Both divisions get a new second-place team this weekend, with Ole Miss and Vanderbilt both losing two of three. And -- hey! -- Tennessee finally won a game. Two, in fact!
|SEC EAST||SEC WEST|
|SEC W-L||Overall W-L||SEC W-L||Overall W-L|
After taking another step in this direction over the weekend, the SEC East is officially a three-team race. A five-game hole is difficult to overcome even in this early in the season, particularly if you've played the way Kentucky, Georgia and Tennessee have in the league so far. In the West, even Alabama still harbors some hopes.
|Alabama defeats Auburn, 2-1|
|Friday||Alabama 10||Auburn 5|
|Saturday||Alabama 6||Auburn 5|
|Sunday||Auburn 7||Alabama 1|
This series gets top billing not because of its rivalry nature, but because it's hard to see how they had anyone left to play Sunday. Alabama reliever David Head was ejected Saturday and suspended for four games, while head coach Mitch Gaspard was thrown out and kept out of Sunday's game. John Pawlowski and starter Grant Dayton of Auburn followed suit Sunday. Some are complaining about the rule that requires a one-game suspension for the head coaches when only the umpires believe the pitches were intentional -- and your humble correspondent can't really argue as someone who has no problem with non-head beanballs that cause no injury even if they are intentional -- but it's hard to see how umpires are supposed to divine a pitcher's meaning.
|Florida defeats Vanderbilt, 2-1|
|Friday||Florida 3||Vanderbilt 2|
|Saturday||Florida 7||Vanderbilt 3|
|Sunday||Vanderbilt 7||Florida 0|
First, the note: Vanderbilt pitcher Corey Williams is out for the year after a ball split his kneecap in two. [WARNING: You might not want to click the link if you get queasy easily.] That's not the most interesting part of the play, which is instead: He threw the batter out anyway. And his teammates still couldn't win the game. It was not a good weekend for the Florida bullpen, which allowed seven of Vanderbilt's 12 runs. But when you win the series, it's fine to pick a few nits afterward.
|LSU defeats Georgia, 2-1|
|Friday||LSU 4||Georgia 3|
|Saturday||Georgia 12||LSU 6|
|Sunday||LSU 15||Georgia 5|
LSU's only loss in this series came after Skip Bertman's number was retired Saturday. Great way to respect your tradition there. In any case, other than its lack of historical awareness on Saturday, LSU continues to win in the SEC and make it more difficult for the rest of the division to catch up. Saturday's game was also a reminder that LSU's pitching situation still has some problems. That said, if you win two out of every three games (and sweep teams like Tennessee), you've got to like your chances at the end of the year. Meanwhile, I saw something Saturday in the broadcast of this game I don't believe I've ever seen before: A balk on an intentional walk by Georgia. Not that it should surprise anyone who's been paying attention; we already knew that it would be a loooooong season in Athens.
|Arkansas defeats Kentucky, 2-1|
|Friday||Kentucky 12||Arkansas 8|
|Saturday||Arkansas 10||Kentucky 1|
|Sunday||Arkansas 17||Kentucky 16|
Good news for Arkansas fans: Your team won a bizarre game Sunday with a walk-off grand slam. Bad news: It was the second time in the series they gave up a season-high in runs. Three Arkansas pitchers, including two starters, gave up seven or more runs in a single appearance this weekend. Bat Cats, indeed. Not that the Kentucky pitching staff, which gave up 35 runs in the course of three games, really has anything to boast about. The wind was blowing out?
|Tennessee defeats Ole Miss, 2-1|
|Friday||Ole Miss 7||Tennessee 3|
|Saturday||Tennessee 5||Ole Miss 2|
|Sunday||Tennessee 10||Ole Miss 6|
TENNESSEE WON A GAME! AND A SERIES! Of course, Drew Pomeranz won his Friday start, but it was downhill from there for the Rebels, who lost their first league series of the season. It's hard to say whether this series will have any long-term impact on either team, or whether Ole Miss just had a bad weekend at the same time Tennessee had a good one. But there's hope in Knoxville for something. Not a trip to Omaha or likely even Hoover, but something.
|South Carolina defeats Mississippi State, 2-1|
|Friday||South Carolina 10||Mississippi State 2|
|Saturday||Mississippi State 8||South Carolina 7|
|Sunday||South Carolina 14||Mississippi State 2|
One thing you can say about John Cohen: He does not lack a quick hook. Kendall Graveman faced five batters, allowed three walks and two hits, and was pulled before even recording an inning Friday. The same was true of reliever Greg Houston, who threw three pitches before being replaced Sunday. In fairness, the pitches were a beanball, a two-run double and a wild pitch, all resulting in four runs for South Carolina, part of a bizarre weekend in which the Gamecocks scored five runs on one hit. Just another weekend for the Western Division Bulldogs.