This weekend is another good one in SEC baseball. Ten teams are battling for the 3 first-round byes in the conference tourney still up for grabs. And as many as 7 SEC teams are still in the running to host a regional. Here’s a look at two series I’ll be watching.
(1) Florida at (21) Texas A&M
Florida is a lock for a protected-8 seed and has a very comfortable lead in the SEC East. But don’t sleep on A&M right now. They’ve rebounded from losing their first 3 SEC series and are now just two games back in the West.
Since April it’s been a different story for the Aggies. They’ve gone 12-4 and have won 3 out of 4 series in the conference. Most projections have them as a two-seed in the Tournament but the Ags still have hopes of hosting. With an RPI of 14 and their next 6 games against top-5 RPI teams, the Aggies control their own destiny.
A&M has put themselves in this position by scratching and clawing since that slow conference start. They aren’t going to dazzle you with top-end draft picks and awards list candidates and they don’t flash big numbers in any single area. They have quietly gone about their business in the SEC and have ground their way to be the league leader in ERA and a top-4 batting average. Blue Bell Park will be packed this weekend with a crazy crowd counting trains, blowing bubbles and yelling ball 5 in unison every chance they get.
Prediction: A&M 2-1
(4) Ole Miss at South Carolina
D1 baseball and Baseball America have Ole Miss as a protected-8 but South Carolina could derail that this weekend. The Rebs…or…Blackbears…or…Landsharks or whatever they are called have been strong at home but have lost their last 2 road weekends to State and Vandy. With their incredibly weak non-conference SOS, they are going to need to win on the road to lockdown a top-8 spot.
South Carolina is on a roll right now. Two weeks ago they completely destroyed LSU in a sweep and followed that up with a series win at Vanderbilt.
I expect this to be a fun series because both teams are coming out of their cleats swinging the bat right now. Ole Miss is averaging over 6 runs their last 2 weekends and South Carolina is averaging 8. Carolina won’t shut anyone down so they are going to need to keep letting it rip at the plate. Playing on the road is rough in the SEC this year and Ole Miss is making a long trip. I think the Cocks will trip up OM this weekend.
Prediction: South Carolina 2-1