We’re already at the point in the college baseball season where we are figuring out who’re the contenders and who really didn’t deserve those high pre-season rankings. Many SEC teams participated in high profile series this weekend. Some stepped up, while others were exposed.
Arkansas fans are feeling the same pain Florida fans felt last week, while the state of Mississippi is now a combined 29-1 so far this season.
Here’s the week three report on the teams around the SEC fared. Teams are ranked by how they performed and whom they played.
1) Mississippi State 5-0 (16-0 Overall)
Mississippi State has absolutely separated themselves from the rest of the SEC here early in the season. Over the weekend the no.6 Bulldogs demolished a weak St. Joes club, sweeping them in four games by a combined score of 19-3. Tuesday they would finish up their week with another blowout of Mississippi Valley State, 14-2. The Delta Devils are the fourth team this season Mississippi State has beaten by double digits, and the Bulldogs very well could be the only team in the SEC that goes into conference play undefeated.
2) Ole Miss 5-0 (13-1 Overall)
The only team more impressive than Mississippi State so far is ironically the team two hours up the road in Oxford. The no.15 Rebels went to South Beach over the weekend to take on a formidable Florida International squad. However the Panthers stood to be no opposition to the Rebels, as they were beaten 11-9, 8-3 and 8-1. Tuesday and Wednesday Ole Miss took care of Southeastern Louisiana 2-0 and 6-2 respectively. The Rebels have held their opponents to less than three runs in 13 of their 14 games in 2013.
3) LSU 5-0 (12-1 Overall)
It’s not enough that Ole Miss and Mississippi State are in the same division and are right now the best two teams in the SEC, but add LSU to that division and you have what’s going to be one interesting race in the western division. Over the weekend LSU was a bully, beating up on four different mid-major teams. The Tigers put a beat down on Ivy Leaguers Brown on Friday and Saturday, defeated Nicholls State on Sunday and took care of Stephan F. Austin and Sacred Heart on Tuesday and Wednesday. No, it’s not an impressive list of squads, but good teams will make a point to suffocate lesser competition, which is exactly what the no. 3 team in the country did.
4) Kentucky 4-0 (11-1 Overall)
Speaking of suffocating weaker opposition, if that’s what good teams do, then Kentucky’s taken it to an art form. Over the weekend Akron came to Lexington with a winless record and left with that plus absolutely no dignity. Kentucky outscored the Zips 37-4 in three games including Friday when Kentucky scored 21 runs that game alone. The no.10 Wildcats finished off Xavier on Wednesday to finish their week undefeated. Kentucky has been averaging 10.3 runs a game this season, more than any other team in the country.
5) Vanderbilt 4-0 (13-1 Overall)
The no.2 Commodores are another team that so far in 2013 has shown little sign of weakness. Vanderbilt had their way with a couple of teams from the state of Illinois over the weekend; sweeping Illinois-Chicago 9-0, 5-3 and 3-1 in extra innings in their weekend series and beat Eastern Illinois on Tuesday 8-3. While teams like Mississippi State haven’t had any trademark series to really prove themselves, Vandy has their opportunity this weekend when they take on no.11 Oregon in Eugene.
6) Florida 3-2 (6-8 Overall)
Last Friday looked to bring more misery to the hearts of Gator fans when no.24 Miami came up I-75 and beat Florida in another close contest 3-2, extending their losing streak to six games. However Saturday started what could be a new streak for the Gators. Florida would take the last two games of the series with Miami 6-4 and 6-3. Florida couldn’t complete their rebound without some fault by beating Jacksonville 8-5 Tuesday but dropping the Wednesday game 6-5. Taking two out of three from the Hurricanes was a good way to start rebuilding Florida’s confidence, but they’ll need to quickly turn their attention to their next three series: Indiana, no.5 Florida State and Kentucky.
7) Auburn 3-1 (9-3 Overall)
The Tigers week started on a discouraging note when they lost two games in a row by the same score, 11-10. Both to mid major schools as well, Kennesaw State last Tuesday and Eastern Illinois Friday. However the Tigers would rebound to end their week strong. Auburn took the last two games of their weekend series vs. the Panthers and wrapped it all up on Tuesday in the Capital City Classic, where they defeated arch-rival Alabama for the fifth year in a row. Picking up conference win number one early was big for this club, as the west should be a tight race this year.
8) Texas A&M 2-2 (9-5 Overall)
The Aggies should have a little asterisk over their 2-2 weekend mark, as no team in the SEC will or has faced a tougher three-game lineup than what Texas A&M had to deal with this past weekend. At the Astros Foundation College Classic, the Aggies were faced with no.1 North Carolina, no. 22 Rice and a worthy Houston club. While A&M would drop their games to UNC and Houston, the Aggies would beat Rice 8-3 to give them a landmark win for their tournament resume. The Aggies would level out at .500 on Tuesday by beating Prairie View A&M 8-3.
9) Georgia 3-1 (5-7 Overall)
Georgia was a team on early season life support coming into last weekend, and needed wins desperately to get back on track. But this weekend the Bulldogs won more games they had won all season up to that point. Georgia swept UAB in impressive fashion, uncharacteristic to how the Bulldogs have played so far in 2013. Georgia outscored the Blazers 33-6 in those three games, almost equaling the amount of runs they had scored in the previous eight games. However the Bulldogs revival was short lived, as they would drop their Tuesday game to Western Carolina 12-7.
10) Missouri 2-0 (2-6 Overall)
Missouri has to be setting a record for the worst start in a new conference, and that goes for any sport. It’s not bad enough that the Tigers have won two games this year, but their first three home games against Northwestern were canceled over the weekend to snow of all things. Jack Frost persisted through the weekend and into the middle of the week as well, forcing Missouri to play a double-header against Eastern Michigan on Wednesday that would result in the Tigers first two wins of the season. No one said your SEC debut was going to be easy, but the Tigers just can’t seem to catch a break.
11) Tennessee 1-2 (4-7 Overall)
Tennessee continues to bob along mediocrely in their early season. This weekend did serve as a small victory for the Vols, as they traveled to Cary, N.C. to take part in the USA Baseball tournament at the USA National Baseball training complex. Going in as one of the worst teams listed in the tourney, the Vols would beat Massachusetts 6-4 to prove themselves not to be the worst team in Cary. However they wouldn’t be the best either, as powers no.26 Notre Dame and no.30 Virginia Tech would beat the Vols 3-2 and 7-3 respectively.
12) Alabama 1-3 (8-4 Overall)
After starting 2013 6-0, Alabama has tailed off in recent weeks. Alabama came into last weekend’s series with one loss in their season, and left with four. The Crimson Tide was no match for the Green Wave, as Tulane took two out of three from Bama in Tuscaloosa. Then on Tuesday the Tide dropped their fifth straight Capital City Classic to their hated rivals, Auburn. In a season that’s all about momentum for this young Alabama squad, the past six games have not been kind. The Crimson Tide only has two more series left to pad their record before conference play.
13) Arkansas 0-4 (7-5 Overall)
What Southern Cal was in college football is what Arkansas has been of college baseball in 2013. Starting off the season as the pre-season no.1 has been the only highlight of the Razorbacks season. The now no. 16 Razorbacks traveled to the west coast to take part in the Coca-Cola Classic last weekend, but Arkansas’s bats were frozen in the Arizona heat, as they scored only six runs in their four games. No. 23 Arizona State beat Arkansas on Thursday and Saturday, while lesser squads Gonzaga and Pacific also got the best of the Razorbacks. Arkansas’s offense was exposed badly this weekend, which doesn’t bode well with Ole Miss being your first conference series next weekend.