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SEC Weekend Preview (April 8th-10th)

The SEC enters their fourth weekend of action as this is also the first week of a Thursday night game on the ESPN family of networks. South Carolina took the first game on the network yesterday behind a great pitching performance from Michael Roth and four different players drove in a run for the Gamecocks as they cruised to the 4-0 victory. The rest of the SEC play will begin tonight with LSU visiting Arkansas, Florida at Mississippi State, Alabama at Vanderbilt, Georgia at Ole Miss and Auburn at Kentucky. 

LSU (21-8, 3-6 SEC) at ARKANSAS (20-8, 3-6 SEC)

What to Watch For: LSU outfielder Mikie Mahtook has been off to a great start to the season leading the in all three triple crown categories with a .392 batting average, 10 homers, and 33 RBI. Arkansas has a 17-2 record in out of conference games but have struggled in their first three conference series as they are only 3-6.

Probable Starting Pitchers
FRIDAY LSU Fr. RHP Kurt McCune (5-0, 1.90 ERA vs ARK So. RHP DJ Baxendale (5-1, 1.85 ERA)
SATURDAY LSU Fr. RHP Kevin Gausman (2-3, 5.59 ERA) vs ARK Fr. RHP Brandon Moore (2-1, 3.89 ERA)
SUNDAY LSU Sr. RHP Ben Alsup (4-3, 2.89 ERA) vs ARK TBA

Prediction: Arkansas 2-1

FLORIDA (24-6, 7-2 SEC) at MISSISSIPPI STATE (20-9, 4-5 SEC)

What to Watch For: Hudson Randall has been absolutely dominant this season with a perfect 5-0 record with a 0.54 ERA including defeating South Carolina and LSU already on the year. Mississippi State is the top fielding team in the SEC with a .977 fielding percentage and have played error free baseball in 15 games on the year.

Probable Starting Pitchers

FRIDAY FLA So. RHP Hudson Randall (5-0, 0.54 ERA) vs MSU Jr. RHP Devin Jones (2-4, 3.82 ERA)
SATURDAY FLA So. LHP Brian Johnson (4-1, 2.92 ERA) vs MSU So. RHP Chris Stratton (4-2, 3.04 ERA)
SUNDAY FLA Fr. RHP Karsten Whitson (4-0, 2.06 ERA) vs MSU Jr. LHP Nick Routt (0-1, 2.61 ERA)

Prediction: Florida 2-1

ALABAMA (21-10, 7-2 SEC) at VANDERBILT (27-3, 7-2 SEC)

What to Watch For: Alabama number 1 starter Nathan Kilcrease isn’t your prototypical starting pitcher but has gotten things done this season as he is 4-1 with a 1.90 ERA. Vanderbilt has been excellent on the mound with a team ERA of 2.28 while the offense is hitting at .309 as they have one of the most balanced squads in the country.

Probable Starting Pitchers
FRIDAY ALA Sr. RHP Nathan Kilcrease (4-1, 1.90 ERA) vs VU Jr. RHP Sonny Gray (6-1, 1.74 ERA)
SATURDAY ALA Jr. LHP Adam Morgan (4-1, 4.10 ERA) vs VU Jr. LHP Grayson Garvin (5-1, 2.36 ERA)
SUNDAY ALA TBA vs VU Sr. RHP Taylor Hill (2-0, 2.84 ERA)

Prediction: Vanderbilt sweep

GEORGIA (16-14, 6-3 SEC) at OLE MISS (19-11, 4-5 SEC)

What to Watch For: Alex Wood has beaten both CWS finalists this season with a victory over UCLA on March 11th and South Carolina on March 18th. He has shown the ability to shutdown teams this year and has to be watched. Both Matt Smith and Tanner Mathis are on long hitting streaks with Smith hitting safely in 14 straight games, while Mathis currently holds a hit streak of 13 consecutive games.

Probable Starting Pitchers
FRIDAY UGA So. LHP Alex Wood (3-3, 3.40 ERA) vs OM Jr. LHP Matt Crouse (6-1, 2.23 ERA)
SATURDAY UGA Jr. RHP Michael Palazzone (4-1, 2.14 ERA) vs OM Jr. RHP David Goforth (1-4, 3.32 ERA)
SUNDAY UGA Jr. LHP Craig Gullickson (3-1, 4.38 ERA) vs OM Jr. LHP Austin Wright (3-3, 3.96 ERA)

Prediction: Ole Miss 2-1

AUBURN (15-14, 2-7 SEC) at KENTUCKY (16-14, 2-7 SEC)

What to Watch For: Both Auburn and Kentucky have gotten off to rough starts to the conference season as both of them have 2-7 conference marks. Alex Meyer who will get the ball on Friday for the Wildcats has to potential to be one of the top selections in the 2011 MLB Draft while Auburn RHP Derek Varnadore got off to a great start to the season but has cooled off in the last couple of weeks as he is 3-1 with a 3.39 ERA.

Probable Starting Pitchers
FRIDAY AU Jr. RHP Andrew Morris (1-2, 5.03 ERA) vs KY Jr. RHP Alex Meyer (3-4, 3.10 ERA)
SATURDAY AU Jr. RHP Derek Varnadore (3-1, 3.38 ERA) vs UK Fr. LHP Corey Littrell (4-1, 4.82 ERA)
SUNDAY AU TBA vs KY So. LHP Taylor Rogers (2-3, 5.05 ERA)

Prediction: Kentucky 2-1

SOUTH CAROLINA (23-5, 7-2 SEC) at TENNESSEE (19-10, 2-7 SEC)

Check out our preview of the series by clicking here.
FRIDAY SC So. RHP Colby Holmes (2-0, 3.91 ERA)  vs UT Jr. LHP Steven Gruver (3-3, 3.04 ERA)
SATURDAY  SC Fr. RHP Forrest Koumas (3-0, 2.10 ERA) vs UT TBA

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