South Carolina (26-3 overall, 8-1 SEC) jumped into the top spot from fifth in last week's poll. Alabama entered the top 10 in the same poll, up from 16th a week ago. South Carolina swept LSU in Baton Rouge over the weekend.
Emeel Salem is the Tide's hottest hitter. He was 8 for 17 last week, a .471 average. He hit safely in all four games this week to extend his career-best hitting streak to 14 games. In the Crimson Tide's series-clinching win over No. 1 Miss. State, Salem went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. He singled and scored in the Tide's two-run first inning and then stroked a two-run home run in the second inning as UA built a 4-0 lead, and he had three of Bama's six hits and two of the five runs in the win.
Salem's home run was his first at Alabama in 99 games, a span of 354 at-bats dating back to April 21, 2004 vs. Samford. For the season, Salem is batting a team-best .359 (46-for-128) with one home run and 15 RBI. He also leads UA with 29 runs scored, nine doubles and 20 stolen bases.
Bama hosts UAB at The Joe Wednesday night in what figures to be a mid-week tune up. The Blazers are 13-16 overall, and have lost their last nine games. Alabama has not always rolled in the mid-week games, however, with losses to Memphis and Troy already in mid-week games this year.
Carolina gets no break in mid-week action, hosting 7th-ranked Clemson (20-7) at Sarge Frye Field.
South Carolina and Alabama have both won all three SEC series played thus far. Carolina outscored LSU 31-7 in three games and batted .304 (34-for-112) with the pitchers allowing just seven runs on 17 hits with a 2.33 ERA.
The Gamecocks have put up outstanding numbers throughout their nine-game winning streak. In that stretch, USC has outscored opponents 93-24 and are batting .344 (114-for-331) with 14 home runs and 88 RBI. The pitching staff has a team ERA of 2.67 in 81 innings pitched.
Senior outfielder Michael Campbell is hitting .447 (17-for-38) during the nine-game streak. Campbell tied the USC career record for triples on Sunday with 12.