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Check Swing - SEC Baseball Week 3

Mississippi State is No. 7 in the nation, but No. 1 in our hearts.

Me hammering my expectations for Mississippi State into a national seed.
Chris Todd/The Clarion-Ledger

Welcome back to another week of Check Swing, where we recap all of the previous week’s action across the Southeastern Confrence! With another week down in the 2019 season, teams across the league are looking to add as many high profile wins to their resumes as possible before SEC play kicks off. Conference series begin next Friday, so now is the time to grab every last ‘W’ these squads can find, because no game comes easy in the SEC. All rankings are from D1baseball.com, please leave a comment with any disagreements or general rabble-rousing!

ALABAMA (12-2)

The Crimson Tide logged a five-win week since we last checked in on them, sweeping South Alabama without facing any real threat from the Jaguars in any of their three games. Wins on Tuesday and Wednesday over UAB and South Dakota St have Alabama rolling into a series versus Northern Kentucky (1-8), looking to stay hot into SEC Play. The Tide warms up for the conference opener with Middle Tennessee (5-7) on Tuesday.

No. 15 ARKANSAS (10-1)

Arkansas also saw an undefeated week since we last checked in, sweeping Stony Brook and taking down Charlotte on Wednesday. The Razorbacks have a full slate of five games coming up to get them into SEC play, hosting Louisiana Tech (9-3) this weekend for three as well as Western Illinois (2-7) on Tuesday and Wednesday.

No. 19 AUBURN (9-2)

The Tigers picked up five wins this past week, sweeping Cincinnati in three and dismissing UT Martin in both midweek bouts. Three of their last five have been shutout efforts from the Auburn pitching staff, who boasts one of two SEC pitchers that still wield a 0.00 ERA in 2019. Sophomore Jack Owen has thrown a total of 16.2 innings, allowing just two runs, none earned, thus far in 2019.

No. 5 FLORIDA (10-5)

The Gators were looking at a six-game week until they had one of their bouts against Winthrop cancelled, ending the week with a 4-1 tally. While the Gators did manage to put up some impressive offensive numbers, posting 15, 16, and 28 runs this past week, the midweek opponent got the best of Florida yet again with FGCU taking the victory on Wednesday. Yale (3-4) comes to town for three games this weekend followed by No. 11 FSU (11-0) on Tuesday.

#9 GEORGIA (11-2)

The other Bulldogs were not able to navigate the last week without a blemish, going 4-1 this past week, the lone loss coming in game three of their series against Georgia Southern. Their final opponents of the non-conference slate are Presbyterian (6-6) and Georgia St (3-9), looking to bolster their list of early wins in 2019 before they open SEC play with No. 24 South Carolina.

KENTUCKY (8-4)

The Wildcats went 3-1 this past week, sweeping Canisus and dropping their midweek bout versus Boston College. Kentucky has a tall order of five games over the next week to win to stay hot entering league play. Middle Tennessee (5-7) , SIU Edwardsville (3-5) and Western Kentucky (6-6) all head to Lexington this week.

No. 13 LSU (9-3)

LSU took a trip down to Austin, TX and were dismissed from the weekend with three losses to the No. 12 Longhorns. Last week’s lone victory came over Holy Cross in a Wednesday bout in Baton Rouge. The Tigers have five games standing between them and the start of SEC play, a series with Cal (6-4) and midweeks against Northwestern St (6-4) and Texas Southern (2-10).

MISSOURI (6-5)

Missouri had just two games this past week, going 1-1 with the ‘W’ coming versus Central Arkansas on Saturday. The Tigers are currently in last place of the SEC with five games upcoming over the next week, featuring a series versus Northwestern (4-6) and two midweeks against Arkansas St (8-5). The star of the Tigers season thus far has been TJ Sikkema, who holds the only other 0.00 ERA among starters in the SEC.

No. 7 MISSISSIPPI STATE (12-1)

Everyone’s favorite baseball squad had a huge weekend in Frisco, Texas, taking down Sam Houston State and then No. 4 Texas Tech, putting this team on a red-hot warpath through the rest of non-conference play. The Bulldogs also took down No. 18 East Carolina on Tuesday, giving the Bulldogs two wins over ranked teams in four games this past week. Maine (0-10, and it’s not their football team, thank goodness) comes to town this weekend for a series before State hosts Grambling (5-7) as a final tune up before heading down to Gainesville, Fla. to open SEC play.

No. 10 OLE MISS (9-3)

Ole Miss swept Long Beach St, beat Little Rock after allowing eight runs to the two-win Trojans on Tuesday and lost to No. 18 East Carolina on Wednesday after a rally in the bottom of the ninth came up short. The Rebels host UAB (9-4) this weekend for a series and No. 8 Louisville (9-3) has two mid-weeks set for Tuesday and Wednesday.

No. 24 SOUTH CAROLINA (9-3)

Having faced one of the toughest series of the past weekend in the SEC, the Gamecocks finished the week with a 3-2 mark, taking two from then No. 23 Clemson (now unranked), beating The Citadel and losing Wednesday to Gardner-Webb. Looking for a few more wins this non-conference slate, South Carolina welcomes Valparaiso (2-7) in for three before seeing The Citadel (5-7) one last time in 2019.

No. 25 TENNESSEE (13-0)

The Volunteers are the last undefeated team in the SEC, taking all three from their appearance in Pensacola, FL for the Cox Diamond Invitational, capping off the week with a Tuesday win over Troy. The 13-0 start is now a record start for a Tennessee baseball squad that leads the nation in ERA (0.57) and shutouts (6). The Volunteers bring in Fresno St (6-3) this weekend and UNC Asheville (4-7) for two mid-weeks, looking to dive head-first into SEC play with an unblemished record.

No. 20 TEXAS A&M (13-2)

The Aggies had one of the more exciting slates this past weekend in the Shriners Hospitals for Children College Classic, where they faced #21 Baylor, #23 TCU and Houston. A and M went 3-0 in Houston, finishing the week with wins over Texas A and M - Corpus Christi and Abilene Christian. West coast basketball powerhouse Gonzaga (4-6) heads to College Station this weekend for the last non-conference series of the season, followed by a Tuesday appearance by Dallas Baptist (9-3).

No. 1 VANDERBILT (11-2)

After dropping a game late last week, the Commodores posted a 5-0 week, where they outscored their opponents 54-10. Vanderbilt dismissed Dayton last weekend and handled both Davidson and ETSU to cover up for the previous week’s blemish. The #1 team in the nation hosts Illinois St (7-3) this weekend, followed by a Tuesday match up against Samford (9-3). A major key for Vanderbilt moving forward is keeping their bats alive like they were this past week, but look for Illinois St to do their best to neutralize that threat with two of their starters already surpassing the 20+ strikeout mark in just two starts thus far in 2019.

Check back next week where we take a look at the first SEC series of the season!