
Friday LSU 18 Tennessee 3
Saturday Tennessee 7 LSU 5
Sunday Tennessee 9 LSU 4

This might come off as a bit blunt, but formerly No. 1 LSU showed exactly how a better team loses to an inferior opponent. You commit five errors, as the Bengals did Saturday. Though, as And The Valley Shook notes, you could just as easily say that "Everything Went Wrong" for LSU in the second game. You strike out 10 times while giving up six runs in the first three innings Sunday. How bad was this for LSU? Well, it's the first time Tennessee has won a series away from Knoxville in two years and the first lost SEC series in a year for the Bengals. And LSU has lost three of its last four games, all played against underdogs, at the worst time of the season to start collapsing. It's hard to see this meaning much for the Vols; they've dug such a deep hole that they probably aren't going to Hoover no matter what they do now. But it's fun to ruin a few seasons along the way.

THIS WEEK FOR TENNESSEE: vs. East Tennessee State (Tuesday), vs. Arkansas (Weekend)
THIS WEEK FOR LSU: vs. Southeast Louisiana (Tuesday), vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (Wednesday), vs. Auburn (Weekend)

ARKANSAS AT GEORGIA

Series Georgia, 2-1 Runs: 8-8
Friday Georgia 4 Arkansas 3
Saturday Georgia 4 Arkansas 3
Sunday Arkansas 2 Georgia 0

So, you're Arkansas for a moment. In the bottom of the ninth in the first game of this series, with the score tied 3-3, Georgia's Matt Cerione gets a walk-off hit to win the game. On Saturday, the game is again tied at 3-3 in the bottom of the ninth, with the winning run on base. Matt Cerione comes to the plate. Can you say "intentional walk"? Apparently not, and anyone who knows what happens when you tempt fate in baseball knows what happened next. A Sunday pitching duel couldn't knock the Dawgs out of the conference lead, 1.5 games ahead Arkansas. Georgia also leads Florida by three in the SEC East. Arkansas, meanwhile, stays on top in the West by half a game.

THIS WEEK FOR ARKANSAS: at Oral Roberts (Tuesday), at Tennessee (Weekend)
THIS WEEK FOR GEORGIA: vs. Kennesaw (Tuesday), at Jacksonville (Wednesday), at Ole Miss (Weekend)

OLE MISS AT FLORIDA

Series Ole Miss, 2-1 Runs: 15-13
Friday Ole Miss 6 Florida 2
Saturday Florida 8 Ole Miss 4
Sunday (8 inn) Ole Miss 5 Florida 3

In the other major series of the weekend, Ole Miss relied on pitching, including a four-hitter from Drew Pomeranz on Friday, to win two games. Nothing could have saved the Rebels' defense from itself in Saturday's error-riddled debacle, in which Florida plated five unearned runs. By the end of the third inning. Sunday was an eight-inning game in which Scott Bittle "struggled" -- if, by struggling, you mean giving up three runs in six innings. The series win puts Ole Miss back into the thick of the SEC West race, tied with LSU and half a game behind Arkansas. Florida, meanwhile, falls into a tie with Alabama for the fifth seed in Hoover; both hold just a one-game lead over South Carolina and a 3.5-game lead on Vanderbilt -- who, at this point, would be the team just missing the tournament. The middle has gotten very murky all of a sudden.

THIS WEEK FOR OLE MISS: vs. Arkansas-Little Rock (Tuesday), at Southern Miss (Wednesday), vs. Georgia (Weekend)
THIS WEEK FOR FLORIDA: at Florida Gulf Coast (Tuesday), vs. USF (Wednesday), vs. South Carolina (Weekend)

AUBURN AT SOUTH CAROLINA

Series South Carolina, 2-1 Runs: 22-13
Friday South Carolina 8 Auburn 3
Saturday Auburn 6 South Carolina 4
Sunday South Carolina 10 Auburn 4

Speaking of the middle of the conference -- South Carolina (9-9) finally got itself to .500 in the SEC this weekend, beating Auburn with solid pitching in Games 1 and 3, including a complete game six-hitter from Sam Dyson on Friday. The Gamecocks need at least some pitching down the stretch if they're going to get to Hoover and maybe into the College World Series. Auburn, meanwhile, is starting to slip; the Tigers have lost their last two SEC series and gone 6-9 in their last 15 league games. By now, Auburn should be used to losing to South Carolina. But with LSU, Ole Miss and always dangerous Alabama left on the schedule, in addition to usually punchless Kentucky, the Tigers' Hoover hopes are fading fast.

THIS WEEK FOR AUBURN: vs. Samford (Tuesday), at LSU (Weekend)
THIS WEEK FOR SOUTH CAROLINA: at USC-Upstate (Tuesday), vs. Clemson (Wednesday), at Florida (Weekend)

ALABAMA AT VANDERBILT

Series Alabama, 3-0 Runs: 24-13
Friday Alabama 10 Vanderbilt 4
Saturday (DH) Alabama 7 Vanderbilt 3
Alabama 7 Vanderbilt 6

Alabama fans finally got to watch the other side of a late-inning collapse, not once but twice. This is what makes the Tide dangerous: If the bullpen can hold on, the offense will give Alabama a chance to win the game. Against Vanderbilt, it held on well enough for a sweep, and the Tide finds itself in a much more comfortable situation in the standings while Vandy now has to sweat it out.

THIS WEEK FOR ALABAMA: at South Alabama (Wednesday), vs. Kentucky (Weekend)
THIS WEEK FOR VANDERBILT: at Austin Peay (Tuesday), at Louisville (Wednesday), vs. Mississippi State (Weekend)

KENTUCKY AT MISSISSIPPI STATE

Series Kentucky, 2-1 Runs: 30-25
Friday (11) Kentucky 5 Mississippi State 4
Saturday (10) Mississippi 4 Kentucky 3
Sunday Kentucky 22 Mississippi State 17

It's too bad both of these teams are awful, or this would have been a classic. Two one-run, extra-inning games; a walk-off home run; and 55 runs, including 39 in the finale. And another great quote from Mississippi State coach John Cohen, this one in the wake of Friday's loss: "It's disappointing. It's not  new, but it's disappointing." But there's nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

THIS WEEK FOR KENTUCKY: vs. Lipscomb (Tuesday), vs. Evansville (Wednesday), at Alabama (Weekend)
THIS WEEK FOR MISSISSIPPI STATE: vs. Middle Tennessee State (Tuesday-Wednesday), at Vanderbilt (Weekend)

THE POLLS

Baseball America Collegiate Baseball USA Today/ESPN
Georgia

8

5

1

LSU

6

9

8

Arkansas

12

7

9

Ole Miss

11

13

15

Florida

--

22

23

Alabama

--

21

--

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