South Carolina has the edge in the east
Although the third matchup couldn't be finished, the collision between South Carolina and Florida lived up to the hype. The Gamecocks and Gators played two well-played games and by the end, it was the Gamecocks who stood atop the SEC East. After losing 5-4 on Friday night to No. 1 Florida, South Carolina bounced back with a 2-1 victory on Saturday. Braden Webb, the SEC Freshman of the Week, spun a terrific performance going 7.1 innings, striking out seven and allowed just one earned run. The runs driven in by LT Tolbert and the hot-hitting Gene Cone, who smacked a home run, were all they needed in a tight matchup. As the season has reached its final month, the margin for error remains thin. For now though, South Carolina can celebrate being at the top of the division.
Tennessee got tripped up and lost a series to Mizzou
Two dwellers in the East meanwhile had a series of their own and unlike South Carolina and Florida's, one team confidently ran away with it. The Missouri Tigers messed around and swept the Tennessee Volunteers in their weekend series in Columbia. They outscored the Vols 17-12 thanks in large part to an 8-3 rout on Sunday afternoon at Taylor Stadium. The Tigers improved to 24-21 and in doing so propped themselves up to fourth place in the division. As you well know, the bottom two teams in the conference don't get to partake in the SEC Tournament so this was huge for the Tigers and, consequently, very bad for the Volunteers who will now look to scrape themselves out of the basement as the end of the season draws closer. If they're unable to, they may look back at this weekend with great lament.
Texas A&M took a pivotal series from Arkansas
It was imperative that the Aggies won as much as they could heading into a brutal month of May with matchups looming against Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Ole Miss, all three being Top 10 teams in the nation and forces in the conference. That's exactly what A&M did in their road series vs. Arkansas. Despite losing the first course of a doubleheader on Saturday afternoon the Ags bounced back with an 11-8 win on Saturday and tallied a 6-2 win against the Hogs on Sunday. To their benefit, two of their final three series are at home but they could not have looked stronger heading into the final month of action.
Ole Miss makes a significant push
The Aggies may be at the summit of the SEC West but breathing down their necks now are the Ole Miss Rebels who moved to within two games of the division lead after taking two from the LSU Tigers in Oxford. The Rebels were led by SEC Player of the Week J.B. Woodman who hit an even .500 with three homers and drove in eight during the series. The Rebels will only play one ranked team for the rest of the year - Texas A&M in the final series of the season - so this could play right in their wheelhouse if things break well for them. Be on the watch for Ole Miss down the stretch.
LSU is slipping at the wrong time
Feels like long ago that the LSU Tigers went 10-2 during a stretch from April 2-20. Since then, they've lost five of their last seven games and have lost two big series in a row to both Mississippi teams in consecutive weeks. The Tigers haven't struggled with the bat during this slip up but their pitching appears to be woeful as they've allowed three or more runs in six of their last seven. That needs to sharpen up significantly and to their benefit they'll only play one ranked team in the final month. The problem is that team is Florida, the number one team in the country. They will have plenty of time before that though as it's their final series of the year. With that said, the pressure's mounting in Baton Rouge.