A top five matchup between Tennessee and Ole Miss was the highlight of the weekend in the SEC, but several other teams made noise as well.
The SEC schedule rolls along and teams begin building that postseason resume by looking for huge conference wins. Who took a step forward in week two of conference play?
The Clear No. 1 – Tennessee Volunteers
You want to make a loud statement and prove you’re the number one team in not just the SEC, but the country, go on the road at Ole Miss and come away with a sweep.
That’s exactly what Tennessee did this past weekend, and they did so in an overwhelming fashion.
The Volunteers won the first two games by scores of 12-1 and 10-3 before holding on for a slim 4-3 win on Sunday to complete the sweep.
Everyone talks about the Tennessee offense, which is the best in the country, but it’s their pitching staff that makes them so dangerous.
Chase Burns put together another fabulous performance going 7 innings and allowing just 1 earned run on 2 hits with no walks and 11 strikeouts on Friday. The freshman is 5-0 on the season with a no-decision against Texas.
Chase Dollander followed that up with a 10 strikeout performance on Saturday over 6.1 shutout innings.
Drew Beam gave up just 1 earned run on 3 hits with no walk over 7.1 innings with 6 strikeouts.
For Tennessee starters on the weekend, that’s 20.2 innings, 8 hits, 1 walk, 2 earned runs, and 27 strikeouts.
South Carolina and Kentucky Get Big Upset Wins at Home
Winning on the road in the SEC is tough as Vanderbilt and Georgia demonstrated over the weekend.
Both of the ranked favorites won their respective Friday night games, but South Carolina and Kentucky bounced back to win the next two for huge conference series wins to help their at-large chances.
South Carolina is an interesting case as they’re just 12-11 on the season but have series wins over Vanderbilt and Texas at home.
Gamecocks starter Will Sanders continues to impress, picking up the win on Saturday after allowing just 2 earned runs on 6 hits and 2 walks over 7 innings with 11 strikeouts.
Braylen Wimmer had a huge weekend at the plate for South Carolina with 6 hits, 4 runs scored, and 5 RBI (all came as part of a 2 home run day on Sunday).
After dropping the first game of the weekend to Georgia 4-2, Kentucky’s bats broke out over the next two games scoring a combined 28 runs.
Adam Fogel had back-to-back 3-hit games for the Wildcats with 3 runs, 4 RBI, and a pair of doubles.
Chase Estep was 3-for-4 on Sunday for Kentucky with 5 runs scored, 3 RBI, 2 walks, a double, and a home run.
LSU and Texas A&M Go in Different Directions After Opening Weekend
Maybe one of the biggest stunners from week one in the SEC was Texas A&M going on the road to win a series at LSU.
Going into week two, the question was how each team would follow that up.
LSU bounced back and got a huge series win at Florida, while Texas A&M wasn’t able to keep up the momentum at home with a series loss to Auburn.
Hunter Barco was able to shut down LSU on Friday night with 7 shutout innings allowing just 2 hits and 3 walks with 8 strikeouts.
But then the LSU bats broke out in 16-2 and 11-2 wins in the final two games. They’re going to win a lot of Saturday and Sunday games with those bats against teams who don’t have a lot of depth at pitching, which Florida is still trying to figure out.
Brayden Jobert knocked in 9 runs over those final two games for LSU with 3 home runs.
The A&M and Auburn series was highly entertaining as the first two games both went to extra-innings with the two teams splitting the pair.
Then the Sunday game went back-and-forth before Auburn pulled away late.
Playing in just the final two games of the series, Auburn’s Cole Foster picked up 5 hits, 3 runs, 3 RBI, a double, and 2 home runs on the weekend.
It was a big series road win for Auburn who came in at 45 on our latest Top 50.
Missed Opportunity for Alabama in Starkville
If you would have said coming into the year that Alabama would pick up a win in Starkville against the defending champions I think most would have considered that a good weekend for the Crimson Tide.
But not with the way Mississippi State has looked to start the season, and not after watching Alabama blow leads in the 9th in the first two games.
Alabama held a 6-4 lead going into the bottom of the 9th on Friday before the Bulldogs tied it and then RJ Yeager hit a walk-off home run in the 10th, which was definitely the highlight of the weekend.
On Saturday, the Crimson Tide were up 7-4 in the ninth and gave up 4 runs as Mississippi State walked them off again.
Alabama was able to hold on Sunday for a 6-2 win to at least get one on the weekend, which was a must not just for NCAA Tournament chances, but for their chances of getting to Hoover for the SEC Baseball Tournament.
As for Mississippi State, you have to give them a ton of credit for not giving up when everything seems to be going against them this year. It was a series they should have won, and they did.
Razorbacks Take Care of Business Against Missouri
It wasn’t the overly dominant weekend for Arkansas that maybe some thought they would have against Missouri, but they got a series win on the road.
All three games were decided by two runs with Arkansas taking games one and three.
Cayden Wallace continues to set the pace atop the Arkansas lineup with 5 hits and 3 walks on the weekend while scoring 4 runs.
Again, there was nothing spectacular about it, Arkansas just did as Arkansas does … win. They’re now 18-4, 5-1 on the season and look like the top 5 team we thought they’d be.
SEC Pitcher of the Year Race
Chase Burns, UT – 33.2 IP, 0.80 ERA, 0.744 WHIP, 45 Ks
Hunter Barco, UF - 38.1 IP, 1.41 ERA, 0.627 WHIP, 52 Ks
Jonathan Cannon, UGA - 41.1 IP, 1.96 ERA, 0.605 WHIP, 43 Ks
Chris McElvain, VU - 32.1 IP, 1.95 ERA, 0.991 WHIP, 43 Ks
Chase Dollander, UT – 30.1 IP, 2.67 ERA, 0.858 WHIP, 54 Ks
SEC Hitter of the Year Race
Trey Lipscomb, UT - .382/.448/.843, 10 HR, 44 RBI
Dylan Crews, LSU - .364/.449/.657, 6 HR, 28 RBI
Wyatt Langford, UF - .360/.447/.719, 9 HR, 26 RBI, 5 SB
Jacob Berry, LSU - .343/.422/.646, 8 HR, 25 RBI
Dominic Keegan, VU - .422/.505/.735, 5 HR, 25 RBI
Chase Estep, UK - .417/.521/.792, 8 HR, 26 RBI, 8 SB