The SEC is entering the final weekend before conference play starts. It’s a big weekend for the league to pad the win column before entering the brutal SEC schedule. We’ll take a look at the matchups including another marquee series that will have the eyes of the nation.
The top three teams in the SEC remained stagnant after solid weekends. D1 Baseball Top 25 maintains nine ranked teams for the conference.
- No.1 Florida (13-0)
- No.2 Vanderbilt (11-3)
- No.4 Georgia (11-2)
- No.9 Ole Miss (11-1) +6
- No.13 Arkansas (7-4) -7
- No.18 Mississippi State (7-4) -10
- No.19 Auburn (10-3) +1
- No.20 Tennessee (13-0) NR
- No.21 LSU (8-5) -10
Ole Miss made the biggest jump in the conference once again after an impressive 3-0 showing in the Keith LeClair Classic. The Rebels were led by solid starting pitching once again and owned the weekend.
Mississippi State and LSU both faced major drops after 1-2 weekends as well as struggles in the midweek. They need to get back on track this weekend and drum up some nonconference wins going into SEC play.
Tennessee is the surprise of the conference for the second season in a row. The Volunteers continued their undefeated season over the weekend. They have dominated with the bats and have one of the best offenses in the league.
Non-Power Five Series
*Records as of March 4, 9 pm ET
Bradley (4-6) @ Kentucky (7-5)
Kentucky is struggling mightily this season and get an opponent they should be able to best. The final nonconference series of the season will be essential for the Wildcats to perform well. If nothing else some positive momentum is needed heading into conference play.
Prediction: Kentucky 2-1
South Alabama (7-7) @ No.13 Arkansas (7-4)
This should be a nice sweep for Arkansas. South Alabama poses no real threat to the Razorbacks. They are 0-3 vs SEC teams on the season and 0-4 against Power 5 conference opponents. The pitching has shown flashes of talent but the offense has been overwhelmed against superior pitching.
Prediction: Arkansas 3-0
Quinnipiac (1-8) @ No.18 Mississippi State (7-4)
Mississippi State couldn’t ask for an easier opponent to boost the confidence before SEC play. Quinnipiac has just one win on the season, a 10-3 game this past weekend against VMI. The Bulldogs should dominate this series and give the home crowd a show.
Prediction: Mississippi State 3-0
UMASS (1-5) @ No.4 Georgia (11-2)
UMASS hasn’t had much practice yet this season due to the frigid weather in the north. Georgia will welcome them to a much warmer venue at Foley Field. Their lone win was the first game of the season in a shortened game against Delaware State. The Bulldogs have cruised so far this season and this weekend should be no different.
Prediction: Georgia 3-0
South Florida (5-7) @ No.1 Florida (13-0)
South Florida has had an up and down season so far. They started with a 2-1 series win against before losing the next five games. They did sweep a Northwestern team last weekend that has a series win over SEC opponent South Carolina. Florida should prove much too talented though and take the sweep.
Prediction: Florida 3-0
Wright State (3-8) @ No.20 Tennessee (13-0)
Wright State has so far not turned out to be the team we may have thought they’d be. They’ve struggled with the games they should have won. They do have a big win over Louisville in a midweek, so they have the potential to surprise. But Tennessee is cruising along too well right now to let the Raiders get the best of them.
Prediction: Tennessee 3-0
Lipscomb (8-3) @ Alabama (13-0)
Lipscomb will give Alabama a good final series to grease the engine before conference play. Lipscomb isn’t a for sure sweep and have played some good baseball this season, with two wins against Ohio State under their belt. Alabama will have to fight for the sweep but have proven so far this season they are capable.
Prediction: Alabama 3-0
Chicago State (2-11) @ No.19 Auburn (10-3)
It’s sure to be a bloodbath in Auburn this weekend against a bad Cougars ball club. Auburn should be able to control the weekend and get three good wins here. They’ll be fresh with no midweek this week and ready to hit the SEC slate.
Prediction: Auburn 3-0
Cornell (1-5) @ South Carolina (8-4)
South Carolina hosts Cornell in their final nonconference series. It’s easy to overlook the record for a team that only has six games under their belt this season. But the Big Red have just one loss by more than four runs and three losses by two or less. They pitched very well in their series against Duke. South Carolina has struggled in the nonconference and may have a challenge on their hands.
Prediction: South Carolina 2-1
Princeton (0-4) @ No.9 Ole Miss (11-1)
Princeton is another team that has barely played baseball this season due to cold weather and a late start. They’ve only played four games – a four-game sweep to Penn State. They were competitive in two of those games. Ole Miss has played very well this season and should continue their winning streak.
Prediction: Ole Miss 3-0
Western Illinois (0-9) @ Missouri (6-5)
The series in Columbia may actually be more interesting than folks think. Western Illinois is a terrible baseball club and have hardly been competitive in their three series. Tennessee and Memphis handled the Bulldogs with ease. On the other hand, Missouri has struggled mightily with their nonconference. They may struggle to get a sweep they should most certainly be able to achieve.
Prediction: Missouri 3-0
New Mexico State (12-1) @ Texas A&M (11-3)
This one shapes up to be the second-best series in the SEC this weekend. NMSU has a very impressive record with their lone loss being a midweek one-run loss to top-10 Arizona State. They have plenty of offense but struggle with pitching. A&M hasn’t been sound this season and a series win would be a success this weekend.
Prediction: Texas A&M 2-1
UMass Lowell (4-6) @ No.21 LSU (8-5)
LSU has a golden opportunity to get their first series sweep of the year. They’ve started slowly out of the gate, struggling to score runs at times this season. Now is the time to get it going and figure it out as they jump right into a road series against Ole Miss the following weekend.
Prediction: LSU 3-0
Power Five Series
No.2 Vanderbilt (11-3) Southern California College Baseball Classic – Los Angeles, CA
It’s the hottest weekend series for any SEC team as Vanderbilt travels to the West Coast for the Southern California Classic. They’ll face the likes of No.6 UCLA (11-1), Southern California (7-4) and No.22 TCU (10-2).
The Bruins have are led by a stud ridden rotation that absolutely shuts opposing lineups down. The team’s overall ERA is a jaw-dropping 1.43. They have big wins against the likes of Oklahoma State, Texas A&M and Illinois. Vanderbilt will have to find a way to score against a rotation that combines for a 1.31 ERA.
USC should give Vanderbilt a chance to shine in the middle game. The Trojans have some bad losses on the schedule including a 1-2 record in game-twos of series.
TCU will provide a tough test to finish off the weekend. They have two sweeps on the season already including a sweep against fellow SEC foe Kentucky. They’re another excellent pitching team, which is really going to continue to test a Vanderbilt offense that has struggled at the plate.
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