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SEC Baseball Enters Final Weekend

SEC Baseball Enters Final Weekend

Standings

SEC Baseball Enters Final Weekend

The standings are shaping up and the SEC Tournament is becoming clear as teams enter the final weekend of the season. As the standings near being final, the same two teams sit atop their respective divisions.

The top four seeds and first-round byes are nearly locked in as Vanderbilt, Georgia, Mississippi State and Arkansas finalize their spots in the tournament. The top seed is Vanderbilt’s to lose while Arkansas faces a tough Texas A&M team this weekend to try and secure the second seed. Mississippi State and Georgia will find out Saturday who gets the three and four seed.

The five and six seed remains to be determined likely between Ole Miss and LSU. The 12th and final spot in the tournament comes down to Kentucky, South Carolina and Alabama.

Rankings

Eight teams remain in the USA Today Top 25 entering the final weekend of the season. Tennessee falls out again despite a 3-1 week and the series win over Florida.

SEC Enters Final Weekend
Vanderbilt beat Mizzou 2 out of 3 for their seniors final series at home of the regular season. (Photo courtesy of anchordown.exposure.co)
  • #2 Vanderbilt (3)
  • #4 Arkansas
  • #5 Mississippi State
  • #7 Georgia
  • #16 Ole Miss
  • #19 Texas A&M
  • #20 LSU
  • #22 Missouri

The SEC finds itself with a staggering 4 of the top 7 teams. Additionally, Vanderbilt is receiving three first-place votes. Aside from that, there was little movement by anyone this week in the rankings. Four teams didn’t move from last week while LSU suffered the biggest drop, down three spots after a 1-3 week and series loss to Arkansas. Mississippi State was the only team in the conference to advance in the rankings, up just one spot after a dominating sweep of Ole Miss in Oxford.

Dawgs Reign in Mississippi

Mississippi State has dominated in-state rival Ole Miss for the fourth year in a row, outscoring the Rebs 29-11 this year. The season sweep marks the second time in four years the Dawgs have gone 4-0 against the Rebels. The last time Ole Miss got swept at home? Yup, Mississippi State in 2017.

SEC Baseball Enters Final Weekend
Mississippi State celebrates their continued dominance over Ole Miss. (Photo courtesy of hailstate.com)

The Bulldog’s senior class finishes their careers without ever losing a baseball game at Ole Miss’s Swayze Field. In fact, Ole Miss has managed to scrape just two wins against the MSU seniors since 2016, a 2-14 stretch.

The only silver lining for Rebel fans might be that they’ve likely seen Jake Mangum for the last time. The SEC all-time hit leader finishes his career against Ole Miss with a .411 average, nine doubles, one home run and 16 runs scored.

Not only have the Dawgs dominated their state, they’ve dominated the sport this year as well. They lead the nation with 43 wins this season. At No.5 this week they continue their consistency of staying in or around the top 5 all year long.

Race for SEC Division Champs

The SEC East race finds Vanderbilt with a comfortable two-game lead over Georgia entering the final weekend. Vanderbilt goes to Kentucky this week who is tied for last place in the East. Meanwhile, Georgia finishes at home against bottom feeder in the West, Alabama.

SEC Baseball Enters Final Weekend
Arkansas looks to win the SEC West outright for the first time since 2011. (Photo courtesy of arkansasrazorbacks.com)

Barring a miracle this weekend, Vanderbilt will likely find themselves winners of the East and the conference as a whole. It would be the first time Vanderbilt has won the East since 2015, and the first time they’ve won the conference outright since 2013.

The SEC West comes down to Arkansas and Mississippi State. MSU trails the Razorbacks by one game but have the favorable matchup this weekend. MSU has South Carolina at home, who is last in the East and has the worst RPI in the conference at 76.

Arkansas meanwhile has to travel to College Station to take on No.19 Texas A&M. They would win the tiebreaker though after sweeping the Bulldogs earlier this year at home.

Weekend Series to Watch For

SEC Baseball Enters Final Weekend
SEC Schedule

This weekend features just one ranked series. A few other series have big implications for teams with hopes of the making the NCAA Tournament.

#4 Arkansas 39-13 (19-8) @ #19 Texas A&M 34-18-1 (14-12-1)

Arkansas is hoping for a successful series against a tough A&M team to finish atop the West. The Razorbacks have strung together four straight SEC series win heading into this weekend. Texas A&M meanwhile is coming off a series win at Alabama.

Junior and likely MLB bound Isaiah Campbell will finish off a very impressive regular season. The righty has posted an impressive 9-1 season with a 2.57 ERA. A&M junior John Doxakis matches Campbell’s dominance at 6-3 and a 1.93 ERA. He’ll have his hands full going up against the SEC’s third-best offense in the Razorbacks.

Arkansas has locked in their national seed in the NCAA Tournament, currently projected at No.3. Texas A&M meanwhile is expected to be a two seed.

#16 Ole Miss 32-21 (15-12) @ Tennessee 36-17 (12-15)
SEC Baseball Enters Final Weekend
Ole Miss Head Coach Mike Bianco suddenly finds himself on the hot seat reaching the end of the season. (Photo courtesy of d1baseball.com)

The series in Knoxville has big playoff implications for both teams. Though Tennessee’s RPI currently sits at 10, they hold a 12-15 record in conference play. Historically SEC teams that finish with a 13-17 record or worse in league play have not received an at large bid despite high RPI rankings. A series win is very much needed this weekend for the Vols unless they can make a run in the conference tournament.

Ole Miss’s season meanwhile has taken a turn for the worst. After being dominated by in-state rival Mississippi State, the Rebels let their midweek get away losing in the bottom of the 9th to Arkansas State who is 138 in the RPI. Losers of four in a row, the Rebels’ playoff hopes might be in jeopardy if they don’t turn it around quickly.

Tennessee will desperately be in search of their 14th SEC win. Ole Miss was enjoying a projected host in the NCAA tournament as of a couple of weeks ago but now appear to be a two or three seed. The Rebels have never advanced to a Super Regional under the Bianco era when not hosting a Regional.

Florida 30-23 (10-17) @ #22 Missouri 34-18-1 (13-13-1)

Missouri is currently experiencing one of the best seasons in school history and certainly their best season since joining the SEC. The Tigers are searching for their first playoff appearance since 2012.

Florida, on the other hand, is amidst their worst season this decade. At 10-17 in league play, they have a lot of work to do if they want to avoid missing the tournament for the first time since 2007. Florida has lost three of their last four SEC series. They have not lost a series to Missouri since 2015, sweeping the Tigers in each of the last three seasons.

 

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