Week 1 is in the books and the SEC is turning their attention to the second weekend of the 2020 season. Several more big-time series are on the schedule including the nation’s most highly anticipated series of the weekend. Here is a look at the matchups.
There was little shuffling done in the rankings after week one. The SEC maintains nine ranked teams. D1 Baseball Top 25 moved three SEC teams after the first weekend.
- No.2 Florida +2
- No.4 Vanderbilt -2
- No.5 Georgia
- No.7 Arkansas
- No.8 Auburn
- No.10 Mississippi State
- No.11 LSU
- No.17 Ole Miss +8
- No.20 Texas A&M
Vanderbilt was the lone SEC team to drop in the rankings. The Commodores fell to No.13 Michigan as well as Cal Poly in the Sunday game. Their lone win was against UCONN. Florida benefits from Vanderbilt and Louisville going 1-2 and jumped up two spots after sweeping Marshall.
Ole Miss saw the biggest jump in the rankings of eight spots. The Rebels took two out of three from the nation’s number one team. Ole Miss needed some big performances on Saturday and Sunday after losing the opening game of the series.
Non-Power Five Series
Gonzaga (2-2) @ No.7 Arkansas (3-0)
Arkansas welcomes the Gonzaga Bulldogs to town. The first game has already been played, a 7-5 win last night by Arkansas. The Bulldogs finished second in the WCC a year ago and are the favorite to win the conference this year. Arkansas absolutely cruised right through Eastern Illinois bolstered by an abundance of runs. They should be able to replicate this weekend.
Prediction: Arkansas 3-0
Appalachian State (1-2) @ Kentucky (1-3)
Kentucky got routed by TCU in their opening series. The offense really struggled but found their groove in the midweek against SE Missouri State. This should be another opportunity for the Wildcats to figure it out with a young team and get more marks in the win column.
Prediction: Kentucky 3-0
Northwestern (1-2) @ South Carolina (4-0)
Northwestern travels to Columbia for a three-game series. They’ll be fresh and ready to go after having the midweek off. They’re expected to be a middle of the pack to a lower-tier team in the Big Ten. It’s not Holy Cross but there’s no reason the Gamecocks can’t continue the winning this weekend.
Prediction: South Carolina 3-0
UCF (4-1) @ No.8 Auburn (5-0)
UCF got off to a hot start, sweeping Siena in a four-game series. Only the first game was close as the final three games were decided by seven runs or more. The Knights stole a game in the series against Auburn last year but Auburn is improved and has dominated opponents this year.
Prediction: Auburn 3-0
Santa Clara (5-0) @ No.5 Georgia (4-0)
An undefeated Santa Clara comes to Foley Field. The Broncos are no joke this season, having given up just 12 runs over the course of five games. They defeated Stanford in their midweek, holding their bats to 2 runs. Georgia struggled mightily with Richmond in the opening weekend. This is a trap series for the Bulldogs who will need to play much better than last weekend to sweep the series.
Prediction: Georgia 2-1
Xavier (2-1) @ No.17 Ole Miss (3-1)
Xavier is a sleeper in the Big East and opened up with a series win at Memphis. They’ve lost their three biggest bats from 2019 and the offense is still finding their groove. It’ll make for a good matchup for Ole Miss’s young but talented arms.
Prediction: Ole Miss 3-0
University of Illinois-Chicago (0-4) @ No.4 Vanderbilt (3-2)
UIC was a tournament team a year ago and is one of the favorites in the Horizon to make it back. They got dominated by Auburn in their opening series and are going up against another brick wall in week two. Vanderbilt should be able to continue the losing trend for the Flames.
Prediction: Vanderbilt 3-0
Army (1-2) @ No.20 Texas A&M (5-0)
Army is 1-2 but they knocked off a good Duke team in their lone win. They return eight position players to keep the offense very much intact. They’ve made it to back to back NCAA tournaments. This is no walk in the park for Texas A&M, who will need to take advantage of a new rotation for the Black Knights.
Prediction: Texas A&M 2-1
Eastern Kentucky @ No.11 LSU (3-2)
EKU is 3-0 on the season and hoping to steal one from a struggling LSU team. The Tigers dropped their midweek to Nicholls State on the road. The bats struggled to get going for the second time this season. That being said, look for LSU to bounce back and sweep the series.
Prediction: LSU 3-0
Alabama (4-0) @ UNLV (1-3)
UNLV already has three losses on the season as they barely won one game in their four game series against Central Michigan. Alabama has done well so far, winning the games they need to win. They’ll hope to continue padding the win column.
Prediction: Alabama 3-0
Power Five Series
Missouri (2-1) Kleberg Bank College Classic – Corpus Christi, TX
Missouri will play in the Kleberg Bank College Classic. They’ll open up against a less than flashy Kansas State (2-2). The Wildcats split with UT Rio Grande Valley. They dropped the first two games before bouncing back and dominating the final two.
They’ll follow with a struggling Utah (1-3) team. They’ve gotten off to a slow start, dropping the series against UC Davis and losing Monday to Saint Mary’s. All three losses came by two or fewer runs so Utah is not a team to overlook.
The final game comes against host Texas A&M CC (0-3). The Islanders had a respectable 31-26 record in 2019 but are another team off on the wrong foot in 2020. They got swept by UT Arlington due in large part to a complete lack of offense. They scored just two runs in the weekend.
Prediction: Missouri 2-1
Oregon State (2-2) @ No.10 Mississippi State (3-0)
Oregon State struggled in their opening weekend, making what looked like a high octane series a little less anticipated. Still, Oregon State is very familiar with the postseason and is not a team to be dealt with lightly.
Oregon State has a new head coach and is predicted to finish middle of the pack in the Pac 12. They dropped two games, one to Gonzaga and a close one to BYU. Lefty ace Christian Chamberlain was the highlight of the weekend pitching six innings of one-hit baseball and no earned runs in the opener.
The Beavers offense was held mostly in check in those four games. Mississippi State’s pitching proved they can get the job done, holding Wright State to just nine runs and three in the final two games. Ace JT Ginn likely won’t have a repeat performance of his first start and the Bulldogs should be looking for a big early-season sweep.
Prediction: Mississippi State 3-0
Tennessee (4-0) Round Rock Classic – Round Rock, TX
Tennessee finds themselves in the first-ever Round Rock Classic. Three of the four teams were postseason teams a year ago with two advancing to the Super Regionals.
No.6 Texas Tech (4-0) is the premier team having made the College World Series a year ago. The Red Raiders enter the Classic undefeated after taking two from Houston Baptist and two from Northern Colorado. None of the games were close and Tech’s offense absolutely went off for 65 runs.
The Volunteers will get Houston (1-2) on Saturday, a team that struggled mightily in the first weekend dropping two of three games to Youngstown State. They should see lefty Clay Aguilar in that matchup who pitched 5.2 scoreless innings in his first start.
They’ll round off the weekend against No.25 Stanford (1-3) who also had a setback in their opening weekend. The Cardinal barely scraped a win in their series against Cal State Fullerton. Stanford’s offense really struggled scoring just four runs in the series.
Prediction: Tennessee 2-1
No.2 Florida (5-0) @ No.1 Miami (4-0)
It’s the matchup of the weekend across the nation. No.1 vs No.2 in a rivalry series no less. Miami has had just one close game all season, an opening day 2-1 against Rutgers. They swept the series with ease after that.
The 2019 series went to Florida who won two out of three. Miami will be hoping for a different outcome in 2020. Brian Van Belle is their ace and had a dominant opening last Friday. The righty went six innings giving up just four hits and zero runs against Rutgers.
The Florida offense has been very good to start the year. All-SEC standout Jud Fabian has delivered this season, leading the team with two home runs. He is slashing .368/.429/.789 on the young season and is leads a strong lineup that is averaging over ten runs per game.
Prediction: Miami 2-1
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