Photo Finish

The Southeastern Conference baseball regular season's final two weeks is shaping up to be quite a horse race, and Alabama is right in the thick of things as one of three teams a game-and-a-half or less behind Tennessee for the overall league lead.

Alabama (34-16, 14-10 SEC) hosts Arkansas (35-14, 11-13 SEC) in its final home series of the season and travel to Auburn (30-20, 11-13 SEC) in two weeks to wrap up the regular season slate . Alabama (4-0) and Mississippi State (4-0) are the only two SEC teams not to lose a home conference series year and the Tide needs that trend to continue this weekend.

Alabama is not expected to make up a home game with Southeastern Louisiana on April 6.

Winning a regular season or divisional title would be nice, but Alabama is not even a mathematical certainty to stay out of the bottom four slots and avoid missing the SEC tourney for a second straight year.

In the category of "Things You'd Rather Not Think About," last year there was a new precedent set in SEC baseball, where nine league teams were selected to play in NCAA regionals. Two years ago the NCAA selected Florida, who had missed the SEC tournament, but they left Vanderbilt at home.

This year some think 10 SEC teams making it to an NCAA regional is not far-fetched.

But Alabama currently shares the top spot with LSU and has been in first place or tied for first place after all 24 SEC games this season. In the overall SEC standings

Tennessee (15-8) leads Florida (15-9) by a half game for the overall conference lead and LSU and Alabama are both locked at 14-10 in league play.

Tennessee will finish up the regular season with series' at LSU and home against Georgia.

Florida will host Mississippi State travel to Vanderbilt to wrap the season while LSU goes to Mississippi State ti finish the season after hosting the Vols this weekend.

The Western Division race is even more jumbled. Arkansas and Auburn (both at 11-13) are last in the standings, both at three games back. Any team in the West that gets hot could

The two-week build-up to Hoover and the SEC tourney is shaping up to be a photo finish, and it could be a memorable one for Alabama if the squad keeps its blinders and focuses on the opponents across the diamond, and not on the SEC scoreboard.


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