SEC Baseball Previews (April 6-9)

The college baseball schedule reached the midway point this week. There are still more questions than answers as the SEC heads into the fourth weekend of conference play.

Auburn (23-7, 7-2 SEC) and Arkansas (23-6, 7-2 SEC) lead the SEC Western Division through nine games. Neither team qualified for the 2016 SEC Tournament in Hoover. Auburn has won all seven series this season, including SEC series with Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. The Tigers are equaled their overall win total from last year. AU finished 23-33 in 2016.  Arkansas has won is first three SEC series with Miss. State, Missouri and Alabama (the latter two on the road) and has equaled its conference win total from last season.

Kentucky (22-6, 7-2 SEC) sits alone atop the SEC Eastern Division standings after nine games. UK lost its only SEC Tournament game and failed to make NCAA Tournament last year. Kentucky swept a three-game series at Texas A&M to open league play and then posted back-to-back home series wins over Ole Miss and Vanderbilt the last two weeks. Kentucky opened the season 0-4 under first year head coach Nick Mingione. UK is 21-5 since losing its first four games.

The weekend gets underway tonight at Missouri faces Georgia in Athens and Vanderbilt travels to South Carolina for a pair of Thursday through Saturday series.

Missouri (21-8, 4-5 SEC) at Georgia (13-17, 3-6 SEC)
Thursday’s series opener will be televised by ESPNU (7:30 p.m. ET)
Saturday’s series finale will be played a Sun Trust Park in Atlanta
It will be the first college game in the Atlanta Braves new home ballpark
Missouri and Georgia are the two worst fielding teams in the SEC
Missouri ranks next-to-last with a .963 fielding percentage
Georgia ranks last with a .955 fielding percentage
Missouri has lost seven of its last eight games since a 20-game winning streak
Mizzou freshman LHP TJ Sikkema (11, 5-0, 3 SV) leads the SEC with a 0.47 ERA
Georgia is coming off its first SEC series win at Tennessee

Vanderbilt (19-11, 4-5 SEC) at South Carolina (20-8, 6-3 SEC)
All three games will be televised; Thursday’s will be on SEC Network at 7 p.m. (ET)
The two teams have split the last four regular season series (VU won series in 2016)
South Carolina leads the SEC with a 2.72 ERA
Clarke Schmidt ranks third in the SEC with 0.90 ERA
Vanderbilt is 2-5 in series openers this season
Julian Infante ranks fifth in the SEC with a .364 batting average

LSU (20-10, 5-4 SEC) at Arkansas (24-6, 7-2 SEC)
LSU has won 11 of last 12 regular season series with Arkansas
The Razorbacks lone series win that span came in 2011
Arkansas has equaled its SEC win total from last season (7-23)
Arkansas went 4-2 in back-to-back road series at Missouri and Alabama the last two weeks; Arkansas hosts LSU and Georgia the next two weekends
Arkansas leads the SEC with 40 home runs; Arkansas has three players with 6+ HRs
LSU has lost back-to-back SEC series to Florida and Texas A&M
LSU ranks second in SEC with a .300 batting average
Cole Freeman is ninth in SEC with .355 average

Tennessee (15-11, 1-8 SEC) at Florida (20-9, 5-4 SEC)
The final two games will be televised on SEC Network
Florida has won eight straight series over Tennessee
Tennessee’s last series win came in 2008; UT has not won series in Gainesville since 2007
Florida ranks second in the SEC with 2.96 ERA
Florida is last in the SEC in hitting (.240), RISP (.216) and two-out hitting (.205)
Florida has scored the second-fewest runs in the SEC (128 total runs)
Tennessee and Alabama are only teams without SEC series win
Tennessee’s Jeff Moberg (.369) and Jordan Rodgers (.376) are among the SEC’s Top 4
hitters

Auburn (23-8, 7-2 SEC) at Texas A&M (20-10, 3-6 SEC)
The teams have split the four series since A&M joined the SEC
Texas A&M has won the last two series in 2015 and 2016
Texas A&M is 5-2 in SEC openers; shutout LSU 4-0 last weekend in Baton Rouge
Texas A&M Braden Shewmake leads all SEC freshmen with .354 batting average
Auburn RHP Keegan Thompson scheduled to pitch on Saturday after missing a start last
week; Thompson ranks second in SEC with 0.70 ERA
Auburn RHP Casey Mize ranks sixth in SEC with 1.77 ERA
Texas A&M Brigham Hill (5-2, 2.60 ERA) will pitch opposite Mize in Friday’s opener

Alabama (13-16, 2-7 SEC) at Ole Miss (17-12, 3-6 SEC)
The series finale will be televised by SEC Network
Ole Miss has dropped back-to-back series with Kentucky (1-2) and Miss. State (0-3)
Alabama and Tennessee are only teams without SEC series win
Alabama RHP Jake Walters is not scheduled to pitch this weekend at Ole Miss
Alabama ranks 11th in SEC with a .276 batting average
Alabama ranks 11th in SEC with 151 runs scored
Ole Miss ranks next-to-last in SEC with a .242 batting average
Ole Miss has scored the fewest runs (123) in the SEC

Kentucky (21-9, 7-2 SEC) at Miss. State (20-11, 6-3 SEC)
MSU hosts Kentucky in the annual Super Bulldog Weekend
UK head coach Nick Mingione is a former assistant coach at Miss. State
Kentucky has won two straight series and five of last seven series with MSU
UK has not won series in Starkville since 2009
Kentucky leads the SEC in batting average (.319), OBP (.424) and slugging (.487)
MSU ranks next-to-last in SEC with 4.46 ERA
Marcus Carson ranks 10th in SEC with a .355 batting average
Junior Zach Logue is 4-1 with 2.22 ERA in seven starts for UK
MSU junior Brent Rooker is the league’s most prolific hitter this season
Rooker leads the SEC in average (.436), home runs (12) and RBIs (50)
He hit three home runs in two games against FIU this week, including walk-off 2-run HR in 10th inning on Wednesday

 

 

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