Around the Bases // LSU in the Driver's Seat

Aroundthebases_medium
Go ahead, tell me you saw Georgia losing it series against Vanderbilt and Ole Miss losing its set to Mississippi State. And I will call you a liar to your face. A topsy-turvy next-to-last weekend for the SEC.

FLORIDA AT LSU

Series LSU, 2-1 Runs: 17-10
Friday LSU 10 Florida 1
Saturday LSU 4 Florida 0
Sunday Florida 9 LSU 3

Something in you wants to say this series was incredibly important. It was, after all, a meeting of the top two teams in the league. But it makes little difference in the standings on either side. Georgia lost two, so it remains two games behind the Florida and a long-shot to overtake the Gators. LSU, meanwhile, picked up a slender lead in both the Western division and conference standings -- just backing up your humble correspondent's opinion that the Bengals are the favorites to win the SEC crown.

THIS WEEK FOR FLORIDA: vs. Jacksonvile (Tuesday); vs. Kentucky (Thursday-Saturday)
THIS WEEK FOR LSU: vs. Centenary (Tuesday); at Mississippi State (Thursday-Saturday)

MISSISSIPPI STATE AT OLE MISS

Series Mississippi State, 2-1 Runs: 18-21
Friday Mississippi State 6 Ole Miss 5
Saturday Mississippi State 11 Ole Miss 8
Sunday Ole Miss 8 Mississippi State 1

Um ... what? This was, without question, the most jaw-dropping surprise of the weekend. That warms up Mike Bianco's seat a bit, naturally, and probably should. Unless you want to take the university press office's tack and blame the weather. The Rebels still have the problem of Scott Bittle being no more than a reliever this weekend. That could be positive in a way -- he could pitch in two or three games instead of one. But it means Ole Miss needs Phillip Irwin to pitch like Scott Bittle again. As for Mississippi State -- hey, LSU's on the schedule next weekend. Why not?

THIS WEEK FOR MISSISSIPPI STATE: at Memphis, AutoZone Park (Tuesday); vs. LSU (Thursday-Saturday)
THIS WEEK FOR OLE MISS: at Arkansas (Thursday-Saturday)

ARKANSAS AT ALABAMA

Series Alabama, 3-0 Runs: 16-12
Friday Alabama 2 Arkansas 1
Saturday Alabama 8 Arkansas 6
Sunday Alabama 6 Arkansas 5

The sweep by Alabama continues a dismal end to the season for the Hogs, who once had visions of "Fayetteville Regional" dancing in their heads. Those aren't entirely gone, but the SEC title and any hopes of a national seeding have both left the list of possibilities for Arkansas. Alabama, meanwhile, positioned themselves as the team with the best chance of taking down LSU for the conference and Western division title. Playing Auburn would be a favorable way to do it -- if the team from Starkville wasn't on LSU's slate.

THIS WEEK FOR ARKANSAS: vs. Oral Roberts (Tuesday); vs. Ole Miss (Thursday-Saturday)
THIS WEEK FOR ALABAMA: vs. Jacksonville State (Tuesday); at Auburn (Thursday-Saturday)

VANDERBILT AT GEORGIA

Series Vanderbilt, 2-1 Runs: 22-8
Friday Vanderbilt 10 Georgia 2
Saturday Vanderbilt 9 Georgia 2
Sunday Georgia 4 Vanderbilt 3

Speaking of teams that keep falling. Continuing the hand-wringing from Athens, Westerdawg asks: "How did we ever win 33?" Well, 34 now, given the Dawgs' salvaging of the capping game of this series, but the questions about Georgia still linger. If this is the team that shows up in Hoover and in the NCAAs, it's hard to see a return to Omaha, much less to the finals. The Dawgs haven't won two in a row since April 17-18 (against Arkansas, coincidentally enough) and have lost 10 of their last 13. Now the Dawgs turn to South Carolina, where they'll play next weekend in a deciding series in terms of seeding. Vanderbilt's two wins kept the Commodores 1.5 games ahead of Kentucky. The Dores face Tennessee; Kentucky takes on Florida. You do the math.

THIS WEEK FOR VANDERBILT: vs. Tennessee (Thursday-Saturday)
THIS WEEK FOR GEORGIA: vs. Georgia Tech, Turner Field (Tuesday); at South Carolina (Thursday-Saturday)

SOUTH CAROLINA AT TENNESSEE

Series South Carolina, 2-1 Runs: 35-27
Friday Tennessee 9 South Carolina 5
Saturday South Carolina 15 Tennessee 12
Sunday South Carolina 15 Tennessee 6

South Carolina would have liked a sweep here, if for no other reason that it would have put the Gamecocks in a tie with the Dawgs heading into their showdown. But the difference is really no difference at all -- either way, South Carolina needs to win the series this weekend against Georgia to take the No. 5 seed and have a slim chance at better. It depends, of course, on the identities of the teams that show up. After a sluggish start, the Gamecocks have now won four of their last five series. The Vols are on pace to be the worst team in the league this year.

THIS WEEK FOR SOUTH CAROLINA: vs. USC-Upstate, DH (Tuesday); vs. Georgia (Thursday-Saturday)
THIS WEEK FOR TENNESSEE: at Middle Tennessee (Tuesday); at Vanderbilt (Thursday-Saturday) 

AUBURN AT KENTUCKY

Series Kentucky, 2-1 Runs: 17-15
Saturday (DH) (10 inn) Kentucky 6 Auburn 5
Kentucky 6 Auburn 3
Sunday Auburn 7 Kentucky 5

You want to feel sorry for Kentucky, seeing as how they lost only one game this weekend and gained no ground in the race for Hoover? Don't. They walked 11 batters and hit another in that loss to Auburn. At least three of those free passes ended up crossing the plate. All that's left for Auburn is to mess up Alabama's chance at the SEC title -- not that they'd want to do that at all.

THIS WEEK FOR AUBURN: vs. Georgia Southern (Tuesday); vs. Alabama (Thursday-Saturday)
THIS WEEK FOR KENTUCKY: vs. Morehead State (Tuesday); at Florida (Thursday-Saturday)

THE POLLS

Baseball America Collegiate Baseball USA Today/ESPN
LSU

2

2

3

Ole Miss

9

13

11

Alabama

12

10

19

Florida

13

11

12

Georgia

--

15

15

Arkansas

--

16

17

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