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W2W4: Softball Weekend Schedule, Week 5

It’s conference season! Conference season has begun!

SECSports.com

SCHEDULE

ALABAMA

FRIDAY

  • vs. Boston College (5 p.m. ET, SEC Network+/WatchESPN)
  • vs. Fordham (7 p.m. ET, SEC Network+/WatchESPN)

SATURDAY

  • vs. Boston College (2:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network+/WatchESPN)
  • vs. Fordham (5 p.m. ET, SEC Network+/WatchESPN)

SUNDAY

  • vs. Samford (2:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network+/WatchESPN)

ARKANSAS

SATURDAY

  • at Georgia (1 p.m. ET, SEC Network/WatchESPN)

SUNDAY

  • at Georgia (6 p.m. ET, ESPNU/WatchESPN)

MONDAY

  • at Georgia (7 p.m. ET, SEC Network/WatchESPN)

AUBURN

FRIDAY

  • at LSU (7 p.m. ET, SEC Network+/WatchESPN)

SATURDAY

  • at LSU (8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network/WatchESPN)

SUNDAY

  • at LSU (5 p.m. ET, ESPN2/WatchESPN)

MONDAY

  • at Southern Miss (3 p.m. ET)
  • at Southern Miss (5:30 p.m. ET)

FLORIDA

FRIDAY

  • vs. Kentucky (6 p.m. ET, SEC Network+/WatchESPN)

SATURDAY

  • vs. Kentucky (6 p.m. ET, SEC Network/WatchESPN)

SUNDAY

  • vs. Kentucky (Noon ET, SEC Network/WatchESPN)

GEORGIA

SATURDAY

  • vs. Arkansas (1 p.m. ET, SEC Network/WatchESPN)

SUNDAY

  • vs. Arkansas (6 p.m. ET, ESPNU/WatchESPN)

MONDAY

  • vs. Arkansas (7 p.m. ET, SEC Network/WatchESPN)

KENTUCKY

FRIDAY

  • at Florida (6 p.m. ET, SEC Network+/WatchESPN)

SATURDAY

  • at Florida (6 p.m. ET, SEC Network/WatchESPN)

SUNDAY

  • at Florida (Noon ET, SEC Network/WatchESPN)

LSU

FRIDAY

  • vs. Auburn (7 p.m. ET, SEC Network+/WatchESPN)

SATURDAY

  • vs. Auburn (8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network/WatchESPN)

SUNDAY

  • vs. Auburn (5 p.m. ET, ESPN2/WatchESPN)

OLE MISS

FRIDAY

  • at Texas A&M (7 p.m. ET, SEC Network+/WatchESPN)

SATURDAY

  • at Texas A&M (3:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network/WatchESPN)

SUNDAY

  • at Texas A&M (2:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network/WatchESPN)

MISSISSIPPI STATE

FRIDAY

  • vs. Illinois (5 p.m. ET)
  • vs. Illinois (7 p.m. ET)

SATURDAY

  • vs. UMass Lowell (Noon ET, SEC Network+/WatchESPN)

SUNDAY

  • vs. UMass Lowell (2:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network+/WatchESPN)

MISSOURI

FRIDAY

  • at Tennessee (5 p.m. ET, SEC Network+/WatchESPN)

SATURDAY

  • at Tennessee (2 p.m. ET, SEC Network+/WatchESPN)

SUNDAY

  • at Tennessee (1:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network+/WatchESPN)

SOUTH CAROLINA

SATURDAY

  • vs. Illinois State (3:30 p.m. ET)
  • at Oklahoma (6 p.m. ET)

SUNDAY

  • at Indiana (Noon ET)
  • at Oklahoma (2:30 p.m. ET)

TENNESSEE

FRIDAY

  • vs. Missouri (5 p.m. ET, SEC Network+/WatchESPN)

SATURDAY

  • vs. Missouri (2 p.m. ET, SEC Network+/WatchESPN)

SUNDAY

  • vs. Missouri (1:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network+/WatchESPN)

TEXAS A&M

FRIDAY

  • vs. Ole Miss (7 p.m. ET, SEC Network+/WatchESPN)

SATURDAY

  • vs. Ole Miss (3:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network/WatchESPN)

SUNDAY

  • vs. Ole Miss (2:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network/WatchESPN)

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

Conference play will be kicking off this week in softball! Several teams in the SEC will be going head-to-head, which is fun because it will involve a LOT of quality ball clubs playing against one another.

We’ll see two Top 10 teams face each other in the form of LSU and Auburn. The Fighting Tigers host their rival Tigers over in Baton Rouge for a weekend series. Auburn is out to a fast 23-2 start to the year, while LSU isn’t too far behind them. The Fighting Tigers have posted a record of 19-2 in their first 21 games.

Auburn has one of the best offenses in the league, having posted the third-best batting average (.335) and they have also scored the second-most runs (167). LSU, meanwhile, has struggled at the plate. The Tigers have only scored 104 runs and have the third-worst team batting average in the SEC (.282).

They have primarily gotten by with their pitching. LSU’s staff has a 1.09 ERA in their first 21 games with only 22 earned runs tagged to them. However, Auburn has done even better. They have only allowed 18 earned runs in 161 innings, good for an ERA of 0.78. It’s fair to say that Auburn has the potential to steal this series, given that they have performed better this season. Games, of course, are not played on paper, though.

Meanwhile, 2nd-ranked Florida will face 22nd-ranked Kentucky and 7th-ranked Texas A&M will battle 18th-ranked Ole Miss in the other Top 25 matchups. Kentucky may prove to be a big test for Florida’s nearly unhittable pitching. The Wildcats have the second-best batting average in the conference (.353) and have scored 123 runs this season. They have hit 19 homers and 20 doubles, so they are certainly a threat to hit for XBH.

The problem is, though, that Florida hasn’t omitted many XBH this season. They have only let up 11 in 416 at-bats. Their BAA is merely .127 and their team ERA of 0.57 leads the SEC. Texas A&M and Ole Miss, meanwhile, have mostly meddled in the middle of the pack so far. We’ll see what they can do.

Mizzou will be facing 4th-ranked Tennessee to start off conference play. Missouri and Tennessee’s offenses have been pretty comparable, although the Vols may want to be careful. Mizzou has hit the long ball pretty well to start the year. Their mark of 28 homers is second-best in the SEC behind Georgia, who has 30. Mizzou’s SLG of .527 ranks near the top of the conference, so the Vols will have to hope they keep them off the bases. The problem? Vols pitchers have given up a league-high 10 home runs already this season.

Speaking of aforementioned Georgia, the Bulldogs host Arkansas for a 3-game series starting on Saturday. The 19-1 Dawgs have been one of the most impressive teams in the SEC this year. They boast the best team BA in the league (.403, a full .050 points better than Kentucky’s .353 mark) and also a team ERA of 0.66. That mark ranks second behind Florida, so they’re in really good company.

Georgia also has the most home runs as a team in the SEC with 30, and the most runs scored with 168. Their SLG and OBP of .664 and .469 also lead the conference. The main message here is: Their offense is really freaking good. So is their pitching, too. Arkansas will have to hope their pitching plays up to par, as they have a team ERA of 1.48 through their first 18 games.

There will still be some nonconference action going on this weekend. This includes a Top 25 matchup between the Oklahoma Sooners and South Carolina Gamecocks. OU and South Carolina will face off in Norman on Saturday and on Sunday. It represents a big chance for the Gamecocks to get a Top 10 win, as OU currently ranks 6th in the country. The Gamecocks are 19-1 at this point of the year and have won their last 16 games. They will also play Illinois State on Saturday and Indiana on Sunday.

Also, Alabama will play Boston College, Fordham and Samford this weekend. Mississippi State, meanwhile, will play UMass Lowell and Illinois.