Divisions in the SEC won’t mean much going forward, and while the SEC West has the two previous College World Series winners and top-ranked LSU Tigers, it’s the SEC East that looks like the better and deeper division so far in 2023.
South Carolina and Vanderbilt are the only two remaining undefeated teams in the SEC after just two weeks. While those aforementioned previous CWS winners in Ole Miss and Mississippi State are the only two teams without a win.
LSU and Arkansas are looking like the frontrunners in the SEC West and they faced off this past week in Baton Rouge.
Paul Skenes and Hunter Hollan locked horns in a great pitcher’s duel. The LSU ace struck out 12 in 7 innings allowing 1 earned run on 2 hits and 3 walks. He had just 4 walks all year coming into the start and then walked 3 batters in 1 inning.
Hollan tossed 5.1 innings of scoreless baseball with 7 strikeouts before handing things over to Hagan Smith with a 1-run lead.
LSU would tie it in the bottom of the eighth with a solo home run from Brady Neal. The game went to extras where Arkansas put up an 8-spot in the 10th to ultimately win 10-3 as Dylan Crews hit a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 10th.
Smith finished game one striking out eight in 4.2 innings.
Arkansas used their two best arms to get that game one win, but had nothing left the rest of the weekend as LSU won the next two games 12-2 and 14-5.
Game 3 was 4-3 going into the bottom of the fourth when LSU put 6 runs on the board capped off by a 3-run homer from Tommy White.
Crews continues to show why he should be the top pick in the MLB Draft collecting 8 hits on the weekend, scoring seven times, driving in seven, and he’s now hit a home run in four straight games giving him nine on the year.
LSU has another big test at home next weekend facing Tennessee who got back on track with a sweep this past weekend.
Arkansas heads back home to host Alabama.
South Carolina got the sweep at home, but this was a very tight series.
In game 1, South Carolina scored 4 runs in the bottom of the ninth to walk it off on a throwing error that went into the dugout.
Despite the loss, Luke Mann had an incredible game for Missouri going 4-5 with 3 home runs and 6 RBI. Will McGillis had 4 RBI for the Gamecocks.
Noah Hall shut down the Missouri offense in game two holding them to 1 earned run in 7 innings with 10 strikeouts. Gavin Casas (4-5, 1 HR) and Evan Stone (2-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI) provided the offense for South Carolina in the 8-1 win.
The finale went 12 innings before Ethan Petry walked it off with a bases loaded single.
Petry also had a big 2-run home run in the eighth inning to tie the game.
Matthew Becker threw the last 3 innings for the Gamecocks without allowing a run and striking out five Tigers.
South Carolina will take their undefeated SEC record to a struggling Mississippi State team this weekend. Missouri will try to pick themselves up against a red hot Kentucky team.
While sweeping Mississippi State at home may not have put the Wildcats on the radar of many people, getting a road series win in Tuscaloosa is certainly impressive.
This was another very tight series with Kentucky taking game one 4-3 in 12 innings. After taking an early 3-0 lead, Alabama tied it in the bottom of the 9th.
What makes Kentucky so great is they take advantage of the little things in a game – walks, hit batters, wild pitches, sac bunts, etc.– and that’s how they won the opener, with a wild pitch.
Ben Hess was great for Alabama in game one striking out 10 over 6.1 innings and allowing just 2 earned runs on 5 hits and a walk.
Zach Hise and Ryan Hagenow tossed 3 scoreless, hitless innings for Kentucky in extra-innings.
Kentucky continued to show their grit in game two by collecting 10 hits, 5 walks, 4 hit batters, and 4 stolen bases in a 9-5 win.
Their bullpen also continued to shut things down as Jackson Nove and Hagenow combined for 3 scoreless innings with 5 strikeouts to close it out and prevent the comeback from Alabama.
The Crimson Tide were finally able to complete a comeback in game three as Jim Jarvis scored on a wild play at the plate to tie it in the eighth. Then, Andrew Pickney delivered the go-ahead hit for the 4-3 win.
Grayson Hitt had a good day on the mound for Alabama allowing just 1 earned run on 5 hits and 2 walks over 6 innings with 5 strikeouts.
Kentucky is starting to look like a legitimate threat in the SEC, and now they go home to face another SEC team trying to prove they belong in Missouri.
Alabama salvaged the weekend, but now they have to go on the road to face Arkansas.
Texas A&M didn’t make it easy for Tennessee this past weekend, but the Volunteers looked much more comfortable at home coming away with the sweep.
Tennessee scored 7 runs in the first 2 innings of game one, which was plenty for Chase Dollander who went 6.2 innings with 8 strikeouts.
The Volunteers had to come from behind in game two scoring 3 runs in the bottom of the seventh to tie it and then walk it off in the ninth for an 8-7 win.
It was the Zane Denton show in game three as he went 3-3 with 2 home runs and 5 RBI in the 9-6 win. Texas A&M scored some runs late to make the score a little more respectable.
While Tennessee does get the much-needed sweep at home, it was the second weekend in a row where their vaunted starting pitching didn’t look invincible.
Now they travel to Baton Rouge to face one of the best lineups in all of baseball and the number one team in the country in LSU.
Texas A&M is off to a rough start, but so is their next SEC opponent in Ole Miss, in the friendly confines of Olsen Field.
On a weekend where the Florida starting rotation had some hiccups, their offense proved powerful enough to overcome it scoring 28 runs in their sweep over Ole Miss.
In game one the Gators had to comeback scoring 4 runs in the 8th and 2 in the 9th. Cade Kurland had the big hit in the eighth with a bases clearing double to take the lead.
Jac Caglianone continued his home run barrage going deep twice in game one.
He and Wyatt Langford – who returned from injury this past weekend – both homered in game two leading Florida to a 12-8 win. BT Riopelle had a big day as well, going 2-4 with a home run, a triple, and 3 RBI.
Kurland continues to hit for the Gators as he went 3-5 in a 7-4 win in game three with 4 RBI. Luke Heyman hit a couple of home runs, and so did Cags, who finished the weekend with 7 hits, 4 runs, 5 RBI, and 4 home runs.
Florida will host Auburn next weekend while Ole Miss will try to get their first SEC win of the year at Texas A&M.
Mississippi State is fully on the struggle bus, but don’t let that take away from the fact Vanderbilt’s offense has hit another gear since conference play started.
They scored 55 runs in their sweep over the Bulldogs this past weekend … FIFTY-FIVE!
Parker Noland had the game of his life in game one driving in 11 runs on 5 hits, while RJ Schreck drove in a meager 8 runs with a pair of home runs in a 26-3 win.
So that they could get a full 9 innings in, Vanderbilt waited until the ninth inning to break it out scoring 9 runs in the frame for an 18-5 win. Davis Diaz drove in 4 runs and Enrique Bradfield Jr. went 3-4 with 3 RBI, 2 BB, and 2 SB.
Game three was a little more competitive with Vanderbilt winning 11-7. Diaz had another good game going 2-3 with 3 runs and 3 RBI.
Mississippi State gets a second straight weekend at home to try and get their first SEC win, but they’re going up against a hot South Carolina team who is undefeated in conference play and is great at finding ways to win.
Vanderbilt will put their undefeated conference record on the line at home next weekend against Georgia.
Both teams came into the weekend desperately needing a series victory, and it was the home team Auburn that got it done.
It looked like Georgia was going to take the advantage in game one before Auburn scored 3 runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie it and then later walked it off on a bases loaded walk.
Bryson Ware had a home run and 3 RBI in the first game.
Justin Kirby hit a big 3-run home run for Auburn in the sixth to give them a 5-3 lead. They eventually went on to win 6-3 to clinch the series.
Georgia survived the road series with a big 24-7 win in game three thanks in part to a 16-run top of the eighth.
Parks Harber was 5-6 with 4 runs, 5 RBI, 1 HR, and 2 doubles. Will David had 4 hits, Mason LaPlante had 5 RBI, and Connor Tate had a pair of home runs for Georgia in the win.
Both teams face difficult road tests next weekend with Auburn going to Florida and Georgia traveling to Vanderbilt.
SEC Power Rankings Week 6
5. South Carolina
7. Missouri (up 1)
8. Kentucky (up 4)
9. Ole Miss (down 2)
10. Alabama (down 1)
11. Texas A&M (down 1)
12. Auburn (up 1)
13. Georgia (down 2)
14. Mississippi State