Down the Stretch They Come

Five teams remain in the running for the SEC Baseball Tournament heading into the last two weekends of the season. The Florida Gators and South Carolina Gamecocks share the SEC lead at 17-7 and are the only schools that control their destiny over the next six games.

First let's look at the overall SEC standings:

Florida 17-7
South Carolina 17-7
Arkansas 16-8
Auburn 15-9
Ole Miss 15-9

Four of those teams were expected to be contenders when SEC play began, but Auburn's emergence as a top team is one of the best stories in the SEC this year. Ole Miss was expected to dominate with its top two pitchers, but the Rebels probably have not been quite as good as expected. They are, however the only SEC team to take a series from Kevin O'Sullivan's Gators.

Things will get very interesting this weekend as we look at the key series.

South Carolina @ Arkansas
Tennessee (11-13) @ Auburn
Ole Miss @ Alabama (10-14)
Georgia (3-19) @ Florida

Obviously that's a big plus for the Gators to be at home and facing the worst team in the SEC while Carolina has to travel to Arkansas. It's crucial for the Gators to take advantage of the matchups this weekend, because next weekend the Gamecocks have the benefit of playing the Gators at home. The perfect scenario for the Gators would be for the team to sweep Georgia while Arkansas takes two out of three. That result would give Florida a two game lead over both Arkansas and South Carolina with three games to play. The Gators could then lay claim to at least a share of the title with one win in Columbia next week.

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While the Gators and Gamecocks will have a showdown next weekend Auburn will go head-to-head with Ole Miss and Arkansas finishes up at Vanderbilt.

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Three other SEC teams will join the top five in the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Alabama. Vandy (12-10) is at the front of that line followed by LSU (12-12) and Tennessee (11-13). Those teams would be in right now, but Alabama (10-14) and Kentucky (9-15) aren't out of it just yet.

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The latest RPI ratings certainly show the strength of the SEC. Four SEC teams are in the top 16. Florida (No. 2) leads the way followed by Arkansas (No. 7), LSU (No. 15) and Vanderbilt (No. 16). Five other SEC teams are in the top 25: Auburn (No. 17), Alabama (No. 18), South Carolina (No. 19) Ole Miss (No. 20) and Kentucky (No. 22). It's interesting how different the order is in the RPI compared to the SEC standings.


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