SEC Opening Weekend

The 85th season of Southeastern Conference baseball opens tonight with a lot more questions than answers.

The SEC has had a rather unimpressive non-conference season to this point. Georgia (8-10) is the only team with a losing record and 10 teams have five or more losses in the first four weeks of the season.

The teams can hit the reset button today with the start of conference play tonight.

The SEC Network will show all seven games tonight through its Bases Loaded package. Dari Nowkhah, Kyle Peterson and Chris Burke will be in the Charlotte studio for wall-to-wall coverage of the action from Knoxville to Auburn to Tuscaloosa to Oxford to Fayetteville to Baton Rouge to College Station.

Here is a look at this weekend’s matchups.

Missouri (16-1, 0-0 SEC) at Alabama (10-7, 0-0)
Missouri is the hottest team in the SEC and off to the best start in school history
The Tigers are tied with No. 1 ranked Louisville for the longest winning streak (16 games) in the nation
Alabama closes out a 20-game season-opening home stand with the Tigers this weekend
This series features two of the SEC four new head coaches – Steve Bieser (Missouri) and Greg Goff (Alabama)
Bieser’s last game at SE Missouri was a loss to Louisiana Tech, coached by Goff, in the NCAA Starkville Regional
Mizzou RHP Andy Toelken and Alabama 1B Hunter Alexander were teammates at Clay HS and St. John’s River College

Pitching Matchups:
Friday: RHP Tanner Houck (2-1, 2.92 ERA) vs. RHP Jake Walters (3-1, 2.31 ERA)
Saturday: LHP Michael Plassmeyer (3-0, 2.35 ERA) vs. RHP Nick Eicholtz (1-0, 5.14 ERA)Sunday: RHP Andy Toelken (1-0, 3.05 ERA) vs. TBA

Mississippi State (12-6, 0-0 SEC) at Arkansas (14-4, 0-0)
Mississippi State is the defending SEC Champions
This is rematch of teams’ final SEC series last year, which MSU swept UA to win SEC title
Arkansas pitching coach Wes Johnson was the pitching coach at MSU last season
Arkansas has won the last four series with MSU in Fayetteville
Arkansas leads SEC with 21 home runs
MSU leads SEC with 30 stolen bases

Pitching Matchups:
Friday: LHP Konnor Pilkington (2-1, 1.73 ERA) vs. RHP Blaine Knight (1-1, 2.79 ERA)Saturday: RHP Peyton Plumlee (2-0, 1.88 ERA); vs. RHP Trevor Stephan (3-0, 0.75 ERA)Sunday: TBA vs. TBA

Florida (13-5, 0-0 SEC) at Auburn (14-5, 0-0 SEC)
Florida and LSU are preseason favorites to win 2017 SEC Championship
Florida leads the SEC in ERA (2.31) but ranks last in the league in hitting (.247)
Auburn leads the NCAA with seven shutouts this season
Auburn has not won home series with Gators since 2003
UF has won 10 of last 12 games at Plainsman Park
Friday starters Alex Faedo and Keegan Thompson are a combined 6-0 with 0.97 ERA this season

Pitching Matchups:
Friday: RHP Alex Faedo (3-0, 1.37 ERA) vs. RHP Keegan Thompson (3-0, 0.64 ERA)Saturday: RHP Brady Singer (2-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. RHP Casey Mize (2-0, 0.40 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Jackson Kowar (3-0, 2.19 ERA) vs. RHP Davis Daniel (1-0, 4.50 ERA)

Georgia (8-10, 0-0 SEC) at LSU (13-5, 0-0 SEC)
LSU and Florida are preseason favorites to win 2017 SEC Championship
Georgia is last in the SEC in pitching (4.55 ERA) and defense (.953 fielding; 34 errors)
LSU ace Jared Poche’ has not allowed a run in 29 innings this season
LSU’s Cole Freeman is second in SEC with .444 (28-for-63) average this season
LSU’s Greg Deichmann leads the SEC with seven home runs

Pitching Matchups:
Friday: LHP Andrew Gist (0-0, 2.20 ERA) vs. RHP Alex Lange (3-1, 3.05 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Tony Locey (2-2, 7.47 ERA) vs. LHP Jared Poche’ (4-0, 0.00 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Chase Adkins (3-0, 2.08 ERA) vs. RHP Eric Walker (2-0, 2.14 ERA)

Kentucky (12-6, 0-0 SEC) at Texas A&M (14-4, 0-0 SEC)
Kentucky and Texas A&M are the highest scoring teams in SEC
UK leads the league with .8.8 runs per game
Texas A&M is second with 8.3 run per game
UK leads the league with a .330 batting average through 18 games
The Cats will be tested Friday by Aggies ace RHP Brigham Hill (4-0, 1.40 ERA)

Pitching Matchups:
Friday: RHP Sean Hjelle (2-1, 7.06) vs. RHP Brigham Hill (4-0, 1.40 ERA)
Saturday: LHP Zach Logue (3-1, 1.93 ERA) vs. RHP Stephen Kolek (1-0, 2.05 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Justin Lewis (2-1, 2.74 ERA) vs. RHP Mitchell Kilkenny (2-0, 2.70 ERA)

Vanderbilt (12-6, SEC  0-0) at Ole Miss (12-5, 0-0 SEC)
Ole Miss pitchers have not allowed a run in the last 36 innings
The Rebels have only allowed 2 runs in the last 56 innings (6 games)
Ole Miss has been involved in six straight shutouts (5-1 record)
Vanderbilt has not won a Friday night game this season

Pitching Matchups:
Friday: RHP Kyle Wright (0-2, 5.40 ERA) vs. LHP David Parkinson (3-1, 2.52 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Patrick Raby (2-2, 1.40 ERA) vs. RHP Brady Feigl (2-1, 3.91 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Drake Fellows (3-0, 1.00 ERA) vs. RHP Will Ethridge (1-0, 1.15 ERA)

South Carolina (11-5) at Tennessee (12-2)
South Carolina has won 20 of the last 23 meetings between the two schools
UT did win the series the last time the two teams met in Knoxville in 2015
Tennessee’s Jeff Moberg leads the league with a .475 batting average this year
USC pitcher Clarke Schmidt (3-0, 1.04 ERA) is listed as day-to-day with minor oblique strain

Pitching Matchups:
Friday: RHP Adam Hill (0-2, 1.56 ERA) vs. RHP Hunter Martin (3-1, 3.68 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Will Crowe (3-0, 2.25 ERA) vs. LHP Zach Warren (2-1, 3.44 ERA)
Sunday: TBA vs. RHP Will Neely (1-0, 4.91 ERA)





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