Week three of conference play featured a marquee matchup in Baton Rouge between top-ranked LSU and Tennessee.
There were a lot of matchups between ranked and unranked teams, giving some teams at the bottom of the conference a chance to make some noise.
Ultimately, all of the ranked teams won their series this past weekend showing that separation between the top and the bottom of the SEC.
In what was one of the most anticipated series of the year, LSU got a big series win at home over Tennessee.
It was also a highly anticipated pitching matchup, with Paul Skenes outdueling Chase Dollander in game one. Skenes lasted 7 innings giving up just 1 earned run on 5 hits and 1 walk with 12 strikeouts.
Dollander gave up 2 earned runs on 4 hits and 3 walks with 3 strikeouts in 4.2 innings.
Tennessee tied the game at 2 in the top of the 8th, but a costly 2-out error by the Volunteers in the bottom half eventually led to a bases-clearing double by Jordan Thompson to make it 5-2.
LSU jumped on Tennessee starter Chase Burns early in game two with 4 doubles in the first inning to take a 3-1 lead.
Zane Denton hit a 2-run homer in the 4th to momentarily put Tennessee on top, but LSU answered with back-to-back homers in the bottom half to regain the lead and ultimately win 6-4 to take the series.
The Volunteers did not come away from the weekend empty handed as they scored 10 runs in the first 2 innings of game three on their way to a 14-7 victory.
LSU has another tough task next weekend as they travel to face South Carolina, and things don’t get much easier for Tennessee as they host Florida.
South Carolina-Mississippi State
The Bulldogs got their first SEC win of the year, but they dropped the series at home to South Carolina.
Cole Messina had a big 2-run homer for South Carolina in game one to break up a 3-3 tie in the top of the seventh to help lead the Gamecocks to a 6-4 win.
In one of the bigger surprises of the year, Mississippi State run-ruled South Carolina and starter Noah Hall in game two with a 13-3 win.
Hunter Hines had 4 hits, including a home run, while Slate Alford also had 4 hits but he had 2 home runs.
The Gamecocks got some revenge in game three with a 14-5 win.
The top four in South Carolina’s order (Braylen Wimmer, Gavin Casas, Ethan Petry, and Messina combined for 11 hits, 8 runs, and 11 RBI.
Of note, Will Sanders was pulled from the South Carolina rotation and didn’t pitch at all this past weekend, but the team is saying he isn’t injured.
South Carolina will host top-ranked LSU this weekend while Mississippi State will travel to Alabama.
The Crimson Tide pounded out 22 hits in game one against Arkansas in a 12-1 win. Hagan Banks tossed 4 perfect innings in relief of Ben Hess striking out five.
Game two of this series was a classic as the two sides exchanged blows throughout. Alabama took a 4-0 lead in the fourth inning, but Arkansas tied it up by the end of the sixth.
Andrew Pickney homered in the 7th to give Alabama the lead again only to see Arkansas comeback in the bottom half with a big 2-RBI double by Tavian Josenberger.
The Crimson Tide would tie it in the top of the 8th, but Arkansas would take the lead for good in the bottom half as they scored 3 runs.
Game three was a tight one as well with both teams scoring 2 runs in the first inning. Alabama tied it at four in the top of the sixth, but a Parker Rowland RBI single in the bottom of half of the inning put Arkansas back on top for good with a 6-5 win.
The Razorbacks will travel to Ole Miss next weekend while Alabama will try to get their first SEC series win of the year at home against Mississippi State.
Vanderbilt remains the last undefeated team in SEC play after sweeping Georgia this past weekend.
Georgia took a 2-0 lead early against Vanderbilt in game one, but then the Commodores scored nine unanswered for the 9-2 win.
RJ Schrek and RJ Austin both drove in three while Carter Holton struck out 10 in 7 innings.
Chris Maldonado led a 16 run output by Vanderbilt in their game two win with 3 runs, 3 hits, 3 RBI, and 2 walks.
It was the pitching that led the way in game three as Devin Futrell tossed 8 scoreless innings allowing just 3 hits with 7 strikeouts in a 4-0 win.
Maldonado continued his good weekend with 3 hits, including a home run.
Vanderbilt will try to keep the streak alive next weekend against Missouri. Georgia will host a red hot Kentucky team.
At some point you have to look at the success Kentucky is having this season and realize it’s for real – we’re at that point.
Both of these teams were out to surprisingly good starts, but Kentucky showed they belong near the top of the SEC with a convincing series win on the road.
They run-ruled Missouri in the first two games by scores of 12-2 and 10-0 with some impressive pitching.
Darren Williams, Austin Strickland, Tyler Bosma, and Evan Byers combined to allow just 2 earned runs on 9 hits and 4 walks in 15 innings in the first two games.
Hunter Gilliam had 5 hits and 6 RBI in those first two games to help lead the offense.
The Wildcats used six pitchers in game three to hold Missouri to just 1 run despite issuing 9 walks.
Grant Smith had the go-ahead hit in the fifth inning for Kentucky in a 3-1 win to seal the sweep. Kentucky will hope to continue their start in Athens this weekend where they’ll face a struggling Georgia team.
Missouri will host a Vandy team that has looked like the best team in the country since conference play started.
For the second straight weekend now Florida pitching gave up a lot of runs but still managed a series win thanks to a deadly offensive lineup.
Auburn jumped on Brandon Sproat in game one knocking him out after just 1.1 innings and piling up 8 runs against him on their way to a 10-1 win.
Ike Irish had a double, home run, and 4 RBI. Tanner Bauman was great in relief for the Tigers tossing 4 shutout innings allowing just 1 hit and 2 walks with 4 strikeouts to pick up the win.
Jac Caglionone helped Florida answer in game two with a 2-run homer early and a 2-RBI triple late that helped break the game open and lift the Gators to a 12-5 win.
Florida fell behind 8-3 in the third game, but then they scored 3, 2, 4, and 5 runs in the last four innings they batted for a 17-8 win.
Luke Heyman had another good Sunday driving in 8 runs on 3 hits and 2 walks with a home run.
The Gators travel to Knoxville next weekend in what figures to be an entertaining series with Tennessee. Auburn will host Texas A&M.
Texas A&M-Ole Miss
Thanks to a Ryan Targac walk-off home run in game three, Texas A&M got their first SEC series win of the year.
Also in that game three, Evan Aschenbeck continued his great work out of the bullpen of late with 4 innings allowing just 1 earned run on 1 hit with no walks and 5 strikeouts.
A Jace LaVioette grand slam in the 7th inning of game one helped Texas A&M to an 8-6 victory. Brett Minnich had a pair of solo home runs for the Aggies in that game as well.
Ole Miss got their first SEC win of the year in game two as the offense scored 14 runs thanks in part to 11 walks by A&M pitching.
The Aggies head to The Plains next weekend to battle for that third spot in the SEC West with Auburn. Ole Miss is one of three SEC teams with just one conference win, but now they host Arkansas this weekend with a chance to get back in the SEC West race.
SEC Power Rankings Week 7
2. Vanderbilt (up one)
3. Florida (down one)
5. South Carolina
7. Kentucky (up one)
8. Missouri (down one)
9. Alabama (up one)
10. Texas A&M (up one)
11. Ole Miss (down two)
14. Mississippi State