Power Rankings – Week 11: No More Calls Please, We Have A Winner
Well it only took 11 weeks but I think we can honestly say we have a winner for SEC Regular Season Champion. Vanderbilt has the easiest road left and they also hold the tiebreaker over the team they are currently tied in the standings with, Arkansas. Vandy heads out this week for South Carolina, back home against Missouri, and then off to Kentucky while Arkansas has to go on the road to Kentucky, back home for a series with LSU and then back on the road to Texas A&M. Stranger things have happened but this Vanderbilt team is too good, in my opinion, to take games off against teams they should beat.
#1 Vanderbilt – LW 1 – (34-9)
- vs Auburn, THU: 12-6 W, FRI: 5-2 W, SAT: 9-5 W
Let’s just go ahead and bend the knee (sorry, still fired up from Game of Thrones). Vanderbilt showed their dominance over an Auburn club that was looking to gain some respect from the other teams in the conference and got swatted back. Time and time again, Auburn would make a push and every time, Vanderbilt would make a pitch or get a hit to push the Tigers away. Auburn led for about 5 pitches on Saturday and that’s all you heard from them. Kudos to this Vanderbilt ballclub; they will be fun to watch in June.
#2 Arkansas – LW 3 – (34-11)
- vs Tennessee, FRI: 11-9 W, SAT: 15-3 W, SUN: 4-3 W/10
Also officially clinching a spot in Hoover this weekend were the Razorbacks after a punishing sweep of Tennessee. Much like Vanderbilt, Arkansas got the sweep in 3 completely different ways, which is what you like to see, the offensive slugfest, power and pitching combined and the white knuckler get the base hit when you gotta have it with shutdown pitching.
A Sunday sweep in video form.— Razorback Baseball (@RazorbackBSB) April 29, 2019
Highlights from today's walk-off win over Tennessee ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/zpNQZOQVh7
#3 Mississippi State – LW 6 – (36-9)
- vs Georgia, FRI: 19-3 W, SAT: 9-3 W, SUN: 6-5 W
Boom. Talk about a statement. After getting humbled in Fayetteville last weekend, the Bulldogs did a little humbling of their own, this time against a Top 5 Georgia Bulldog team. In the Friday matchup alone, State scored 2 or more runs in 5 of the 8 innings they got to take swings. In other news, Jake Mangum took over the SEC career hits lead from Eddie Furniss and currently has 355 career hits. Congrats to the Bulldog senior.
#4 Georgia – LW 2 – (33-12)
- @ Mississippi State, FRI: 19-3 L, SAT: 9-3 L, SUN: 6-5 L
While you never want to plan to be swept, you could sorta feel this one coming for Georgia. Emerson Hancock decided to give his golden arm a week off, which explains the Friday debacle, and the comeback came up just short on Sunday as the bats were way too alive for the State version of Bulldogs. It doesn’t change much for Georgia however, they are now 2 games back of Vandy but as long as you stay in that top 4 for the SEC tournament, it really doesn’t hurt too much.
#5 LSU – LW 5 – (29-16)
- @ Alabama, FRI: 6-1 L, SAT: 5-2 W, SUN: 5-4 W
This one got a little bit scary for LSU. First, the Tigers got shut out on Friday until the 9th inning in a full on beatdown. Then, after evening up the series, LSU held a 5-3 lead in the 9th inning of game 3. Alabama loaded the bases on a HBP, Single and a walk. After a sac-grounder scored a run, LSU hit the next batter to load them up again. LSU was able to exhale though after a huge 3 pitch strikeout.
#6 Ole Miss – LW 9 – (30-15)
- vs Texas A&M, THU: 5-4 W, FRI: 13-3 W, SAT: 3-2 W
Wow, now that’s the way you bounce back. Ole Miss had dropped their last two series in a row to the likes of Kentucky and Auburn and were needing a series win in the worst way possible. Well they got it in spades as they swept as one of the hotter teams in the SEC in the Aggies. Great job by Mike Bianco to rally the boys and get them focused on the task at hand as we come down the stretch.
#7 Texas A&M – LW 4 – (30-15-1)
- @ Ole Miss, THU: 5-4 L, FRI: 13-3 L, SAT: 3-2 L
On the opposite side of the sweep, this one doesn’t feel good at all. While there was nothing that could really forecast that this was coming, it may be a blessing in disguise. Tough series against Auburn and South Carolina may have gotten the team complacent and Ole Miss may have just been the wake up call Rob Childress and the Aggies needed at the right time. We will find out soon enough as this Thursday, Mississippi State comes calling.
#8 Missouri – LW 11 – (30-15-1)
- vs South Carolina, FRI: 5-2 W, SAT: 11-0 W, SUN: 9-7 W/7
The sweep the Tigers wanted and needed. Talk about a gauntlet coming up for Missouri. After a Tuesday game against SE Missouri State the Tigers go nine SEC games in a row, at Tennessee, at Vandy and home against Florida. Good grief that is rough. That Sunday game may be a touch of an afterthought right now, but it will be huge on May 18th.
HIGHLIGHTS l Strong bullpen outings by sophomore RHP @konnor_ASH6 and senior RHP @cam_dulle kept #Mizzou in the ballgame after a shaky start. The Tiger offense continued to chip away, leading to @PeterZim30 game-winning 2-run blast in the 7th#MIZ #ShowMe #C2E ⚾️ pic.twitter.com/xoUgS6XYAE— Mizzou Baseball (@MizzouBaseball) April 29, 2019
#9 Tennessee – LW 7 – (31-14)
- @ Arkansas, FRI: 11-9 L, SAT: 15-3 L, SUN: 4-3 L/10
So close Tennessee, so close. Sure, You are going to have that one game against Arkansas where you should have just stayed in bed, but the Vols find themselves in the same place as Auburn this weekend, all the opportunity in the world to get the job done but just not able to get that one big out or that last big hit. It will come for both, the coaching staff’s and players are too good. The question is, will they get the chance to make noise when it counts.
#10 Florida – LW 10 – (28-18)
- vs Kentucky, FRI: 10-8 W, SAT: 5-1 L, SUN: 12-8 W
I don’t really like how many runs Florida gave up this weekend to Kentucky but I can’t argue with the outcome. This was a series Florida had to have and while a sweep would have been nice, a series win is what they had to have.
#11 Auburn – LW 8 – (27-17)
- @ Vanderbilt, THU: 12-6 L, FRI: 5-2 L, SAT: 9-5 L
While this weekend wasn’t a death blow by any stretch to this version of the Auburn Tigers, it is definitely a horn blow that all hands will be needed on deck. It also means that this weekend’s series against Alabama in Auburn should be treated as a Super Regional with a chance to go to Omaha on the line. Auburn would do very well to get a series sweep over the Tide, if for nothing else but to get them back to two games over .500 on the year. Should the Tigers drop this series, which is also possible since Alabama holds a 1-0 advantage over the Tigers this season, then things start to look bleak for June baseball.
#12 Alabama – LW 13 – (26-19)
- vs LSU, FRI: 6-1 W, SAT: 5-2 L, SUN: 5-4 L
As noted before, Alabama was a base hit away from taking this series from LSU. Credit the players and Coach Bo for still having the fight to keep going when hopes were high at the beginning of the season to make the NCAA Tournament. The Tide would probably have to win the SEC tournament at this point, unless they win out against @ Auburn, Texas A&M and @ Georgia…yup, gotta win the Tournament then…
#13 South Carolina – LW 12 - (24-20)
- @ Missouri, FRI: 5-2 L, SAT: 11-0 L, SUN: 9-7 L/7
Just a rough season for Carolina who had high hopes at the beginning of the season, but not enough offense and injuries to the pitching staff have derailed a promising 2019 campaign. They will be back in 2020 however, believe me.
#14 Kentucky – LW 14 – (22-22)
- @ Florida, FRI: 10-8 L, SAT: 5-1 W, SUN: 12-8 L
Good to avoid the sweep at the hands of the Gators, and your reward for avoiding that is a visit from the Arkansas Razorbacks…HAVE FUN!!
SEC Standings (with projected bracket)
As you will see below, Vandy and Arkansas both have their team colors highlighted. This means that they have clinched spots in Hoover, which was never really in doubt for those two but still needs to be represented.