It was the first week of conference play in the SEC with every team trying to get off to a hot start in what is sure to be a grueling, but fun, 10 weeks of action.
There aren’t many weekends in the SEC where you don’t have a couple of ranked matchups, and the first conference weekend featured No. 5 Tennessee versus No. 25 South Carolina.
Almost all of the top teams in the conference asserted their dominance, but there was one big surprise on the weekend down in Baton Rouge, La.
Aggies Pick Up Huge Series Win on the Road Over LSU
Texas A&M looked like one of the worst teams in the SEC over the first four weeks of the season with just a 10-6 record and series loss to Penn.
But the Aggies flipped the script in Baton Rouge, shocking the No. 6 LSU Tigers in what was the most entertaining series of the weekend.
In each of the first two games LSU came back to tie it in the bottom of the 8th only to see Texas A&M score in the top of the 9th and win.
On Sunday, LSU scored in the bottom of the 8th again – this time to break a tie – and were able to hold on and salvage a game on the weekend despite getting out-hit 17-11 in the game.
Dylan Rock had a big weekend at the plate for the Aggies with 2 hits in each game with 4 runs scored, 3 RBI, and 2 home runs on the weekend.
Georgia Takes Down the Champs in Conference Opener
It was a rough week for the defending champs in Mississippi State as they found out they’re losing their ace and team leader, Landon Sims, for the rest of the season.
Things didn’t get better over the weekend after they lost their series to Georgia and the pitching staff gave up 23 runs in the first two games.
On Friday, the Bulldogs of Georgia, led by SEC Pitcher of the Year candidate Jonathan Cannon, shutout Mississippi State 11-0. Cannon tossed 8 shutout innings allowing just 3 hits with no walks with 9 strikeouts. Before the score got out of hand on Friday, Mississippi’s State Preston Johnson was really solid with 10 strikeouts over 6 innings while only allowing 3 earned runs on 5 hits and a walk.
After the shutout on Friday, Saturday was a highly entertaining game with some big swings that ended in a Georgia walk-off.
Mississippi State finally got some revenge on Sunday with a huge 20-3 win.
Vanderbilt, Tennessee, and Arkansas Make Cases for No. 1
It’s becoming pretty apparent who the top teams in the SEC are right now between Vanderbilt, Tennessee, and Arkansas, and they all made a case to be the No. 1 team in the nation with sweeps at their respective home stadiums to start conference play.
The Commodores dispatched Missouri with scores of 15-2, 6-0, and 7-4.
Leadoff man Enrique Bradfield Jr. had 7 hits over the weekend with 5 runs scored and 4 RBI. Shortstop Carter Young had 7 hits and scored 5 runs as well.
The starting pitching was excellent for Vandy with Chris McElvain giving up just 1 earned run on 2 hits and a walk over 6 innings with 8 strikeouts on Friday. Carter Holton and Christian Little combined for a 3-hit shutout on Saturday with 14 strikeouts (Holton pitched 7 of those innings).
Tennessee may have the best pitching staff in the country, and they proved that in a sweep over South Carolina in which they only allowed 5 runs on the weekend.
Chase Burns is challenging for the SEC Freshman of the Year as he continues to impress each week. On Friday he went 6.2 innings giving up just 1 earned run on 2 hits and 2 walks with 9 strikeouts.
Then Chase Dollander went out on Saturday and gave up just 1 earned run on 3 hits and a walk over 5 innings with 7 strikeouts.
Drew Beam finished the weekend off tossing 7.2 shutout innings and giving up just 1 hit with no walks and 3 strikeouts. That’s a combined 2 earned runs in 19.1 innings for Tennessee starting pitching over the weekend.
At the plate, Evan Russell had a big weekend with 4 hits, 3 runs, 6 RBI, and 3 home runs.
Meanwhile, the Razorbacks only allowed 5 runs to Kentucky over the weekend in a sweep.
Leading the Razorbacks’ offense, Robert Moore had 4 hits on the weekend, scored 3 runs, drove in 6, and hit a homer.
Connor Noland, Hagen Smith, and Jaxon Wiggins all went at least 6 innings over the weekend with 22 combined strikeouts and just 4 earned runs allowed.
Ole Miss Wins a Back-and-Forth Slugfest with Auburn
It was a highly unusual back-and-forth series in Auburn where Ole Miss won the first game 13-6, Auburn took the second game 19-5, and then Ole Miss returned the beating on Saturday 15-2.
Ole Miss shortstop Jacob Gonzalez had 5 hits on the weekend, with 7 runs scored, 2 doubles, and 2 home runs. Tim Elko had 5 hits with 7 RBI and a home run.
Auburn’s Blake Rambusch picked up 8 hits on the weekend to go along with 4 runs scored and 6 RBI.
Florida Nearly Gets a Sweep on the Road Against Alabama
It was looking like Florida was going to get a clean sweep in Tuscaloosa before the Crimson Tide battled back to walk it off on Sunday for the 8-7 win.
But the Gators still managed to get the road series win.
Hunter Barco continued his brilliant 2022 season going 8 innings on Friday and allowing just 1 earned run on 4 hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts. He has double-digit strikeouts in three-of-five starts this year and 44 strikeouts in 31.1 innings with a 1.72 ERA.
Wyatt Langford had 7 hits on the weekend, including two 3-hits games, while scoring 7 runs, driving in 6, and hitting 3 home runs.
For Alabama, Zane Denton had 4 hits and 4 RBI on the weekend, including the walk-off RBI single on Sunday.
Game of the Weekend
After blowing out Mississippi State on Friday night 11-0, Georgia had to work for the win on Saturday.
Mississippi State took a 3-0 lead early but their lead was just 6-4 going into the bottom of the sixth before Georgia put up a six-spot to take a 10-6 lead.
But the Bulldogs in maroon answered in the seventh with a four-spot to tie it at 10. Georgia scored a go-ahead run in the bottom of the eighth just to watch Mississippi State tie it back up in the top of the 9th.
Georgia loaded the bases in the bottom half with just one out setting up this Cole Tate walk-off: