Week in Review
The SEC baseball season is drawing closer to its epic conclusion and this past week saw some great action across the conference that was heavy on implications.
Sweet Victory for Auburn
The biggest series of the week was between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Auburn Tigers. The two teams had been quarreling at the top of the SEC West for much of the season and whoever won the series would have gathered some serious momentum as the stretch run approaches. By weekend’s end, it was Auburn who would earn the series win and pulled into a tie atop the SEC West standings with the Bulldogs.
The Tigers swept a doubleheader on Saturday to earn the series victory after dropping the first game on Friday, which put a damper on what was supposed to be a big weekend for State as they could have put Auburn in a big hole with only a few weeks remaining. Jonah Todd had none of that though as the SEC’s Player of the Week shined throughout the week in Auburn’s four games and was crucial in the deciding outcome. He picked up four hits and reached base eight times over the course of the doubleheader and was a monster throughout the week, hitting .571 in 14 at-bats.
Aggies paste Tigers
The next series was between Texas A&M and Missouri. It was a tale of two different teams as Texas A&M swept Missouri, and went 4-0 on the week to pull to within one game of the SEC West lead. The Aggies had the second-best run differential in the SEC on the week with a +24 mark. Braden Shewmake took home the SEC Rookie of the Week after a strong showing for the Aggies.
A&M will now play a huge series against Mississippi State this weekend, which can come down to deciding who gets first place in the SEC West. Missouri’s sweep by Texas A&M plus their loss to Missouri State made things worse as they only compiled five runs in their four games. The bad week got even worse, as Missouri had the worst run differential on the week of -25. The Tigers fell to 8-13 in the SEC, and fall to fifth in the SEC East. The opportunities for big wins will be scarce as they face unranked Tennessee, Vanderbilt and South Carolina the rest of the way, so Mizzou may have dug themselves into a big hole.
Kentucky churns up big series win vs. South Carolina
The high-powered Kentucky Wildcats had another big week, going 3-1 with 35 runs scored as they picked up a series win over South Carolina. The Wildcats are one of the hottest teams in the country, let alone the SEC, and they’re more than proving their worth on the diamond as the month of May begins. They currently hold a one-game edge over Florida in the SEC East (14-7 to 13-8) and all roads seem to be leading towards a titanic collision at the end of the season in Gainesville between the Wildcats and Gators assuming things stay the same the rest of the way.
For the Gamecocks however, their opportunities have largely thinned out like Missouri’s have. The series over Kentucky was their last big home series and they failed to come up big. They haven’t won an SEC series since late March when they took two of three from Alabama, as losses to Auburn, Vanderbilt, Mississippi State, the Gators and the Wildcats have put them in a serious bind. The offense crippled them this week as South Carolina could only muster up 10 runs in their three games played while allowing a ghastly 19 in the loss on Friday.
Florida cruises to sweep over Georgia
The highlight of the SEC baseball slate this week was Florida, who swept Georgia and went 3-0 on the week. The Gators improved to 30-13, 13-8 in the SEC and are within on game of Kentucky in the SEC East. JJ Schwarz tore the Bulldogs apart, hitting .454 in the series with three runs batted in, two runs scored and two stolen bases.
UF will face Florida A&M and Jacksonville before hosting Ole Miss in a three-game series over the weekend. Georgia went 1-3 on the week, picking up a win against Georgia Tech on Tuesday. The Bulldogs will go on the road to face No. 5 Kentucky this upcoming weekend.
LSU bounces back, sweeps Tide
LSU had a notable week themselves. Despite losing to Tulane earlier on in the week, the Tigers bounced back to sweep lowly Alabama. Greg Deichmann had a huge series against the Crimson Tide, hitting .417 with four RBI, a run scored, a home run, two stolen bases and three walks. They kept the Tide’s offense to a minimum, allowing just nine runs over the course of the series while picking up 19 of their own, good for a +10 differential. The sweep was crucial for LSU, who now sits in a tie with Arkansas and Texas A&M with a 13-8 SEC record, one game out of first in the West Division.
Arkansas falls to Ole Miss but remains in good position
Ole Miss and Arkansas played a very tightly contested three-game series over the weekend. The Rebels took two of the three games, pushing the Razorbacks to one game out of first place in the SEC West. Ole Miss went 2-2 on the week with a loss to No. 13 Mississippi State on Tuesday, and now sit at 27-17 overall and 11-10 in the SEC, good for fifth place in the SEC West.
James McArthur was terrific for the Rebels, throwing eight innings of one-hit ball against the Hogs, earning him SEC Pitcher of the Week honors. He now boasts an SEC-best .169 opponent batting average this season. Arkansas went 2-2 on the week and now have a 34-12 record overall and 13-8 record in the SEC, which is still good enough to keep them one game off the lead.
Vandy, Tennessee are ‘Even Steven’
Finally, Vanderbilt and Tennessee split their series which wound up just being two games instead of the usual three. At 6-14 in the SEC, Tennessee’s chances of making a push are likely finito, but the Commodores are still hanging around a bit. At 10-10, Vandy is just three games off the lead with three weeks to go. Even with how good UK has looked, don’t overlook or shut the door on the ‘Dores quite yet. They still have the opportunity to make some noise as the final month of the season has arrived.