SEC East Weekend Preview (March 7th-9th)

SEC Circle Gold Letters on White Background#3 South Carolina (12 – 0) vs Brown (No record)

The Gamecocks have moved up to No. 3 in the NCBWA poll and have a great chance at remaining undefeated with a weekend home series with Brown on the docket. The Gamecocks have the team stats one would expect a perfect record squad to have in the early going. They are batting .317 as a team while their stellar pitching staff boasts a 1.50 ERA and a miniscule opponent batting average of .208. Talk about a tough early season test for the Bears as this is their first series of the year.

Player Spotlight: Grayson Greiner – C

The junior pre-season All-American has been an offensive force in the Gamecocks potent lineup. He’s batting .350 with three home runs and 18 RBI’s in 12 games, along with a .458 OBP and .625 SLG. Many consider Greiner, also a strong defensive catcher, the Gamecocks top 2014 MLB Draft prospect.

Friday, 7 p.m. ET – LHP Jordan Montgomery (2-0, 2.60 ERA) vs RHP Anthony Galan

Saturday, 4 p.m. ET – LHP Jack Wynkoop (3-0, 1.96 ERA) vs RHP Dave St. Lawrence

Sunday, 12:30 p.m. ET – RHP Wil Crowe (2-0, 1.40 ERA) vs TBA

Tennessee (12-0) vs #24 Arizona State (6-4)

Like the Gamecocks, the Volunteers also find themselves off to a hot 12-0 start. They remain unranked at the moment due to the uninspiring competition they’ve played in the friendly confines of home thus far. With their first road trip on schedule this weekend, at No. 24 Arizona State no less, a series win will assuredly enter the Vols into the rankings. The Volunteers are batting .318 as a team and have outscored their opponents 103-to-31 in their 12 wins.

Player Spotlight: Nick Williams – RHP

One of the few Seniors on the roster, Williams has set the tone for the rest of the pitching staff thus far in the Friday night starter role. He has won all three starts while allowing a miniscule 5 hits and 2 earned runs over 18 innings of work. Opponents are batting just .091 against the 6’2, 230 pound ace.

Friday, 8:30 p.m. ET – RHP Nick Williams (3-0, 1.00) vs LHP Brett Lilek (1-0, 1.29)

Saturday, 8:30 p.m. ET – RHP Andrew Lee (2-0, 3.60) vs LHP Ryan Kellogg (1-1, 4.50)

Sunday, 3:30 p.m. ET – RHP Kyle Serrano (3-0, 3.29) vs RHP Darin Gillies (1-1, 6.75)

#6 Vanderbilt (12-2) vs Winthrop (6-6)

The defending champion Commodores have a relatively easy home matchup with visiting Winthrop. This matchup will be their final out of conference series before SEC play begins. The ‘Dores possess one of the nation’s stingiest pitching units thus far as their staff leads all of Division I baseball with 5.17 hits per nine innings and a .169 opponent batting average. The ‘Dores are also strong on defense with a .985 fielding percentage that tops the SEC leaderboard.

Player Spotlight: Tyler Beede – RHP

Beede is the ringleader of the Commodores stingy pitching staff, not to mention one of the highest rated draft prospects in the country. He’s won all three starts, leads the SEC in hits allowed per nine innings (2.5), and has struck 24 batters in just 18 innings of work.

Friday, 5 p.m ET – RHP Tyler Beede (3-0, 1.00) vs. LHP Sam Kmiec (1-0, 2.95)

Saturday, 3 p.m. ET – LHP Jared Miller (3-0, 0.50) vs. RHP Joey Strain (2-1, 2.45)

Sunday, 2 p.m. ET – RHP Tyler Ferguson (2-0, 1.59) vs. TBA

#22 Kentucky (11-2) vs Ball State (9-3)

The Wildcats are off to a hot start and take on a decent looking Ball State squad (currently leading the MAC Western division) at home this weekend. This will be Kentucky’s final non-SEC series. The Wildcat offense has been one of the best in the SEC with a .323 team average, highlighted by All-American outfielder Austin Cousino and his .446 average.

Player Spotlight: A.J. Reed – 1B/LHP

It’s hard to find a better all around two-way player in the country than Reed. In addition to serving as the Friday night starter (where he’s won all three starts), Reed also plays first base for the Wildcats and leads the nation with seven home runs and 24 RBI’s through 13 games. He’s considered a top draft prospect both as a hitter and pitcher, a nice problem to have.

Friday, 4 p.m. ET – LHP A.J. Reed (3-0, 1.00 ERA) vs RHP T.J. Weir (1-1, 5.28 ERA)

Saturday, 2 p.m. ET – RHP Chandler Shepherd (2-0, 3.32 ERA) vs RHP Scott Baker (1-1, 5.14 ERA)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET – TBA vs LHP Clay Manering (1-1, 4.08 ERA)

Florida (7-6) vs UConn (4-5)

It’s been a disappointing start for the Gators who had high expectations coming into the year. However, there’s ample time for Florida to pick things up and a series win against UConn at home would be a nice start. The Gators have been power deficient on offense with just one team homer to date and a sub-par .251 team average as well.

Player Spotlight: Karsten Whitson – RHP

What type of season the talented redshirt junior has could play a key role in how far the Gators go. The former 9th overall pick of the 2010 draft missed all of last season due to TJ. He’s off to an okay start in the Sunday role but could stand to lower his walk rate (4.5 BB/9).

 

Friday, 7 p.m ET – RHP Logan Shore (0-1, 0.69) vs RHP Jordan Tabakman (0-1, 4.76)

Saturday, 3 p.m. ET – LHP A.J. Puk (1-1, 4 70) vs LHP Anthony Marzi (1-1, 2.16)

Sunday, 1 p.m. ET - RHP Karsten Whitson (1-0, 4.50) vs RHP Brian Ward (1-2, 2.76)

Georgia (7-6) hosting Bulldog Invitational

The Bulldogs are hovering around .500 in the early going of the season. They are batting .276 as a team and their pitching staff has pitched to a lackluster 4.69 ERA. Freshman Robert Tyler has been a bright spot, pitching to a 0.98 ERA with a 14-to-2 K/BB ratio through the first 18.1 innings of his collegiate career. Hunter Cole, the teams top draft prospect according to Baseball America, has paced the offense with an impressive .367/.492/.531 slash line.

Participants: Georgia, Buffalo, North Florida, and Western Carolina

Friday, 5 p.m. ET vs Buffalo

Saturday, 1 p.m. ET vs North Florida

Sunday, 3 p.m. vs Western Carolina

Missouri (4-6) vs Southern Miss (6-7)

It’s been a sluggish start for the Tigers but they finally get their first home series this weekend with a solid opponent in Southern Miss coming to town.

Player Spotlight: Brett Graves – RHP

Graves has been a star lately with 15 consecutive shutout innings pitched and an SEC pitcher of the week award. He’s limiting batters to a tiny .098 average.

Friday, 6 p.m. ET – RHP Brett Graves (1-1, 0.92 ERA) vs RHP Connor Fisk (1-0, 2.08 ERA)

Saturday, 2 p.m. ET – RHP John Miles (1-0, 7.43 ERA) vs LHP A.J. Glasshof (1-0, 3.86 ERA)

Sunday, 12 p.m. ET – RHP Eric Anderson (0-1, 3.00 ERA) vs RHP Cameron Giannini (0-1, 2.04 ERA)