Thursday Night Baseball; Top 25 Showdowns

The opening weekend of SEC play featured six series sweeps, as Auburn, Arkansas, Kentucky, LSU, Missouri and LSU all got off to 3-0 starts. Missouri owns nation’s longest winning streak as the Tigers have won 20 straight games since losing the season opener to Eastern Michigan on Feb. 17.

The second weekend of conference play includes two head-to-head Top 25 matchups as No. 14 Ole Miss travels to No 19 Kentucky and No. 5 LSU travels to No. 11 Florida.

Ole Miss (14-7, 2-1 SEC) opened league play winning two out of three games from Vanderbilt last weekend in Oxford. Kentucky (16-6, 3-0 SEC) may have been the surprise of the SEC last weekend with a three-game sweep at Texas A&M.

LSU (17-5, 3-0 SEC) scored 34 runs in its three-game sweep of Georgia last weekend in Baton Rouge. The Tigers scored 22 runs in the SEC opener last Friday night. Antoine Duplantis tied an SEC record with six hits in the opener, while Kramer Robertson was 5-for-5 and scored five runs. Florida has struggled on offense this season. The Gators are 13th in the SEC with a .243 batting average through 22 games.

This weekend also introduces our first Thursday night game of the season. Ole Miss and Kentucky will kick off the Thursday night schedule at 7 p.m. (ET) on the SEC Network. Mike Morgan and Mike Rooney have the call from the UK campus.

Here is a look at this weekend’s matchups.

No. 14 Ole Miss (14-7, 2-1 SEC) at No. 19 Kentucky (16-6, 3-0 SEC)
Kentucky is 16-2 in its last 18 games; started season 0-4
Kentucky leads the SEC with a .328 batting average and 8.5 runs per game
Ole Miss sports the league’s best ERA (2.38) and ranks second with six shutouts and nine saves
Ole Miss has won seven straight games against Kentucky

Pitching Matchups:
Thursday – RHP James McArthur (0-1, 1.76 ERA) vs. RHP Sean Hjelle (3-1, 4.99 ERA)
Friday – LHP David Parkinson (4-1, 2.03 ERA) vs. LHP Zach Logue (3-1, 2.43 ERA)
Saturday – TBA vs. RHP Justin Lewis (3-1, 3.07 ERA)

Alabama (11-10, 0-3 SEC) at South Carolina (15-5, 3-0 SEC)
South Carolina is looking to become first SEC team in aluminum bat era to start 6-0 in SEC for two straight years
The Gamecocks were 6-0 last season with sweeps against Arkansas and Ole Miss
South Carolina is 10-1 in its last 11 games with Alabama
The Crimson Tide has not won a series against the Gamecocks since 2006
Alabama opponents are 22-for-25 in stolen bases this year

Pitching Matchups:
Friday – RHP Jake Walters (3-2, 1.91 ERA) vs. RHP Adam Hill (1-2, 1.54 ERA)
Saturday – LHP Dylan Duarte (1-1, 2.78 ERA) vs. RHP Wil Crowe (3-0, 2.73 ERA)
Sunday  – RHP Nick Eicholtz (1-0, 6.48 ERA) vs. RHP Clarke Schmidt (3-0, 1.04 ERA)

Arkansas (18-4, 3-0 SEC) at Missouri (20-1, 3-0 SEC)
The lone series this weekend where both teams are 3-0 in SEC play
Missouri owns the nation’s longest winning streak at 20 games
The Tigers can tie school record for consecutive wins (21) on Friday against Arkansas
Missouri won two out of three at Arkansas last season (snapped season-opening 10-game SEC losing streak)
Arkansas leads the SEC with 34 home runs

Pitching Matchups:
Friday – RHP Blaine Knight (2-1, 2.39 ERA) vs. RHP Tanner Houck (3-1, 2.27 ERA)
Saturday – RHP Trevor Stephan (4-0, 1.19 ERA) vs. LHP Michael Plassmeyer (4-0, 2.89)Sunday – TBA vs. RHP Andy Toelken (1-0, 3.57 ERA)

Auburn (18-5, 3-0 SEC) at Georgia (9-13, 0-3 SEC)
Auburn pitchers have an NCAA-leading seven shutouts this year
RHP Casey Mize ranks second with 0.30 ERA
RHP Keegan Thompson ranks fifth with 0.78 ERA
Georgia is last in SEC with 5.56 ERA

Pitching Matchups:
Friday – RHP Keegan Thompson (4-0, 0.78 ERA) vs. LHP Andrew Gist (1-1, 4.82 ERA)Saturday – RHP Casey Mize (3-0, 0.30 ERA) vs. RHP Tony Locey (2-3, 7.65 ERA)
Sunday – RHP Davis Daniel (1-0, 5.75 ERA) vs. RHP Chase Adkins (3-1, 2.97 ERA)

LSU (17-5, 3-0 SEC) at Florida (14-8, 0-3 SEC)
LSU is looking to sweep its first two SEC series for the first time since 1994
Florida is 13-2 at home this season with wins over Miami (3) and Florida State (1)
The Gators are 1-6 on the road following Tuesday’s 9-8, 11-inning win at Stetson
Florida is 11-3 in the last 14 meetings with LSU in Gainesville
LSU Greg Deichmann leads SEC with six home runs
LSU Kramer Robertson leads SEC with 33 runs scored
LSU Jared Poche’ leads SEC with five wins and 0.25 ERA

Pitching Matchups:
Friday – RHP Alex Lange (3-1, 5.04 ERA) vs. RHP Alex Faedo (3-1, 2.93 ERA)
Saturday – LHP Jared Poche’ (5-0, 0.25 ERA) vs. RHP Brady Singer (2-1, 1.74 ERA)
Sunday – RHP Eric Walker (3-0, 2.67 ERA) vs. RHP Jackson Kowar (3-0, 2.35 ERA)

Tennessee (13-5, 0-3 SEC) at Miss. State (12-10, 0-3 SEC)
The series features the league’s top two hitters
MSU’s Brent Rooker leads SEC with .430 (34-for-79) average
UT’s Jordan Rodgers is second in SEC with .429 (30-for-70) average
UT’s Jeff Moberg is tied for fourth in SEC with .400 (30-for-75) average
Tennessee swept MSU in Knoxville in 2015 to eliminate Bulldogs from SEC Tournament contention
MSU has won five straight home series with Tennessee (MSU 12-3 in last 15 home games vs. Vols)

Pitching Matchups:
Friday – RHP Hunter Martin (3-2, 3.49 ERA) vs. LHP Konnor Pilkington (2-3, 2.12 ERA)Saturday – RHP Zach Linginfelter (0-1, 3.74 ERA) vs. TBA
Sunday – TBA vs. TBA

Texas A&M (15-7, 0-3 SEC) at Vanderbilt (14-8, 1-2 SEC)
Texas A&M has won both SEC series against Vanderbilt since joining the SEC
Texas A&M no-hit the Commodores last season in College Station
A&M Braden Shewmake leads all SEC with a .406 batting average (third overall)
Vanderbilt is 0-5 in Kyle Wright’s five starts this season
Will Toffey and Julian Infante were a combined 8-for-10, 7 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 10 RBI,3 BB against Belmont (March 22)

Pitching Matchups:
Friday – RHP Brigham Hill (4-1, 2.61 ERA) vs. RHP Kyle Wright (0-3, 4.33 ERA)
Saturday – RHP Stephen Kolek (1-0, 2.54 ERA) vs. RHP Patrick Raby (3-2, 1.71 ERA)
Sunday – TBA vs. RHP Drake Fellows (3-0, 1.72 ERA)

Weekend TV Schedule:
March 23             Ole Miss at Kentucky (SEC Network) 7 PM

March 24             LSU at Florida (SEC Network) 7 PM

March 25             Ole Miss at Kentucky (SEC Network) Noon
March 25             Arkansas at Missouri (SEC Network) 3 PM
March 25             LSU at Florida (ESPN2) 3 PM
March 25             Texas A&M at Vanderbilt (SEC Network) 8 PM

March 26             LSU at Florida (SEC Network) 1 PM
March 26             Texas A&M at Vanderbilt (SEC Network) 4 PM

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