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SEC Weekly Roundup (May 9-12): It’s Now or Never

While the SEC Tournament can help some bubble teams get that final win or two to put their resume over the top, next weekend will be the best chance for teams like LSU and Alabama to solidify themselves as a postseason team. 

Those two teams, specifically, faced off this past weekend in need of a series win to give themselves a chance of locking up a postseason spot in the final weekend. 

In game one, it looked like LSU was going to be that team as they were up 7-3 going into the bottom of the eighth. The Crimson Tide scored 3 runs in the eighth inning and with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, they got a walk, walk, hit by pitch, and error that led to a walk-off win. 

Luke Holman helped even the series against his former team with a 6-3 win on Saturday. 

Ben Hess had his best start of the year in game three of this series allowing just 1 earned run on 3 hits over 6.2 innings with 10 strikeouts. LSU mounted a late comeback but fell short in a 4-3 win for Alabama and a huge series victory. 

Alabama will be looking to lock up a postseason spot next weekend against their rival in Auburn, while LSU will be at home against a hot Ole Miss team. 

No one thought we’d be talking about now or never at this point of the year for Vanderbilt, but they struggled at home to rival Tennessee this past weekend. 

Commodore starting Bryce Cunningham struck out 10 over 6.2 innings, but the bullpen allowed 5 runs including home runs to Kavares Tears and Cannon Peebles as Tennessee won 8-4. 

It was the bullpen that cost Vanderbilt again on Saturday after a fine start from Carter Holton. 

A 3-run shot by Christian Moore put Tennessee ahead in the sixth, and then an RBI single from Moore in the seventh was the difference in a 7-6 win. 

The good starting pitching for Vanderbilt continued on Sunday and this time it continued in the bullpen. JD Thompson and Devin Futrell combined to hold down the Tennessee offense to just 3 hits over 9 innings with 14 strikeouts and no runs. 

Alan Espinal homered in the first for Vanderbilt and Jonathan Vastine drove in two more in the second, which was plenty in a 3-0 win to avoid the sweep. 

Vanderbilt will have a little work to do next weekend against Kentucky. 

Another team no one expected to be sweating out the final weekend is Florida. But after a series loss at home to Kentucky, the Gators will need at least two wins next weekend at Georgia. 

The Gators have had some tough luck this year losing seven SEC games by a single run, and the two games they lost this past weekend to Kentucky came in extra-innings. 

They had a 6-3 lead in game one before Kentucky scored 3 runs in the eighth, ninth, and 10th innings for a 12-11 win. Nick Lopez has a bases-clearing double for the Wildcats in that 10th inning. 

Liam Peterson and Ryan Slater combined to allow just 1 run in game two while Luke Heyman hit a pair of home runs in Florida’s 10-1 win. 

Jac Caglianone only allowed 2 hits in 6.1 innings in the finale, but gave up 3 runs (1 earned). Tyler Shelnut hit a solo home run in the ninth inning to tie the game and send it to extras. 

But Florida closer, Brandon Neely, ran out of gas in the 10th and allowed 4 runs. Patrick Herrera had the bases-clearing double for the Wildcats in the 10th this time. 

Ole Miss continues to stay in the hunt with a big series win at home against Texas A&M this past weekend. 

It took a lot of fight in the first game as they got an RBI double from Jackson Ross to tie it and then a sacrifice fly out from Ethan Groff in the eighth to take the lead and win 4-3. 

Riley Maddox was great on the mound for Ole Miss allowing just 2 earned runs over 6 innings with 7 strikeouts. 

Liam Doyle delivered a big performance on the mound in game two for Ole Miss allowing just 1 run on 4 hits over 6 innings with 7 strikeouts. That was plenty as the Ole Miss offense jumped out to a 9-1 lead after 4 innings and cruised to a 10-2 victory. 

It was Texas A&M looking to survive the weekend with a win, and they got it on Sunday in a 6-0 victory behind a great performance on the mound from Shane Sdao (7 IP, 3 H, 1 BB, 0 ER, 6 Ks). 

After starting 7-8 in SEC play, Mississippi State has looked like one of the best teams in the country in the second half of the season and they very nearly came away with a series win at Arkansas

While Hagen Smith got his double-digit strikeouts on Friday night, Mississippi State was able to knock him out after 5 innings and had a lead in the eighth. 

Arkansas put up 3 runs in the bottom of the eighth, highlighted by a 2-run single from Hudson White that led to a 7-5 win. 

The Bulldogs jumped all over Brady Tygart and Arkansas pitching in game two scoring 8 runs in the first 4 innings. The Razorbacks tried to crawl back but came up short in a 8-5 loss. 

In game three, it was looking like Mississippi State was ready to finish off a huge series win with a 6-0 lead going into the bottom of the fourth. 

Arkansas chipped away with 1 run in the bottom of the fourth and three more in the fifth. 

And then in the sixth inning, Peyton Holt hit a 2-run homer to tie the game and Hudson White hit a 2-run homer to take the lead in an eventual 9-6 victory for the Razorbacks. 

The one question mark for Arkansas all year has been whether or not they have the offense to come back late, so this was a huge win and confidence boost for them in that regard. 

The one team nobody wants to face right now is the Georgia Bulldogs who went to Columbia, SC, and steamrolled South Carolina in a clean sweep. 

Charlie Condon might be wrapping up a Gold Spikes winning season. He extended his home run streak to eight games in Georgia’s 14-10 win in game one. That was one of 5 home runs the Bulldogs hit in that game. 

Kolten Smith, similar to AJ Causey for Tennessee, continues to thrive coming out of the bullpen giving up just 1 earned run in 5.1 innings for Georgia with 7 strikeouts. 

Georgia used a pair of 5-run innings to get the 11-5 win in game two. Tre Phelps and Slate Alford each had 3-run homers. 

South Carolina had a 6-4 lead going into the eighth in game three, but then the Georgia offense went to work, scoring 6 runs in the eighth and four in the ninth for a 14-6 win. 

South Carolina is probably fine, but they’ll likely need a win against the number one team in the country next weekend on the road. 

We know Auburn won’t be in Hoover, and they tried their best to make sure Missouri won’t be there either as they got their first SEC series win of the year over Missouri this past weekend. 

Missouri scored 4 runs in the bottom of the eighth to take the first game of the series 12-11. Matt Garcia had a bases-clearing double in that eighth for Missouri. 

Chase Allsup and Carson Myers combined to allow just 2 runs and struck out 13 for Auburn in game two in a 12-2 (8) win. Caden Green was 4-5 with 4 RBI. 

Auburn had a 9-1 lead going into the bottom of the eighth in the finale and held on to win 9-7.

SEC Power Rankings

Tier 1

1) Tennessee

2) Kentucky

3) Arkansas

4) Texas A&M

Tier 2

5) Georgia

6) Mississippi State

Tier 3

7) South Carolina

8) Alabama

9) LSU

10) Vanderbilt

11) Florida

12) Ole Miss

Tier 4

13) Missouri

14) Auburn


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