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SEC Baseball Check-In: February 23

SECSports.com

The first weekend of SEC action is done and dusted!

Let’s take a look at where each time lies after the dust has settled.

Alabama Crimson Tide (3-0): Alabama kicked off the year with a prompt sweep of McNeese. The Tide rolled to victories of 10-6, 4-3 and 9-5, showing off offensive prowess. Zane Denton starred with a walk-off homer in the 4-3 decision, and wreaked havoc all weekend. Denton hit .583, slugged 1.063 and OPS’d 1.646. Owen Diodati drove in six runs and homered twice, as did Denton. Connor Prielipp whiffed eight batters, the most of any Tide pitcher.

Arkansas Razorbacks (3-0): Arkansas had no trouble in the State Farm College Baseball Showdown. The Hogs went 3-0, collecting wins over Texas, Texas Tech and TCU. They roughed up the Red Raiders 13-9, and then earned 4-0 and 4-1 wins over the Longhorns and Horned Frogs. Brady Slavens, Casey Optiz and Cullen Smith each scored four runs over the course of the weekend. Christian Franklin racked up a triple, and the above-mentioned Slavens hit the team’s only homer of the weekend. Lael Lockhart and Peyton Pallette each recorded eight strikeouts apiece on the mound meanwhile. Caleb Bolden was named Co-Pitcher of the Week after his scoreless 4 innings of work against Texas, where he struck out seven batters and netted his first save of the year.

Auburn Tigers (3-0): Auburn easily got through the first weekend of play, beating Presbyterian in all three meetings. They did need 10 innings to defeat them on Sunday, but got the win thanks to the bat of Bobby Peirce, who stepped in off the bench and laced a walk-off single. Ryan Bliss hit an even .500 in the series and Bryson Ware drove in five runs. Elsewhere, Judd Ward scooped up four runs scored through the series, and Bliss, Ware, Ward, Rankin Woley and Nate LaRue all homered in the series.

Florida Gators (1-2): Florida won the first game of the year against Miami 7-5, but fell 10-9 two days in a row to the Hurricanes. These tough defeats drove the Gators to a 1-2 start to the year, a rather unfortunate beginning to the year. Nathan Hickey got off to a hot start for the Gators at the plate, hitting .538 in this series. Hickey also slugged 1.077 and OPS’d 1.702, all team bests across the board. Hickey also led with seven hits, four runs scored, five RBI and two home runs. Josh Rivera starred with a triple, meanwhile and had two doubles too. Tommy Mace had eight strikeouts, three of them looking.

Georgia Bulldogs (3-1): Georgia ate an Opening Day loss to Evansville, but returned fire with three consecutive wins. UGA swept Saturday’s doubleheader with 7-3 and 6-5 victories, and won the final game of the series 4-1 on Sunday. Connor Tate and Corey Collins were the most vaunted batters, hitting .583 and .444 throughout the weekend. Tate led with seven hits, and had a robust OBP of .643. Collins homered on Friday, and Chaney Rogers homered on Saturday.

Kentucky Wildcats (0-0): UK didn’t play any games and isn’t scheduled to until this afternoon.

LSU Tigers (2-1): LSU split with Air Force over the weekend and then returned to trounce Louisiana Tech on Monday. The 2-1 Tigers showed off their offensive prowess, scoring at least five runs in all three games played, including a whopping 16 in the win over LaTech. LSU brought the lumber with them, hitting four home runs over the three games played. Zach Arnold got the party started on Saturday, and then Dylan Crews followed it up on Sunday. Crews smacked his second homer on Monday, as he alongside Jordan Thompson and Gavin Dugas also cranked homers in the blowout win. AJ Labas led the team in strikeouts with eight.

Ole Miss Rebels (3-0): Like Arkansas, Ole Miss went 3-0 against the triumvirate of Texas, Texas Tech and TCU. The Rebels picked up wins of 7-3, 5-4 and 8-1 over the Horned Frogs, Red Raiders and Longhorns consecutively, a strong showing indeed for another one of the SEC’s unbeaten. Peyton Chatagnier, co-SEC Player of the Week, had an outstanding weekend. He acme away from the weekend hitting .455 with four doubles. Gunnar Hoglund walked away with 11 strikeouts, the most of anyone thus far. Derek Diamond had eight himself, as the Rebels finished the weekend with the third-most strikeouts as a team.

Mississippi State Bulldogs (2-1): State could not emerge undefeated out of Texas like Arkansas and Ole Miss could. The Bulldogs went 2-1, scoring victories over the Longhorns and Texas Tech, but were nipped 3-2 by TCU. Landon Sims took the attention, as the Co-Pitcher of the Week retired 12 batters that he faced, with 10 strikeouts in four innings. He issued no free passes either, making for a sterling performance on the mound. Luke Hancock, no not that Luke Hancock, hit .583 over the weekend with an OPS of 1.726. Hancock had four runs scored, seven hits, five RBI and two homers. Rowdey Jordan had six RBI himself, and the two combined for four homers, two apiece.

Missouri Tigers (1-3): Mizzou is one of two teams in the conference to finish the weekend under .500. The Tigers had a tough go, as Grand Canyon took three of four from them. Their lone win came Saturday in a 9-7 result, but they lost 11-3, 8-4 and 10-3 as the offense was very listless. Mark Vierling stood out a bit, recording six hits over the four games played. Additionally, Luke Mann came away with five RBI and Andrew Keefer had two doubles.

South Carolina Gamecocks (3-0): South Carolina pulled off one of the strongest showings over the weekend. The Gamecocks earned a sweep over Dayton, winning 12-1, 12-5 and 5-1. Wes Clarke went absolutely bonkers at the plate and was named Co-Player of the Week. He hit .700, OPS’d 2.600, scored seven runs, drove in nine, hit two doubles and clubbed three home runs. He also picked up five walks over the course of the weekend for a stunningly great offensive performance.

Tennessee Volunteers (3-0): Tennessee racked up a sweep of Georgia Southern over the weekend. The Volunteers won 5-3, 5-3 and 7-3 in the three contests against the Eagles, holding firm down in Statesboro. They picked up a comeback victory on Saturday, roaring ahead of the Eagles by scoring four runs across the final two innings of play. Drew Gilbert hit a two-run blast in the top of the 9th to give them the lead, as he pieced together a strong weekend. He slugged .846 and hit another homer to give him two on the weekend.

Texas A&M Aggies (1-2): Texas A&M ate two losses from the Big East’s Xavier Musketeers. The Aggies lost 10-6 and 2-0 to start the weekend, but did pick up a 15-0 rout on Sunday. Bryan Sturges and Logan Sartori both had OBPs over .600, and Bret Minnich had one of .556. Jonathan Childress recorded nine strikeouts while Dustin Saenz notched eight.

Vanderbilt Commodores (2-0): Vanderbilt played a doubleheader on Monday and won both over Wright State. They won 14-1 in the first leg and then picked up a 1-0 victory in the second. The great Kumar Rocker had eight strikeouts over four innings of work in the first half of the doubleheader. Jayson Gonzalez hit .667 while Enrique Bradfield hit an even .500, and Isaiah Thomas hit .444 over the course of the two games played.