Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE
The first week of conference play is in the books, so let's take a look at how each team fared this weekend.
The first weekend of the SEC conference baseball slate has come and gone, and there were only a few surprise results around the conference. Overall, most of the higher ranked teams took care of business this weekend, with virtually no upsets taking place in the league's first weekend of conference action. Let's take a look at this week's SEC players of the week, along with the updated standings and some notes on this weekend's matchups:
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Mason Katz • LSU
Senior • 1B • Harahan, La.
• Katz led batted .462 (6-for-13) to lead LSU to three wins in four games last week, including an SEC series victory at No. 8 Mississippi State ... Katz collected four home runs and eight RBI, and he posted a .588 on-base percentage ... beginning on 3/10, Katz homered seven times in five games and became the first LSU player to homer in five straight games since 1998.
• At MSU, Katz had three homers, five RBI and four runs scored. Launched a pair of two-run homers in Friday night's win, including the game-winning blast in the top of the 10th inning.
PITCHER OF THE WEEK
Keaton Steele • Missouri
Junior • RHP • St. Joseph, Mo.
• Earned the win in the Tigers' first-ever SEC win in a 4-0 shutout of No. 5 South Carolina in the second game of a doubleheader on Saturday. He pitched six shutout innings, allowing just three hits to the fifth-ranked Gamecocks while striking out seven and issuing just one walk.
• He allowed just four base runners to SC in the six innings and not one base runner advanced past first base in the win. The seven strikeouts in the game are a career-high for Steele as are the 6.0 innings pitched.
FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
Georgie Salem • Alabama
CF • Birmingham, Ala.
• Posted a .364 batting average for the week, after hitting .462 (6-for-13) in the series versus Tennessee ... finished the week with a team-high seven RBI from the leadoff spot in the order ... had a hit in all five games over the week ... recorded multiple hits in two of the five games, including his fourth three-hit game of the season with a 3-for-5 day on Sunday versus the Vols.
• Had a career-high four RBI on Sunday, which are the most by an Alabama player in a game this season ... is currently third on the team with a .293 average, three doubles and a .383 on-base percentage.
|#2 Vanderbilt||19-2||3-0||W4||Vanderbilt 8, Auburn 6
|#5 South Carolina
||17-3||2-1||L1||Missouri 4, South Carolina 0|
|#10 Kentucky||13-2||2-1||W2||Kentucky 6, Florida 2
|Tennessee||10-9||1-2||L1||Alabama 15, Tennessee 1
|Florida||9-12||1-2||L2||Kentucky 6, Florida 2
|Missouri||6-9||1-2||W1||Missouri 4, South Carolina 0|
|Georgia||8-12||0-3||L4||Texas A&M 11, Georgia 4
||14-7||3-0||W4||Texas A&M 11, Georgia 4
|#6 Ole Miss||20-2||2-1||W1||Ole Miss 6, Arkansas 4
|#7 LSU||18-2||2-1||L1||MSU 10, LSU 2
|Alabama||11-9||2-1||W1||Alabama 15, Tennessee 1
|#19 Mississippi State||19-4||1-2||W1
||MSU 10, LSU 2
|#21 Arkansas||14-7||1-2||L1||Ole Miss 6, Arkansas 4|
|Auburn||13-6||0-3||L3||Vanderbilt 8, Auburn 6
- The biggest series of the weekend, at least for me personally, was LSU visiting Mississippi State. After all was said and done, the Tigers were able to come away with two wins and a series victory. MSU had their chances, blowing a lead late on Friday, but all the credit to LSU. They did what they had to do to win a tough road series. Also, Mason Katz... good gracious. The baseball looks like a watermelon to him right now.
- The next prime matchup in the SEC this past weekend was Ole Miss traveling to Arkansas. The preseason #1 Hogs have struggled as of late, and that continued this weekend, as Ole Miss took two of three in Fayetteville. Technically it could have been more due to Ole Miss being the better of the two teams, but still, Arkansas has a lot to get righted if they want to live up to expectations this season.
- There may not be a better pitching staff in the nation right now than the one Vanderbilt has. The Commodore's two aces, Kevin Ziomek and Tyler Beede, have been phenomenal this season, starting off a combined 10-0 with a .88 ERA and 82 K's between them. They continued that fast start this weekend with both pitchers carrying no hitters late into their games against Auburn, en route to two wins in what would become a three game sweep of the Tigers. Vanderbilt may be the best of a deep SEC right now after a week of conference play.
- In a surprising-but-I-guess-not-so-surprising result, Kentucky took its first series win in Gainesville in 15 years, beating the struggling Gators two out of three over the weekend. Kentucky is technically the higher ranked of the two teams, but still, a win in Gainesville is never to be taken lightly.
- While the SEC West is somewhat deep from top to bottom, the SEC East has a significant drop off after you get passed Kentucky. Tennessee, Florida, Missouri, and Georgia all dropped series this weekend, with only one team currently sitting above .500.
- South Carolina, although not getting much pub early on, continues to just win games, as they took two of three from Missouri over the weekend. The Gamecocks flat out just play good baseball, and are continuing to do so right now.
Here's a look at the upcoming week 6 matchups in conference:
- Missouri at Tennessee
- Mississippi St. at Kentucky
- Alabama at Georgia
- Arkansas at South Carolina
- Texas A&M at Ole Miss
- Florida at Vanderbilt
- Auburn at LSU