Power Rankings – Week 4: The Real Season Begins
Ready or not, its time. The ‘preseason’ is over and every out really starts to count. Everyone knows your strengths and weaknesses, but can you exploit theirs more and get the win? These are the questions that will have answers over the next 10 weekends as conference play beings Friday. We will have the schedule listed in our Thursday post but needless to say Auburn, AL and Gainesville, FL will have the eyes of the nation upon them as we inch closer to some compelling baseball.
#1 Vanderbilt – LW 1 – (13-3)
- vs Illinois State, FRI – 10-4 W, SUN G1 9-1 W, SUN G2 6-3 L
Don’t read too much into the Sunday loss, it’s tough to win 18 innings no matter who you are. A series win and getting good work in for more of that freshman class is what Tim Corbin really wanted from this series. Speaking of Corbin, congrats to the Head Ball Coach on West End as he picked up his 800th win at Vandy.
Another major milestone for No. 4. Congrats, coach! #VandyBoys pic.twitter.com/54xigQ91WL— Vanderbilt Baseball (@VandyBoys) March 10, 2019
#2 Ole Miss – LW 2 – (12-3)
- vs UAB, FRI – 15-9 W, SAT 13-4 W, SUN 2-1 W
Solid series win against an ok UAB team but the story of the weekend for the Rebs was whoever was running their Twitter account on Sunday was on point.
T9 | Fire up the flamethrower, Caracci's bringing the heat! #HottyToddy pic.twitter.com/OryiKNvQrp— Ole Miss Baseball (@OleMissBSB) March 10, 2019
#3 Florida – LW 3 – (13-5)
- vs Yale, FRI – 6-5 W, SAT 15-1 W, SUN 4-3 W
You would be shocked to know that Yale was a top 10 RPI team coming into this weekend. How? I have no idea since they entered this weekend under .500 and didn’t play anyone of consequence before the Gators but I know that they will no longer be Top 10 after this weekend, though Friday and Sunday were a bit tighter than one would expect. Florida continues to bumble through things but that better change as the Starkville Dogs come to town this weekend.
#4 Arkansas – LW 4 – (12-2)
- vs Louisiana Tech, FRI – 4-2 W, 12-7 L, SUN 11-0 W
La Tech is nothing to sneeze at and the Hawgs found that out Saturday. Kudos to them, however, as they bounced back in a dominate way on Sunday to get the series win. In other news, Casey Martin is fast…
No need to slide. @CaseyOpitz has speed as he steals his fourth base of the year here in the 2nd.— Razorback Baseball (@RazorbackBSB) March 10, 2019
WATCH - https://t.co/8CtEzzmDlP pic.twitter.com/a3ilEGxjee
#5 Auburn – LW 5 – (14-2)
- vs UTSA, FRI – 6-0 W, SAT G1 5-0 W, SAT G2 8-3 W
We talked about it yesterday more in-depth, but another dominate series win for Auburn. Pitching competition will take a step up this weekend as Tennessee comes to town, but first Auburn takes on the Jags of South Alabama tonight.
#6 LSU – LW 6 – (11-4)
- vs California, FRI 4-3 W, SAT G1 5-2 L/7, SAT G2 5-4 W/7
Talk about a team with a bit of a hang over. After having to bust home to Baton Rouge from Austin last weekend because their flight out was cancelled, LSU was down 3-2 to Cal on Friday night as we went to the bottom of the 9th. Then this happened.
WHAT. A. GAME. @josh_smith8. Walk. It. Off. pic.twitter.com/R8XhovW0TA— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) March 9, 2019
Cal would go on to take game 2 to even the series so LSU would need more magic to make sure they didn’t fall to the very rare home series loss.
This man is on FIRE @cade_beloso with his second blast of the day to put the Tigers up, 5-4! #GeauxTigers— LSU Baseball (@LSUbaseball) March 10, 2019
A lot of people around the country thought Cal was prime to take this series and they were this close to doing it. Good on LSU to steal a series from the Bears.
#7 Texas A&M – LW 7 – (10-2) (15-3)
- vs Gonzaga, FRI 6-4 L, SAT 14-2 W, SUN 3-1 W
This is another case of, don’t read too much into it on Friday night. You could say that A&M had a bit of a hang over after a spectacular weekend in Houston prior, but I prefer to go with the Aggies ran into Bulldog ace, and preseason All-American pick Casey Legumina, who shut down A&M for no runs while scattering 4 hits and a walk with 5 strikeouts over 5 innings. The next two Bulldogs hurlers went 4 innings and gave up 10 hits and 4 runs with just 2 strikeouts. There was no hangover, Legumina was just better. The rest of the series was A&M’s with little question.
#8 South Carolina – LW 8 - (9-2) (13-3)
- vs Valparaiso, SAT G1 9-2 W, SAT G2 3-2 W, SUN 12-6 W
Solid weekend response after a banner weekend against Clemson (plus that Tiger sweep of North Carolina makes last weekend look even more impressive)
#9 Mississippi State – LW 9 – (10-1) (15-1)
- vs Maine, FRI G1 – 9-2 W, FRI G2 - 5-1 W, SUN 9-8 W
Not much to see here, Sunday was a fun one but it was just a matter of time before State choked the life out of the Bears.
No. 297 was CLUTCH!#HailState | @jakemangum15 pic.twitter.com/Sh0SUrrux5— Mississippi State Baseball ⚾️ (@HailStateBB) March 10, 2019
#10 Tennessee – LW 10 – (12-0) (15-1)
- vs Fresno State, FRI – 8-3 W, SUN G1 13-9 W, SUN G2 10-7 L
Well there goes last undefeated team in the SEC. Volunteer pitchers started to show a few holes in the armor at the wrong time as we get set to take the final turn into conference play. Tennessee plays 2 mid week games so it will be interesting to watch how they use their bullpen against UNC Ashville this week, more so the Wednesday game.
#11 Georgia – LW 11 – (9-2) (14-2)
- vs Presbyterian, FRI – 17-0 W, SAT G1 7-6 W, SAT G2 8-1 W
Bulldogs really luck out with that Saturday game. The Blue Hose had a 2 run lead for most of the game and thanks to some defensive errors, Georgia was able to jump ahead for good. Another series sweep for the Dawgs but I am interested to see what consistent competition does to the Georgia bats.
#12 Alabama – LW 12 – (10-2) (15-2)
- vs Northern Kentucky, FRI – 15-1 W, SAT 9-4 W, SUN 10-1 W
Like it or not, Alabama just keeps building those wins I was saying they needed in the early season. You can only play the teams that show up so I am not going to talk about that, especially after a sweep of the Jags in Mobile, but the competition is about to get turned up to 11 starting this weekend.
#13 Kentucky – LW 13 – (8-3) (11-4)
- vs Middle Tennessee St, FRI – 4-1 W, SUN G1 7-0 W, SUN G2 5-4 W
This was a fun little bookend series. Sure, the first game of Sunday was for the home folks, in which the Bat Cats went off and dominated MTSU, but the nightcap on Sunday was the real gem. Down two in the bottom of the 9th, Kentucky was able to get a runner on first, though all it really felt like was a chance for the Blue Raiders to get a double play opportunity as the Cats didn’t seem to be all that interested in moving him over…until.
Walk us off, @TheRealShinny !!! #SundayFunday ends in grand style with a #VictoryKentucky!!! #WaveTheFlag #WeAreUK pic.twitter.com/tkZQ9EtcsQ— Kentucky Baseball (@UKBaseball) March 10, 2019
Very nice series sweep for Kentucky. Now they take to the road again this weekend, this time, in Baton Rouge.
#14 Missouri – LW 14 – (6-5) (9-5)
- vs Northwestern, FRI 3-2 W, SAT 16-11 W, SUN 9-4 W
HEEEY!! There we go Mizzou! Northwestern really isn’t a power in the B1G but that really doesn’t matter, this was a Power 5 team and the Tigers dominated the back half of this series. Way to go Tigers, now its time to play spoiler in the SEC Regular Season.