Just some general news and notes from the baseball weekend:
Arkansas just completed a 4-0 week with a win over Texas Tech and a sweep of Alabama at home and now lead the SEC West alone. Huge rebound after getting swept in Starkville. Arkansas has been the cream of the West all season but the 4-8 road record is still a major concern for me. This week, I think they go to Baton Rouge and eek out their first road series win of the season.
Alabama was swept this weekend and have solidified their spot at the bottom of the West. No Hoover for the Tide. Vandy lost a home weekend to South Carolina dropping them into a tie for third in the East with the Gamecocks.
It was a crazy weekend – the highest-scoring Saturday/Sunday of the season so far. Teams in the league averaged 7.85 runs on Saturday and 7.8 runs on Sunday. Those are the #2 and #3 scoring days in league play so far (the highest-scoring day (7.94 runs/team – St Patrick’s Day).
After a 2-1 pitcher’s duel between Sean Hjelle and TJ Sikkema on Friday, Missouri and Kentucky combined for 46 runs over the weekend’s final 2 games.
Warm weather and strained bullpens will likely result in even more high-scoring weekends coming up.
Looking Ahead to The Tournament
Seven of the top 16 in the RPI are SEC programs. Only 3 other teams are in the top 50.
Arkansas is just 2-5 in one-run games in SEC play. 4 of the 5 losses are on the road.
Teams I don’t know what to do with: Auburn & Georgia. Each has a compelling record, a top-10 RPI, but I just don’t feel I have a handle on either. Both could end up hosting or going on the road as a two-seed. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the War Eagles or the Dawgs in a Super Regional nor would it be crazy to see one or the other go 0&2 in a Regional.
But if I had to guess right now, I’d say Florida, Arkansas, A&M, Ole Miss, and Georgia host. I think Auburn just misses out.
Hoover is going to be insane. There’s really no difference in 5th- and 12th-placed teams in this league. Fifth is 11-10 in-conference and the teams tied for 11th are 9-12. The conference tourney format is a joke but we will see some pretty good baseball either way.
Florida has lost just once in a series opener all year (March 23 vs. Arkansas).
I’m flipping 2&3 in my top 4 for this week:
1. Florida – Still #1. But it’s time to refocus before going to College Station.
2. Arkansas – Arkansas jumps Ole Miss in the RPI and leads in the standings, too.
3. Ole Miss – Rebs have a 2-2 week and now head to South Carolina.
4. Texas A&M – Big statement weekend coming for the Ags.
My SEC All-Star Line-up:
Jake Mangum CF
Kameron Misner DH
Jonathan India 3B
Wil Dalton RF
Braden Shewmake SS
Kole Cottam 1B
Keegan McGovern LF
JJ Schwarz C
Carson Shaddy 2B
Looking ahead –
Best series: Florida @ A&M is a great baseball weekend at Blue Bell Park.
Most intriguing: Ole Miss heading to South Carolina.
Low-key interesting: Arkansas at LSU.