With a bunch of SEC teams stacked in the middle, each week will be a battle to see who can gain some separation and remain at the top.
Everyone is currently chasing Tennessee, but with Arkansas taking a series loss to Florida, who is most likely to step forward and challenge the Volunteers?
Who Are These Florida Gators?
The Florida Gators are one of the most difficult teams to figure out in the SEC. They have the talent to be a top 10 team in the nation, but you never know which team is going to show up week-to-week.
The good Gators showed up this past weekend with a series win over second ranked Arkansas.
However, it wasn’t all pretty as Hunter Barco struggled for the second straight week and was outdueled by Connor Noland on Thursday night.
Nolad gave up just 1 hit and 1 walk over 7 innings with 7 strikeouts in an 8-1 win for the Razorbacks.
But then the Gators bats broke out, scoring 7 and 9 runs in the next two games, led by SEC Player of the Year candidate Wyatt Langford. In the final two games of the series, Langford was 4-7 with a pair of home runs and 5 RBI.
Texas A&M Gains Separation with Series Win Over Kentucky
Texas A&M continues to try and show they belong among the top of the SEC, and they were successful in doing so this past weekend with a series win over Kentucky.
The Aggies started off the weekend with some dramatic fireworks as they took the game with a walk-off homer in the 11th by Troy Claunch who drove in all 3 runs on the night for Texas A&M.
The Wildcats bounced back with a 7-2 win on Friday.
In the finale, Texas A&M got a quality start from Micah Dallas who went 7 innings and gave up just 3 earned runs. He got plenty of run support as the Aggies’ offense scored 17 runs on 14 hits and 7 walks.
Ryan Targac was 4-5, hit for the cycle, scored 3 runs, and drove in 5. Dylan Rock was 2-3 with a double, a homer, 4 runs scored, 4 RBI, and 2 walks.
The Tide are Rolling with Back-to-Back Series Wins
If you look back at Alabama’s schedule they are so close to being considered a great team. They got swept by Texas on the road, but all three games were close. And they blew the first two games against Mississippi State in the ninth inning ultimately losing both by a single run.
They win two of those games, and the perception of this team is a lot different.
As it is, they are in a really good spot after a series sweep against eighth-ranked Ole Miss.
Garrett McMillan was great on Friday allowing just 1 earned run on 3 hits and 3 walks over 7 innings with 7 strikeouts. Jim Jarvis set the tone at the top of the order with 3 hits and 3 runs scored, while Drew Williamson drove them in with 3 RBI.
On Saturday, Alabama was down 7-3 going into the sixth inning. The Crimson Tide would score 3 in that sixth inning and add 4 more in the 7th to take a 10-7 lead.
However, they once again blew a save by giving up 2 in the eighth and 1 in the ninth as the two teams went to extra-innings.
Zane Denton had the big hit for Alabama hitting a 2-run homer in the 10th that proved to be the difference.
They finished off the sweep with a 7-3 win on Sunday. Home runs late from Andrew Pinckney and Zane Denton helped put the game away. Grayson Hitt had an excellent start on the mound for the Crimson Tide allowing just 3 earned runs on 3 hits and 2 walks over 6.1 innings with 8 strikeouts. He’s now 3-0 on the season.
Auburn Picks Up Third Straight Series Win
The Auburn Tigers have now won three straight series in SEC play after dropping their first SEC series against Ole Miss. And their last two series wins have come against ranked teams in LSU and Vanderbilt.
On Friday, Auburn starter Hayden Mullins struck out 9 batters, but he lasted just 4.1 innings because he walked 6. Overall, Auburn pitching struck out 15 batters and allowed just 1 run on 2 hits and 7 walks.
Brooks Carlson had the big blow on offense for the Tigers with a 3-run homer in the third that made it a 4-0 game. Auburn went on to win 5-1.
The Commodore bats were hungry after struggling on Friday and broke out with 19 runs on 23 hits, including a 9-run fourth inning.
Enrique Bradfield Jr, Spencer Jones, Dominic Keegan, Jack Bulger, and Parker Noland all had at least 3 hits. Keegan, an SEC Player of the Year candidate, was 4-5 with 3 runs, 3 RBI, and 3 doubles. Bulger was 5-5.
But the series flipped back to Auburn on Sunday as starter Joseph Gonzalez pitched a complete game allowing just 1 earned run and striking out 8, while SEC Player of the Year candidate Sonny DiChiara provided the offense going 3-5 with two home runs and 5 RBI.
LSU Sweeps Defending Champs in Starkville
LSU has been up-and-down to start SEC play, but the Tigers broke things open with a sweep over Mississippi State.
The weekend started with a dramatic comeback win on Friday. LSU trailed 2-1 going into the ninth as Mississippi State got a brilliant start from Preston Johnson who allowed just 1 earned run on 2 hits and 4 walks over 6 innings with 10 strikeouts.
But the Bulldogs couldn’t hold on to give him the win.
LSU’s Tre’ Morgan had a 2-RBI single in the ninth to give LSU the lead. Then Dylan Crews extended that lead with a 2-run homer for a final score of 5-2.
Saturday was another tight contest. Jacob Berry hit a 3-run homer in the first, but the Bulldogs answered right back and tied it up 3-3 in the 5th.
But a Jordan Thompson home run for LSU in the sixth ended up being the difference in a 4-3 win for the Tigers.
RJ Yeager had 3 hits, including a home run for Mississippi State on Saturday.
Is Georgia the Second-Best Team in the SEC?
Tennessee is clearly the top dog in the SEC right now, but who pushes them is up for grabs, and Georgia is trying to show why it can be them after another series win – this time over South Carolina.
Noah Hall had a great start for South Carolina on Friday allowing just 1 earned run on 7 hits and 2 walks over 7 innings with 10 strikeouts. But Georgia got the last laugh with 2 runs in the ninth for a comeback 3-2 win.
Cole Tate and Corey Collins had the big hits in the ninth.
The Gamecocks made sure they scored enough on Saturday to not worry about a comeback in a 13-7 win. Colin Burgess scored 3 runs and drove in 4 with a 3-run homer, while Andrew Eyster scored twice and drove in 2.
It was another slugfest on Sunday, but this time Georgia prevailed with a 13-9 victory. Parks Harber was 4-4 at the plate for the Bulldogs, while Chaney Rogers drove in 5 and had a home run.
The Bulldogs needed the added offense as they are currently without their ace Jonathan Cannon who is dealing with a strained muscle in his right forearm.
Tennessee in a League of Their Own
What else can you say about Tennessee at this point? After a series sweep at Missouri they’re now 31-1 on the season and 12-0 in SEC play.
Volunteer pitching gave up 10 runs on the weekend, which is the most runs they’ve allowed in an SEC series. But with their offense, that was good enough.
Chase Burns had his worst start of the season on Friday only lasting 2.2 innings. But the offense picked him up with 8 runs on 11 hits and 7 walks. Evan Russell had a big 3-run homer that extended a 4-3 lead to 7-3.
Chase Dollander struck out 10 on Saturday over 6.2 innings for Tennessee. Jordan Beck had the big blast at the plate with a grand slam in the sixth that gave Tennessee a 7-4 lead. They’d add four more to cap off a 11-4 victory.
A pair of Lipcius homers early on Sunday gave Tennessee a 3-0 lead, which was later made 4-0 on a Drew Gilbert RBI double. However, the offense stalled after that and the Volunteers had to hold off a late comeback from Missouri to hold onto a 4-3 lead.
Drew Beam moved to 7-0 on the season after allowing just 2 earned runs on 6 hits and 0 walks over 6.1 innings with 7 strikeouts.