The SEC is not having the type of year we’re used to seeing with so many teams underperforming. But some of those teams are getting hot down the stretch.
The battle just to get to Hoover for the SEC Baseball Tournament is fierce, and Kentucky did a lot to help their chances with a huge series win over the number one team in the country.
What in the Wildcats is going on!
Tennessee, the unanimous number one team in the country, had not lost a weekend series all year … until now. And, of course, it came against the least likely of teams in the Kentucky Wildcats.
This was the only Thursday night game this week and it didn’t disappoint as Kentucky walked it off in the 13th inning for a 3-2 win.
On Friday, the Wildcats jumped out to a 3-0 lead before the game was suspended at 4-2 in the 8th and had to be completed on Saturday with the Wildcats holding on and winning 5-2.
Tennessee finally got the bats going on Saturday and won 7-2 to avoid the sweep.
The series win was huge for Kentucky in a number of wins, but mainly, it keeps them in the race to get to Hoover.
Are Vandy and Florida Back?
Perhaps two of the most disappointing teams in the SEC this year are Vanderbilt and Florida but both had big weekends showing signs that they could be ready to breakout.
With the lack of pitching and injury to Hunter Barco, the Gators are having to lean more on their offense. They got plenty of it in a sweep over Mississippi State this weekend scoring a total of 23 runs on the weekend.
On Friday, Wyatt Langford was 3-4 with a home run, walk and 3 runs scored, while BT Riopelle was 4-4 with a home run and 6 RBI.
Vanderbilt got a huge series win on the road over a ranked Georgia team. On Friday, leadoff man Enrique Bradfield Jr. reached base five times and scored 4 runs.
It was the pitching on Sunday that helped Vandy clinch the series. Freshman Carter Holton tossed 6 scoreless innings allowing 4 hits and 2 walks with 5 strikeouts.
Vanderbilt is now just one game behind Georgia for second place in the SEC East, while Florida created separation from the bottom of the conference.
Down to Two in SEC West Race
Arkansas won a big showdown at Auburn this past weekend winning the Friday and Saturday games by scores of 11-8 and 7-4. All three games were separated by 3 runs or fewer in a very competitive and entertaining series.
With just two weeks left, you have to figure it will be a tall task for Auburn to come back and win the SEC West after falling three games behind the Razorbacks.
Same can be said for LSU who remains two games back of the Hogs after a series win over Alabama.
That leaves one real threat to Arkansas in the West with Texas A&M who got a series win over South Carolina. The offense broke out in the first two games scoring a combined 29 runs.
They are two games back of Arkansas now but hold the head-to-head tie-breaker after winning the series in College Station back in late April.
Missouri in trouble after getting swept by Ole Miss
Ole Miss is another team that has underperformed this season, but perhaps they’re getting hot at the right time after sweeping Missouri at home.
Kemp Alderman was 4-4 with 3 RBI in their Friday night win. Hunter Elliott struck out 9 over 7 innings in Saturday’s win. Kevin Graham was 5-5 with 2 home runs and 3 RBI to help complete the sweep on Sunday.
Even with the sweep, and Mississippi State getting swept, those two remained tied for last place in the SEC West. And they’re tied with Kentucky for that last spot in (or out, depending on how you look at it) for Hoover.
Missouri is now two games behind those teams and it appears they’ll be one of the two left out of Hoover.