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SEC Softball Weekend Preview, Vol. 4

We’re already in our fourth weekend of doing this!

Weekend play is about to begin! Let’s take a glance at what lies ahead for the SEC.

Thursday

In just a few moments, 13th-ranked Kentucky Wildcats will face 19th-ranked Michigan! This is the first of two the Wildcats will play with the Wolverines. They next play them on Friday night as part of a weekend romp with the Wolverines, Drake, and Kent State.

Through the first three-plus weeks of the season, Kentucky ranks at or near the top in most offensive categories in the SEC. They have the highest team batting average at .379. They rank fourth in runs scored (117), fifth in home runs (19), second in SLG (.629), and fifth in OBP (.438). Their pitching has been a strong suit, as they’ve posted a team ERA of 1.89 so far.

Michigan has played very well to start the year. The 19th-ranked Wolverines have posted competitive numbers with the rest of the Big Ten, and rank high in several categories. They’re fourth in batting average (.289), fifth in runs scored (66), and fourth in team SLG (.428). Now there is a valley of a difference between these raw numbers so I’m personally intrigued to see what happens in these two meetings. The Wolverines have drawn stiff competition this year, facing six ranked teams already! Kentucky will be the seventh and could pose a big threat to them.

The 11th-ranked Arkansas Razorbacks meanwhile will face Missouri State. And in addition to that, LSU will face Louisiana in a matchup of two ranked squads from the Bayou.

Friday

As far as power conference matchups on this day, we have:

Every other SEC squad is in action meanwhile. The South Carolina Gamecocks are teed up against 25th-ranked UCF. That is the only other occurrence of an SEC squad facing a fellow ranked team besides UK-Michigan.

Saturday

There are plenty of games going on, but none might be bigger than the final game of the day on Saturday. The 12-2 Texas A&M Aggies are poised to face their stiffest test yet. They’re set to face the fifth-ranked UCLA Bruins and UCLA so far isn’t unfamiliar to the SEC. The Bruins have faced Tennessee and Missouri already this year so they are making their presence felt down here. Sure enough, UCLA is 2-0 in those previous games, so A&M will look to buck the trend in this game.

Sunday

We’ll use this space to talk about the Aggies again. A&M will be facing 23rd-ranked Arizona State on Sunday morning. ASU has thus far been a quality team out in Tempe. They rank fourth in the Pac-12 in runs scored, one home run off the lead for homers in the conference (95 to Arizona’s 96), and also have the highest OBP of any team in the conference with a mark of .407. But an exploit that A&M will hope to take advantage of is the pitching. ASU ranks ninth in the conference in ERA out of the 11 with 3.55. Considering that A&M has one of the better offenses in the SEC, this could be a good situation for them to pick off a quality nonconference win.

Monday

The lone game of the day? Alabama-Eastern Illinois!