1. Gene Cone is pretty, pretty good
South Carolina's junior outfielder was named the SEC Player of the Week and it was hard to argue anyone else more deserving of the recognition. Cone dominated at the plate in the Gamecocks' sweep of the lowly Missouri Tigers, aiding them in their tremendous effort in which South Carolina outscored Mizzou 22-8 in the three-game series. He walked into the series with a 24-game hitting streak and once the series was over, that streak was pushed up to a hearty 27, making for the longest such streak in Division 1 per the release by the conference.
Cone batted 10-for-12 in the series vs. the Tigers, plating six runs and scoring seven himself with an impeccable 5-for-5 day at the plate on Sunday. He continues to be the best hitter for the Gamecocks this season with his average now standing at .377, .023 points higher than LHP/1st baseman Alex Destino's. His slash line of .377/.475/.523 is a dandy to look at and at this rate, Cone doesn't appear to be slowing down any time soon.
2. Vandy shot themselves in the foot
In the battle of Tennessee, it was the Volunteers who played spoilers to the juggernauts of the west of Knoxville. The Vols took a surprising series victory over the then No. 4-ranked Commodores with victories on Saturday and Sunday in The Marble City, edging them out 2-1 on Saturday and 5-3 on Sunday. The win on Saturday came thanks to the bat of Benito Santiago - not that Benito Santiago, but his son instead. Yes, you're all old - who scored on the always exciting inside-the-park home run to give the Vols enough insurance to put them into the win column. Santiago also aided the team on Sunday with a 2-for-4 day at the plate but Tyler Schultz bested him by going 2-for-3.
Needless to say, the Commodores, who now stand 10-8 and four games out of first place in the SEC East, were not aided at all by the series loss this past weekend. While their pitching is a strength it doesn't get any easier for them to make up ground when they still have to travel to Texas A&M and Florida next month. With victories possibly left on the table this past weekend, Vandy may look back on this past weekend with a soured perspective when all is done and dusted.
3. Texas A&M's home dominance continues on
While the Alabama Crimson Tide were able to take a game from the Aggies, A&M still remains nearly perfect at home after this past weekend's action in College Station. The Aggies took two from the visiting Crimson Tide to push their home record to 24-2 which now stands behind South Carolina's obscene mark of 25-1. They still find themselves in second place in that department with Florida and Vanderbilt giving them chase, but it is by far the best mark in the SEC West with second-place Ole Miss looking at a 20-5 record in Oxford. Much of the Aggies' success this season is due in large to this home record - they're just 8-6 on the road - so they have to keep that going as the season marches on if they want to be in good position for the College World Series.
4. Mississippi State made serious movement in the West
With the Bulldogs' series victory over the LSU Tigers they now find themselves within striking distance of the top spot in the SEC West. A 10-8 record not only puts them in a three-way tie with Ole Miss and aforementioned LSU, it also puts them just two games back of the Texas A&M Aggies for first place in the division. To their benefit, Mississippi State plays Ole Miss on Tuesday and will then play SEC foes Alabama, Mizzou, Auburn and Arkansas to close out the year, with the three latter teams all standing with records below .500 in conference. Don't count out the Bulldogs from making a big run as the season comes to an end within the next month.
5. South Carolina and Florida will battle for first place this weekend
Only a game separates these two East Division rivals and we're not sure they would have it any other way. The much-anticipated collision between the Gamecocks and Gators comes this weekend in Columbia and should prove to be as good as advertised when the two teams take the field for their three-game set. Will either be able to distance themselves from the other, or will the razor-thin difference continue? We're not sure, but get ready, cause this one's gonna be good.