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SEC Weekly Roundup (March 15-17): Feels Good to Be Home

It’s challenging to win in the SEC and even more difficult to win on the road as we saw in week one of conference play as every home team won their series. 

That includes Mississippi State’s big series win over LSU. The Bulldogs offense had a huge weekend scoring 33 total runs, and the weekend ended with a run-rule victory of 15-5. 

Mississippi State’s Hunter Hines had a big weekend hitting 3 home runs in their two wins. Aaron Downs picked up 7 hits and scored 5 runs, while on the mound Nolan Stevens struck out 8 in 5.2 innings on Friday night. 

LSU managed a 9-8 win on Saturday thanks to a 3-RBI game from Tommy White who also hit 3 tanks on the weekend. 

Easily the most entertaining matchup of the weekend was Texas A&M at Florida. All three games were decided by 4 runs or less and had several dramatic moments. 

The teams exchanged blows on Friday night leading to a 6-6 tie after just 4 innings. Florida used 5 home runs to get the 8-6 win, including two by Jac Caglianone. But a Cade Kurland homer in the sixth gave them the lead. 

After a round second inning for Florida starter Cade Fisher that saw him give up 5 runs, he settled in and ended the game with 10 strikeouts over 6 innings. Brandon Neely pitched the final 3 innings to secure the victory.  

On Saturday it was the Aggies who used the long ball getting one each from Braden Montgomery, Gavin Grahovac, and Jace LaViolette. That helped them build an early 8-3 lead and they held on for the 10-6 win as Evan Aschenbeck settled the game down on the mound for Texas A&M tossing 4 shutout innings with 6 strikeouts. 

Sunday’s game was the best of the weekend with Texas A&M twice taking a 1-run lead only to see Florida immediately tie it up. 

Caglianone continued his good work on the mound this year by allowing just 1 earned run over 5.1 innings with 7 strikeouts.

But then it was Tyler Shelnut’s moment in the 8th as he hit the go-ahead and eventual game-winning homer. 

Neely pitched two more scoreless innings for the Gators with 4 strikeouts, while Luke McNeillie picked up the save. 

The weekend got out to a rough start for Alabama as they were beaten 11-3 by Tennessee on Friday night. The Volunteer offense did a great job making Ben Hess work as he walked 5 batters leading to 4 earned runs over just 3.2 innings. 

But the Crismon Tide picked themselves up and came out ready to play on Saturday jumping out to a 6-0 lead against Tennessee starter Drew Beam. 

The All-American settled down and ended up pitching a complete game for Tennessee, which allowed them the chance to come back. But Alabama closer Alton Davis II shut the door with 2 scoreless frames to give his team the 6-3 win. 

The finale saw Tennessee jump out to a 4-1 lead, but Alabama was able to tie it up on a Will Hodo home run in the fourth. 

Both offenses had plenty of baserunners but couldn’t take advantage. Tennessee did scratch across a run in the 7th to take a 1-run lead. 

In the eighth inning, after it looked like Kavares Tears made a game-saving catch for Tennesee, Alabama’s Gage Miller hit a 2-out, 3-run homer to give Alabama the lead. 

A couple of Alabama errors in the 9th allowed a run to score and loaded the bases, but Aidan Moza got the big strikeout to seal the deal and the series for the Crimson Tide. 

Like their in-state rivals, Ole Miss got a big boost of confidence to start SEC play with a series win over South Carolina

After South Carolina jumped out to an early lead on Friday night, a Luke Hill 2-RBI double in the sixth gave Ole Miss the lead. Three walks loaded the bases in the seventh for Ole Miss. Treyson Hughes hit into a double-play that scored a run, and it ended up being the deciding factor in a 5-4 victory. 

An 8-run inning on Saturday turned a close game into a route in favor of Ole Miss. Ethan Groff and Andrew Fischer were a big part of the Ole Miss offense with a combined 6 hits, 6 runs, 7 RBI, and 4 home runs (3 of them by Fischer). 

South Carolina did manage to survive the road series with a 6-2 win on Sunday. They got a good performance out of the bullpen from Matthew Becker who gave up just 2 earned runs over 5.1 innings. 

Kentucky put a rough weekend against Kennesaw State behind them to get a sweep over Georgia this past weekend. The offense was hot all weekend in 16-10, 9-3, and 12-2 wins. 

But it was the pitching by Dominic Niman (6.2 IP and 0 ER on Sunday) and Mason Moore (6 IP, 2 ER, and 8 Ks on Sunday) that helped carry them to the sweep. 

Leadoff hitter Ryan Waldschmidt led the way in the first two games with a combined 6 hits and 6 runs scored. While Ryan Nicholson drove them in with 5 hits, 6 RBI, and 2 home runs on the weekend. 

Vanderbilt didn’t give Auburn much of a chance this past weekend with 11-1 (8), 13-5, and 9-6 wins. 

Carter Holton allowed just 1 earned run over 7 innings on Friday with 9 strikeouts, while Bryce Cunningham also allowed just 1 earned run on Saturday in 5 innings. 

Auburn did hold a slim 5-4 lead going into the sixth on Sunday, but then Davis and Jonathan Vastine each picked up 2-run doubles. 

Vanderbilt’s offense had a combined 47 hits on the weekend – led by Jayden Davis and Alan Espinal who each had 8 hits. 

Baseball can be a cruel sport sometimes, and that’s what Missouri has to be thinking as they had to open conference play against the number one team in the country.

Arkansas’ pitching staff held Missouri to just 1 run on the weekend in a sweep with 8-0, 6-0, and 9-1 victories. 

Hagan Smith continues to be a cheat code. Despite the increase in offense around college baseball, he tossed another 6 shutout innings with 10 strikeouts on Friday. 

In 5 starts this year now, Smith has given up just 4 earned runs (3 of those in week one) on 8 hits and 8 walks with 50 strikeouts in 23 innings. 

Nolan Souza had a big day at the plate for Arkansas on Friday with 3 hits, including 2 home runs. 

Brady Tygart and Will McEntire combined for a 1-hitter on Saturday, while Arkansas’ top three hitters in the lineup (Peyton Stovall, Wehiwa Aloy, and Kendall Diggs) all went deep. 

Mason Molina struck out 10 in 5.1 scoreless innings on Saturday for the Razorbacks to finish off the sweep. 

SEC Power Rankings

Tier 1

1. Arkansas 

2. Vanderbilt (up 3)

3. Florida (up 4)

4. Texas A&M (down 2)

5. LSU (down 2)

Tier 2

6. Alabama (up 2)

7. Tennessee (down 3)

8. Mississippi State (up 4)

9. Ole Miss (up 4)

10. South Carolina (down 2)

Tier 3

11. Auburn (down 1)

12. Kentucky (up 1)

13. Georgia (down 4)

Tier 4

14. Missouri 


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