We’re one weekend away from conference play beginning. Seems like time is moving fast, no?
There will be 15 games going on today, so let’s get started here.
15th-ranked Georgia will start the day off against Presbyterian at 3 p.m. The Dawgs enter this game having swept through midweek action, gaining wins over Alabama State and Jacksonville State. They have won five of their last six, the only loss coming to Georgia Southern last week in the back end of a doubleheader. LJ Talley has been doing the damn thing, as he stands 7th in the conference in SLG.
One hour later, Kentucky will begin play against Middle Tennessee. Kentucky lost their only game of the week to Boston College, a 12-3 rout at the hands of the Eagles. They’ll play three against MTSU of course, and will be hoping for a similar round of success that they had last week against Canisius, where they earned a weekend sweep.
Also at 4 p.m., Mizzou will take on Northwestern. Missouri didn’t play any midweek games this week, as their last encounter was a 6-3 loss to South Dakota State last weekend. The Tigers are slumping out of the gates this season, having posted a 6-5 record in their first 11 games. Their saving grace has unsurprisingly been Kameron Misner, who leads the team in batting average and on-base percentage. He’ll be one to watch this weekend.
Ryan Olenek and Ole Miss are set to battle UAB this weekend in Oxford. The Rebels were on a win streak of six in a row before falling to 25th-ranked ECU earlier this week, 3-2. This will prove to be a rebound of sorts, and a tune-up before they face 14th-ranked Louisville in Louisville next week.
Alabama, whom Ole Miss will play next weekend, starts a series with Northern Kentucky on Friday afternoon. After a loss to Ball State on February 23, the Tide have ripped off eight wins in a row. This includes wins over UAB and South Dakota State earlier this week. A huge reason for their successes this season has been the bat of Kolby Robinson. Robinson is the SEC’s second-leading hitter (.465) and ranks 11th in the conference in OBP.
South Carolina will face off with Valparaiso in the first of three on Friday. The Gamecocks have slid into the polls, ranking 24th in the country as of now. Luke Berryhill has been tremendous, as he’s slugged .783 to this point in the season. He’s also scored 16 runs and has driven in 18, while hitting seven doubles and four home runs. His teammate TJ Hopkins has him beat in total bases, as Hopkins is 3rd in the conference with 39. Look for these two as well as Jacob Olson to continue their success at the plate.
Mississippi State will be playing two against Maine on Friday. The Bulldogs, ranked 8th in the nation, haven’t lost since February 22 and have picked up some quality wins along the way. They defeated ECU earlier this week on the heels of a big win over Texas Tech last Saturday. The Black Bears may not pose much of a threat to them, so don’t be surprised if they keep up their successes.
Top-ranked Vanderbilt takes the field once again, as the Commodores will face Illinois State. Vandy went off this past week in midweek play, as they scored 36 runs and only allowed six. That included 24 against Davidson. Yes. I said they scored 24 runs in a single game. That’s why they’re #1 in the nation.
Tennessee will take on Fresno State at 6:30 p.m. The Vols and their so far unblemished record of 13-0 will face the Bulldogs for a weekend series. UT will hope to continue doing damage as they’ve done this season, primarily in getting on base, as their OBP (.409) ranks fourth in the SEC.
Also at 6:30, Florida will hope for success against Yale. The Gators split their midweek series against FGCU, winning 15-0, but also losing 7-2. This series will serve as a way for them to hopefully gain momentum before heading into battle with Florida State on March 12, and then next weekend against Mississippi State.
Auburn hopes to get into the win column at 7 p.m., as they begin a series against UTSA. Auburn has reeled off six in a row, including sweeps of Cincinnati and UT Martin this past week. They’ve lost just twice this season, as they’ve been bringing great pitching into the fold so far this season. They rank 5th in the conference in team ERA and BAA as well.
Arkansas, winners of their last five, look to make it six as they begin a series with Louisiana Tech. The Razorbacks are among the top hitting teams in the conference thus far, although they haven’t scored many runs. They’ve plated across just 89 this season, which puts them 12th out of 14 teams in the SEC. Despite that, they still have managed to compile a great record. Given that their pitching numbers are closer to average so far though, it’s a wonder how long that will be able to keep up. Nevertheless, LaTech shouldn’t present too many challenges to them, although they are 9-3.
Texas A&M will welcome Gonzaga for a three-game set. The Aggies have Vanderbilt looming in the distance, as the Commodores will come to town for the SEC opener next week. So, it would behoove the Aggies to keep their winning ways going. They’ve won their last five, as they dusted through Texas A&M-Corpus Christi and Abilene Christian earlier this week.
Finally, LSU begins a weekend series with Cal on Friday night. The Tigers bounced back from a three-game sweep at the hands of Texas with a 9-2 win over Holy Cross on Wednesday. They’ll obviously be hoping for a much more successful weekend than the last, and for their sake, they will be able to pull such a feat off.