FIRST: Rocky Top Thud
The talk around Tennessee coming into the preseason was that 2015 had the potential to be a breakthrough year for Dave Serrano and the Volunteers -- perhaps a long-elusive trip to the was in the offing. That would mark the first time in a decade that Tennessee made the playoffs. After all, the Vols were 31-23 last season and had 19 of 28 lettermen returning; they squeaked into the D1Baseball.com preseason Top 25. And this could still be the year for Tennessee, but the Vols are going to have to do better than they did on opening weekend, dropping two of three to FIU. Tennessee actually outscored the Panthers on the weekend, 12-9, but nine of those runs came in the second game of the series, which happened to feature a jaw-dropping seven errors by FIU. Just three of Tennessee's runs this weekend were earned. In case you were wondering, the Vols are no longer ranked in the D1Baseball.com Top 25.
SECOND: South Carolina's OK Start
The Gamecocks probably wanted to get off to a slightly better start to the college baseball season than they did, though there's nothing to be ashamed of in a series win against College of Charleston. But Friday night starter Jack Wynkoop got knocked around a bit in his first outing of the year, giving up eight hits and a walk in five innings while striking out just two. His offense didn't help, collecting just four hits while stranding seven runners (many of them getting on via walks and errors) in the 6-3 loss. But South Carolina bounced back to outscore the Cougars 15-4 in the final two games while getting a solid outing in the first game of a Saturday doubleheader from Wil Crowe, who struck 10 while walking three and giving up four hits in 6.2 innings. If Wynkoop's start turned out to be a blip and the offense continues to crank out the runs like they did in the final two games, South Carolina might just earn some of its loftier preseason rankings.
THIRD: LSU Holds Off Kansas
The Tigers swept the Jayhawks this weekend, but it wasn't always easy to get there. Jared Poche' was solid in his Friday start, striking out five while walking one and allowing just two hits in 6.0 innings. Things got rockier after that. Despite a seven-run fifth inning on Saturday, LSU ended up with an 8-5 win after Kansas rallied for five runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. The Tigers didn't take the lead on Sunday until the bottom of the sixth, and trailed 3-1 at one point. Still, it was a sweep over a Power 5 team, something that no one else in the SEC can lay claim to after Week 1.
HOME: The Rest of the Weekend
Tennessee was the only SEC team to lose its series this weekend, and eight conference teams besides LSU swept (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Missouri, Texas A&M). Vanderbilt dropped half of a Saturday doubleheader to Santa Clara -- both games were decided by one run -- to win the series 2-1. That might not be the most auspicious beginning for a national title defense, but these things happen in college baseball. Ole Miss and William & Mary took turns destroying each other over the weekend, with the Rebels winning the opener 9-4, losing the second game 8-1, and then pounding the Tribe by a 16-2 score in the second half of a Saturday doubleheader. (A lot of weather-related doubleheaders this weekend.) Auburn lost the middle game of a series against Binghamton, 11-5, but won the other two.
There are only three sets of rankings that are out as of this writing -- and the points of agreement are that Vanderbilt, LSU and Florida are very good. After that, the rankings scatter.
|Baseball America||Collegiate Baseball||D1Baseball.com|
Be aware: Inclement weather could wreck parts of this schedule. And it's a shame that the Georgia-Kennesaw State game isn't going to be on television or streamed; it could be sneaky good.
|DAY||TIME||GAME||TV / WEB|
|Tuesday||5 p.m. ET||Arkansas State at Ole Miss||SEC NETWORK+|
|5 p.m. ET||Mississippi Valley State at Mississippi State|
|5 p.m. ET||Furman at South Carolina||SEC NETWORK+|
|5 p.m. ET||Georgia at Kennesaw State|
|7 p.m. ET||Florida A&M at Florida||SEC NETWORK+|
|7:30 p.m. ET||Auburn at South Alabama|
|7:35 p.m. ET||Stephen F. Austin at Texas A&M||SEC NETWORK+|
|Wednesday||4 p.m. ET||Alabama State at Auburn|
|4 p.m. ET||Tennessee Tech at Tennessee||SEC NETWORK+|
|5 p.m. ET||Vanderbilt at Belmont|
|6:30 p.m. ET||Florida at South Florida|
|7:30 p.m. ET||Nicholls State at LSU||SEC NETWORK+|
|Thursday||7 p.m. ET||Missouri at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi|
|9 p.m. ET||Kentucky at Southern California|