On this Easter weekend, the hunt for the regular season SEC crown is on, as everyone moves into the second half of their conference slates. Nine teams sit at .500 or greater in SEC play to this point, with a mere 2.5 games separating them in the standings, and of those nine, eight enter the weekend ranked in the D1Baseball Top 25. No. 3 Mississippi State and No. 5 Georgia lead the way, each with 10-5 records in conference play. At 9-5-1, your No. 7 Aggies sit just a half game back. Then comes No. 6 Vanderbilt, No. 12 Arkansas, No. 14 LSU, and No. 15 Ole Miss are all a game back. Auburn at 8-7 and No. 21 Missouri at 7-7-1 are 2.0 and 2.5 games out of first, respectively. With five conference weekends remaining, the race continues to be very close.
The Aggies are headed to Columbia to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks (22-15, 4-11), who are currently tied with Kentucky and Alabama at the bottom of the SEC standings. Carolina has certainly not lived up to their usual standard thus far in 2019, as the Gamecocks are currently on pace for their worst-ever finish in the SEC. Yet this one has the feel of a must-win series for A&M. In a vacuum, this is a road series against an SEC team that currently sits with the No. 48 RPI, according to Warren Nolan. Merely winning the series would be huge for the Ags from an RPI / regional hosting point of view, which is their ultimate goal. Given just how tight the standings are, however, the Maroon & White need every W they can get.
As if that wasn’t enough, consider the other matchups around the league this weekend. Six of those nine aforementioned teams with .500 conference records or better will do battle against one another: Mississippi State at Arkansas, Missouri at Georgia, and Ole Miss at Auburn. Assuming no sweeps in any of those series, a sweep of South Carolina would put the Aggies in sole first place.
Statistically speaking, the Gamecocks are a bit puzzling. They rank at or near the bottom of almost every offensive category as a team. Despite this, they excel at one major offensive aspect: slugging. The Gamecocks sit fifth in team slugging percentage, which is buoyed in large part because they lead the league in home runs by a large margin. They’ve hit 12 more homers than second ranked Vandy (45 HRs). The Ags sit last in this department, with just 21 total on the season. If my math is correct, that 12-homer advantage South Carolina has over Vandy would make up over half of A&M’s total. That’s flat-out insane. If the Gamecocks get the longball going this weekend, watch out.
- Thursday: John Doxakis (4-2, 1.76 ERA) vs. Reid Morgan (3-2, 3.47 ERA)
- Friday: Asa Lacy (6-1, 1.69 ERA) vs. Cam Tringali (2-0, 2.81 ERA)
- Saturday: TBA vs. TBA
How to Watch
- Times: Thursday, 6:02 pm | Friday, 6:02 pm | Saturday, 3:02 pm
- TV: Saturday’s game will air on the SEC Network
- Live Video: All three games can be streamed on SEC Network +
- Radio: SportsRadio 1150 AM/The Zone 93.7 FM
- Live Stats: GamecocksOnline.com