SEC Power Rankings: Week 5

Every week, we’re previewing crucial match-ups across the SEC and ranking teams based on their performance and potential. All stats and records are through games on Wednesday March 18.

All rankings are provided by D1Baseball.com.

The first weekend of SEC baseball was full of upsets, extra-inning games, and dominating pitching performances.

SEC play started with a bang on Friday night, when Tennessee Volunteers‘ starter Bret Marks brought a no-hitter into the ninth in Gainesville. He departed the game with two Gators on base for junior reliever Andy Cox, who allowed the Gators to trim the lead to 6-3. Closer Andrew Lee finally shut the door on the Gators, giving the Volunteers the win. In the effort, Marks struck out eight while only giving up one hit and two earned runs.

#5 Texas A&M (22-0) continued its improbable run towards perfection with a series sweep over Auburn (14-7). The Tigers scored first in each game of the series, but the Aggies’ offense proved too much to handle. The Aggies put their perfect season on the line in Hoover against Alabama (12-7) this weekend.

An eight run, 8th inning rally aided Alabama in a 10-5 victory over Mississippi State (17-6) in Starkville. In the ballgame, Crimson Tide pitchers surrendered 12 walks. Shortstop Mikey White went 3-for-4 with a three run shot to break the game open for the Tide.

#4 Vanderbilt (17-4) used two walk-off victories over Arkansas (10-9) to sweep the Hogs in Nashville last weekend. On Sunday, the ‘Dores started a rally in the bottom of the ninth with a Jason Delay lead-off double. After a sacrifice bunt and a pair of intentional walks, Commodore star Dansby Swanson delivered a walk-off single on a 2-2 count to plate the winning run. The 1-0 victory was Vanderbilt’s fifth walk-off win of the season. Arkansas starter Trey Killian registered seven perfect innings in the game before leaving the game on a pitch count.

Ole Miss (11-9) and LSU (19-2) enjoyed a 14 inning thriller in Baton Rouge on Saturday night. The Rebels finally broke a 3-3 tie on a Sikes Orvis double in the top of the fourteenth. Orvis also tied the game at three in the top of the ninth to send the game to extras. LSU pitcher Alex Lange continued his string of dominance in 2015, lasting eight innings while fanning 13 Rebels and allowing two runs in a no-decision effort. LSU went on to win the series two games to one.

Not too long ago, Georgia (12-9) was a nationally ranked team coming off a series win over Florida State. Safe to say, the Bulldogs are a few years from a conference championship run. The Missouri Tigers (16-5) went to Athens and swept the Bulldogs. In the second game, Georgia hit three home runs, including an eighth inning shot to complete a three-run comeback to tie the game at four. However, the Tigers broke the game open in the tenth inning, scoring four runs in the top of the frame to win the game 8-4.

This week marks the second edition of my SEC series predictions this season. I will pick the winner for every series and keep track of my record throughout the year. Have predictions of your own? Tweet them @BB_Essential.

Sam’s Record: 6-1 Overall (6-1 Last Week)

  • Mississippi State over Kentucky
  • Florida over Ole Miss
  • LSU over Arkansas
  • South Carolina over Missouri
  • Texas A&M over Alabama
  • Tennessee over Georgia
  • Vanderbilt over Auburn

Now let’s get to the power rankings.

1. Florida Gators blue

(3-1 Last Week, 2-1 SEC, 19-3 Overall)

Top 25 Rank: #1

Weekend Series: at Ole Miss

The Gators recovered from a Friday loss to Tennessee to take the series in Gainesville. They also claimed a win over #20 Florida State on Tuesday. Outfielder Harrison Bader hit his seventh home run of the season last week, bringing his RBI total to 27.

 

2. Vanderbilt Commodores blue

(4-0 Last Week, 3-0 SEC, 17-4 Overall)

Top 25 Rank: #4

Weekend Series: at Auburn

Vanderbilt swept Arkansas in Nashville last weekend, extending their win streak to six games. The ‘Dores are now second in the SEC in team batting average at .314.

 

3. LSU Tigers blue

(3-1 Last Week, 2-1 SEC, 19-2 Overall)

Top 25 Rank: #3

Weekend Series: at Arkansas

LSU leads the SEC in batting average (.315) and total bases (363). On the mound, freshmen Alex Lange and Jake Godfrey continued their dominance last week. The duo is a combined 8-0 on the season, allowing just 12 earned runs in 58 innings.

 

4. Texas A&M Aggies green

(4-0 Last Week, 3-0 SEC, 22-0 Overall) 

Top 25 Rank: #5

Weekend Series: at Alabama

I can’t say enough about the Aggies. They are tied in first with Georgia for the SEC lead in home runs at 21. They also lead the SEC in ERA at 1.66. Texas A&M is the only undefeated team in college baseball.

 

5. South Carolina Gamecocks red

(3-1 Last Week, 3-0 SEC, 17-4 Overall)

Top 25 Rank: #6

Weekend Series: at Missouri

A weekday loss to Winthrop pushes the Aggies ahead of the Gamecocks this week. USC dominated the Wildcats last weekend. In the 10-1 winning effort on Friday, Wil Crowe allowed one hit with 10 strikeouts in seven innings, while slugger Max Schrock broke the game open with a grand slam over the right field fence in the fifth inning.

 

6. Alabama Crimson Tide greengreengreen

(3-1 Last Week, 2-1 SEC, 12-7 Overall)

Top 25 Rank: NR

Weekend Series: vs. #5 Texas A&M

The Crimson Tide claimed the series in Starkville last weekend, aided by strong performances from Mikey White and JC Wilhite. White is hitting .420 with two home runs and 21 RBI. Alabama pitchers have allowed an SEC-best three home runs this year.

 

7. Mississippi State Bulldogs red

(2-2 Last Week, 1-2 SEC, 17-6 Overall)

Top 25 Rank: Considered

Weekend Series: at Kentucky

A tough series loss to Alabama wont drop the Bulldogs much this week. Their lone win in the weekend series was a 4-1 victory, aided by a strong effort from starter Austin Sexton. He allowed one run on eight hits in a complete game effort for the Bulldogs.

 

8. Ole Miss Rebels red

(2-2 Last Week, 1-2 SEC, 11-9 Overall) 

Top 25 Rank: Considered

Weekend Series: vs. #1 Florida

A fourteenth inning rally to defeat LSU on Saturday highlighted a series loss for the Rebels in Baton Rouge. Christian Trent and Brady Bramlett have been lights out, but the Rebels still have not found a Sunday starter and time is running out.

 

9. Auburn Tigers red

(1-3 Last Week, 0-3 SEC, 14-7 Overall)

Top 25 Rank: NR

Weekend Series: vs. #4 Vanderbilt

The Tigers have a brutal schedule to open SEC play. After traveling to College Station, they host #4 Vanderbilt. Auburn fans will be thrilled to take one game in the series. They are an improved team, even though their SEC record early on may not show it.

 

10. Arkansas Razorbacks blue

(1-4 Last Week, 0-3 SEC, 10-9 Overall)

Top 25 Rank: NR

Weekend Series: vs. #3 LSU

The Razorbacks continued their spiral last week, highlighted by a pair of heart-breaking walk-off losses in Nashville. They can make some noise this weekend when they host LSU in a battle of two of the best fan bases in the SEC.

Let’s all take a moment to watch one of the best plays at third that you will ever see in college baseball. Courtesy of Bobby Wernes and @RazorbackBSB.

 

11. Missouri Tigers greengreen

(4-1 Last Week, 3-0 SEC, 16-5 Overall) 

Top 25 Rank: NR

Weekend Series: vs. #6 South Carolina

The Tigers had a surprising series sweep of Georgia last weekend. The Tigers have one of the best pitching staffs in the SEC, boasting a 2.02 ERA and .189 batting average against.

 

12. Tennessee Volunteers greengreen

(2-2 Last Week, 1-2 SEC, 9-8 Overall) 

Top 25 Rank: NR

Weekend Series: vs. Georgia

A dominant performance by Bret Marks stole the show in a 6-3 win in Gainesville on Friday. While the Vols weren’t able to pick up the series win, they have to be excited about the damage Marks will be able to do this season.

 

13. Kentucky Wildcats red

(0-4 Last Week, 0-3 SEC, 13-7 Overall)

Top 25 Rank: NR

Weekend Series: vs. Mississippi St

Kentucky fans are surely worried about basketball right now, but they do have something to look forward to on the diamond. Ace pitcher Zack Brown has a 2.77 ERA with a .189 batting average against in four starts this year.

 

14. Georgia Bulldogs redred

(0-4 Last Week, 0-3 SEC, 12-9 Overall)

Top 25 Rank: NR

Weekend Series: at Tennessee

Georgia is a team I cannot figure out. The series win over Florida State seems like a decade ago after a mid-week loss to Mercer. The Bulldogs have have blasted 21 home runs through 21 games, but they have struggled to find production elsewhere recently.

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