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Around the Bases: Most of the SEC East is Red-Hot -- Except Vanderbilt


The highlights of the weekend that was in SEC baseball and what it means

WHOLE LOTTA SWEEPING GOING ON: There are four undefeated teams in the SEC East this year -- you know, the usual suspects. Georgia. South Carolina. Um, Kentucky. Tennessee? Yes, even the once woebegone Volunteers are 7-0 on the season so far, one win short of the school record to start a season and thus off to their best start in nearly a decade. There are a ton of caveats to attach to that, of course -- look at the schedule -- and a likely loss is looming on Saturday against Texas if nowhere else. But it's still a lot quicker turnaround than yours truly saw coming under Dave Serrano. All of those undefeated teams, coincidentally, gives the SEC (East) almost a third of the undefeated teams in college baseball right now. And like the Vols, South Carolina and Georgia have tough tests coming. The Gamecocks play Clemson this week. And March 9-11 brings UCLA to Athens for the Dawgs' toughest series of the season. Kentucky baseball, meanwhile, has adopted the scheduling strategy of its football team and could very well coast all the way to mid-March without a loss before facing South Carolina.

NO COUNTRY FOR YOUNG MEN: Remember when Vanderbilt was going to overcome having a young team because it was Vanderbilt, and the Commodores are usually pretty good. Yeah, forget all that. In two series against teams from the West Coast -- one at Stanford and one against Oregon in Nashville -- Vanderbilt is 0-6, managing only to get a win against Oakland to keep itself from being unwon so far this season. That is the Oakland located in Michigan, not the one in California. Oakland is not exactly known as a college baseball powerhouse. (Though, in fairness, the Oakland in California and the Oakland in Michigan sign roughly the same number of high-profile free agents each year.) Much of the blame belongs to the Dores, who had a league-leading 11 errors going into the weekend, then promptly tacked on five more. The 12 batsmen plunked by Vanderbilt pitching were double the closest competitor -- and the Commies hit five more this weekend. Advice: If you're facing a Vanderbilt pitcher, duck.

ROLLER COASTER TIDE: Maybe there's really that much of a difference between the pitching for Florida Atlantic and the pitching for Arkansas-Pine Bluff, but Alabama this weekend scored 30 runs -- outscoring last weekend's production against the Owls by 22. (No other team had fewer than 16 runs headed into the weekend.) It's just as striking if you look at the hits -- the Tide had 20 last weekend, with the most in any game being nine; Alabama clubbed 33 hits against APB, with nine being the fewest they put together in any one outing.

MIDWEEK GAMES: Some of the notable games happening on days of the week after Sunday and before Friday ... BYU comes to Fayetteville on Tuesday to play Arkansas, one of the early leaders in the SEC West; it's the first of a two-game set ... Tennessee goes for that eighth win against Middle Tennessee the same day ... Alabama tries to figure out which offense it is as it takes on Southern Miss this Wednesday ... Vanderbilt has an opportunity to get its second win of the year when Louisiana Tech comes for a visit Wednesday ...