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SEC Softball Update: March 16

Let’s get us back to speed here.

It’s been a minute, so while games are going on, let’s bring everyone up to speed on how things have been:

There are no unbeaten teams remaining in the SEC, although some have inflated records. Namely, Alabama, who at this point stands at 22-1. The third-ranked Tide enjoyed a three-game sweep of rival Auburn over the weekend. That pushed their early SEC record up to 3-0, as they came away unblemished. They allowed just three runs in the series while scoring 14, for a solid run differential of +11. Alexis Mack and Bailey Hemphill lead the squad with batting averages north of .400. Bailey Dowling is currently the team leader in home runs with five, while Hemphill trails with four, and Kaylee Tow has three. Lexi Kilfoyl and Montana Fouts are still dominant, having allowed a combined 11 earned runs in 112.1 innings with a combined 162 strikeouts to just 12 walks.

17th-ranked Arkansas slid up from 19th in the NFCA Poll after a 3-0 start to SEC play. The Razorbacks downed South Carolina 4-1, 7-5, and 3-2 in a weekend sweep. On Friday, Braxton Burnside started what would be an eventful weekend at the dish. She hit what was her 12th home run of the season, but she wasn’t through yet. She smashed two home runs in a 10th inning victory on Saturday, including the go-ahead blast in the final frame. And then, she cranked her fourth home run of the weekend in the first inning of Sunday’s 3-2 win. Not surprisingly, Burnside’s 15 homers on the season lead the SEC, and by a wide margin at that, as she’s five up on second-place right now. She’ll have to do a lot to catch Oklahoma’s Jocelyn Alo, though, as Alo leads the country with 19 home runs.

The third team to come away with a sweep this weekend? Ole Miss, who is now 18-7 on the season. The Rebels dismissed rival Mississippi State, winning 6-0, 4-1, and 8-0. Blaise Biringer continues to do great things at the dish. Biringer’s average now sits at .432, good for ninth in the conference. She’s third in the conference in hits, with 35, which trails Kentucky’s Kayla Kowalik and Arkansas’s Danielle Gibson. Paige Smith clubbed a home run in Saturday’s 6-0 victory. It was Smith’s seventh of the season, which leads the team and ranks 10th in the SEC. Ole Miss’ Anna Borgen continues to be a threat in the circle, as she leads the conference with an ERA of 0.36.

Going down the rungs, we have two squads who started SEC play at 2-1. Florida and LSU enjoyed weekend series wins over Kentucky and Tennessee. The Gators kept UK’s high-powered offense at bay, holding them to six combined runs in the weekend series. They only scraped eight runs by, but hey, wins are wins right? Elizabeth Hightower and Natalie Lugo performed very well in the circle, as they kept the bats of the Wildcats relatively quiet.

For LSU, they enjoyed taking two of three from Tennessee. They won 2-1 on Saturday, lost 3-4 in the back half of Saturday’s doubleheader, and then erupted for an 11-3 win on Sunday. The Tigers picked up homers from Amanda Doyle, Shelbi Sunseri, and Georgia Clark in the runaway win on Sunday.

Georgia built their win streak up to 16 during this weekend’s action. The Dawgs defeated East Carolina twice, once on Friday, once on Saturday; then, they defeated North Dakota twice, once on Saturday and then on Sunday. Lacey Fincher is the leader in the SEC in both batting average (.490) and on-base percentage (.603). Fincher is doing some seriously good hitting this year, and should still be considered a force to be reckoned with.

Mizzou and Texas A&M maintained their winning ways, pushing win streaks up to four and seven respectively. Freshman Jenna Laird had a great week for the Tigers, boasting seven hits, four runs scored, and eight RBI during the Mizzou Tournament. She earned Freshman of the Week honors for that reason and has been terrific all year. She ranks 13th in batting average right now and also sits ninth in doubles.

The Aggies, meanwhile, took down Montana twice and Louisiana Tech twice during weekend action. They’ve been rolling, having lost just three times this season so far. Haley Lee has been fantastic, slashing .464/.538/1.089, with her 1.089 slugging percentage leading the conference. She is one of those who are tied for second behind Braxton Burnside in homers, tied up with Kiki Milloy of Tennessee and Erin Coffel of Kentucky.

SEC STANDINGS

Team Wins Losses RS RA Diff
Team Wins Losses RS RA Diff
Alabama 22 1 140 27 113
Arkansas 20 2 155 67 88
Auburn 16 4 87 37 50
Florida 17 2 99 27 72
Georgia 19 2 134 39 95
Kentucky 20 2 197 49 148
LSU 15 7 116 69 47
Ole Miss 18 7 141 56 85
Mississippi State 15 8 140 85 55
Mizzou 19 4 178 65 113
South Carolina 14 6 135 54 81
Tennessee 19 3 137 33 104
Texas A&M 17 3 136 41 95