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SEC Baseball weekend preview: April 20-23

NCAA.com

#16 Texas A&M at Tennessee

The Aggies are flying high coming into this one, having won seven in a row and they’re starting to come into form as the season winds down. The Ags are now 28-9, and Rob Childress is doing his thing once again, which is get the most out of his players. A&M might just be putting themselves in great position to host, but we’ll check back with that in a few weeks.

Tennessee, on the other hand, suffered a heartbreaking loss last Sunday at LSU, which would have avoided a sweep for them. Instead they come in with that loss in the back of their minds. Hey, at least the series is at home, right? Tony Vitello still has this thing going in the right direction, but it will take a while.

Prediction: Texas A&M

Auburn at Alabama

It’s time for one of the most heated rivalries in college sports to return... to the baseball diamond. The Tigers may have saved their season last week by taking two from Mississippi State. They were reeling in SEC play and got some wins to give them some confidence back. In football, these are two upper tier SEC programs. In basketball, both teams made the Round of 32. In baseball? These are two different programs. Butch Thompson has Auburn on the up, while Brad Bohannon is still trying to get his feet wet in Tuscaloosa.

Bohannon has shown his team’s potential a couple times this season, taking series’ from both Kentucky and Missouri. Throw the records out the window when these two teams play in any sport. The upset potential is high, but the Tigers have the superior talent here.

Prediction: Auburn

#19 LSU at South Carolina

Safe to say, this LSU team has been supremely disappointing. The talent is still there to make a big run if they make the postseason, which is still a heavy possibility. They rank 47th in the RPI, so it would be a good move to beat a down team like South Carolina. The Tigers swept Tennessee after erasing a five-run deficit with two outs in the ninth inning last week. They could not keep the momentum going, getting beat at Tulane on Tuesday.

Doesn’t it feel like there are more rebuilding teams in the SEC this season than normal? South Carolina of all teams. The perennial power years are gone, and they cannot find offense. That’s not a good recipe with this LSU rotation. The good news is it’s in Columbia, which is a tough environment for every team, regardless of who it is.

Prediction: LSU

#1 Florida at #6 Kentucky

Blink twice if you’ve heard this before: Florida is in the series of the week again. Although, this one started last night and the Gators ate the Wildcats up, winning by a score of 11-2. Don’t expect the next two games to be that lopsided.

Take last season for example, The Wildcats won the first game in Gainsville with ease before dropping the next two to lose the series. Both of these teams may have the most talent in college baseball together, and are very evenly matched. The defending champs have yet to lose a series in conference play this season, until now.

Prediction: Kentucky

#23 Georgia at #11 Ole Miss

Somehow, with everything that Georgia has done, they have yet to crack the Top 15. Dropping a series to Kentucky at home isn’t necessarily worthy of dropping five spots. That’s not what matters here. What matters is the Rebs are going to be in for a dogfight. Georgia rebounded well from losing a hotly contested series last week by beating Clemson again on Tuesday, sweeping the season series from the Tigers.

Ole Miss fans constantly wanting Mike Bianco fired is one of those weird life situations where somebody is stuck in a pickle and conflicted on what they want. He only has the Rebs at 30-8 with the #5 RPI. Not to mention series wins against Arkansas and Texas A&M, fellow ranked teams. He gets another series win over a ranked team this week.

Prediction: Ole Miss

#10 Vanderbilt at Missouri

Another series that started last night. Missouri took the opener 2-1. The Tigers could really use this series. With an RPI of 33, they’re in decent shape for a regional, but they really can’t afford any bad losses. Beating the #10 team in the nation would certainly give them a little more leeway coming into postseason play. Add in a series win at Auburn already, and Mizzou is sitting pretty. This has been a heck of a job in two years by Steve Bieser.

The Dores could also use this series. They have a fine RPI at 22, aided by the fourth-best SOS in the country, but just have a 23-15 record. The record isn’t great, but the winning conference record will certainly help matters. However, not this week. The Tigers are the more desperate team and at home.

Prediction: Missouri

#3 Arkansas at Mississippi State

Mississippi State players might be more interested to see who will be coaching them next season than playing the rest of the season out at this point. There has been a storm of issues that have happened in StarkVegas, and they just have not recovered.

Meanwhile for the Hogs, they are just playing out the regular season right now. They will be one of the 16 regional hosts as they try to get back to Omaha. They cruise to an easy series win in this one.

Prediction: Arkansas