SEC Baseball Team By Team Breakdowns

March 20, 2010
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SEC Baseball Capsules Entering Conference Play

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SEC baseball play is underway this weekend, and Baton Rouge Advocate writer (and Collegebaseball360.com contributor) Randy Rosetta just published SEC baseball team capsules.  Here’s a look at how every team in the SEC shakes down.

2010 SEC BASEBALL WEST DIVISION

(Projected order of finish)

LSU

2009 finish 56-17, 20-10 (West and SEC co-champion); won College World Series

2010 record: 14-2

Rankings: No. 3 Collegiate Baseball, No. 3 USA Today/ESPN, No. 6 National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, No. 7 Baseball America

Key wins so far: Pepperdine (2), Kansas

Top offensive threats: Leon Landry (.411, 17 R, 3 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 17 RBIs, 8-9 SB), Blake Dean (.391, 6 2B, 4 HR, 23 RBIs), Mikie Mahtook (.385, 14 R, 6 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 14 RBIs, 10-12 SB)

Top pitchers: Anthony Ranaudo (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 6 SO 5 IP), Matty Ott (0-0, 6 saves, 2.25 ERA), Austin Ross (2-0, 4.57 ERA, 25 SO)

Key SEC series: Arkansas (Friday-Sunday), at Florida (April 30-May 2)

Of note: The Tigers are third in the SEC with 34 steals and are tied for third with 20 home runs. … LSU has saves in half its games, paced by Ott’s league-best six. … Trey Watkins tops the SEC with 27 runs scored. The Tigers are the only team in the league with two players with 10 stolen bases (Watkins and Mahtook). … LSU has hit a league-best eight triples, with Landry (3), Watkins (3) and Mahtook (2) splitting the total.

Arkansas

2009 finish 41-24, 14-15 (fourth place); went 2-2 at CWS and finished tied for third place

2010 record: 12-3

Rankings: No. 13 Baseball America, No. 14 NCBWA, No. 15 USA Today/ESPN, No. 16 Collegiate Baseball

Key wins so far: Kansas, California (2)

Top offensive threats: Zack Cox (.410, 18 R, 2 HR, 18 RBIs), Andy Wilkins (.315, 6 HR, 20 RBIs), Collin Kuhn (.340, 2 HR, 10 RBIs, 7-7 SB)

Top pitchers:  Drew Smyly (2-0, 1.80 ERA, 31 SO), Mike Bolsinger (2-0, 3.38 ERA, 19 SO)

Key SEC series: Alabama (March 26-28), at Florida (April 23-25)

Of note: The Razorbacks have issued a league-low 30 walks in 135 innings. Arkansas hitters have also drawn the most walks (98). … The Hogs have also struck out a league-low 67 times. … Arkansas owns the SEC’s top ERA (2.72) and ranks third in opponent batting average (.241). … The Razorbacks have produced the fewest extra-base hits in the league, 46 (23 doubles, 2 triples, 21 home runs).

Alabama

2009 finish 37-21, 18-11 (third place); lost in NCAA Regional

2010 record: 14-1

Rankings: No. 21 USA Today/ESPN, No. 23 NCBWA

Key wins so far: at College of Charleston (2), Minnesota (2)

Top offensive threats: Taylor Dugas (.463, 6 2B, 18 R, 7-11 SB), Clay Jones (.365, 5 HR, 23 RBIs), Josh Rutledge (.403, 5 2B, 3 HR, 20 RBIs, 6-6 SB)

Top pitchers:  Jimmy Nelson (3-0, 0.82 ERA, 26 SO), Adam Morgan (2-0, 3.27 ERA, 25 SO)

Key SEC series: at LSU (April 16-18), Ole Miss (May 14-16)

Of note: The Crimson Tide is in its first season under former Northwestern State coach and LSU player Mitch Gaspard. … Dugas, a Lafayette native, leads the SEC in hitting by 42 points. … Alabama is tied for second in the SEC in fielding percentage at .979, but the Crimson Tide has turned a league-low eight double plays. … Bama pitching has surrendered a league-low five home runs.

Ole Miss

2009 finish 44-20, 20-10 (West and SEC co-champions); lost in Super Regional

2010 record: 13-4

Rankings: No. 19 USA Today/ESPN, No. 20 Collegiate Baseball, No. 21 Baseball America, No. 22 NCBWA

Key wins so far: Louisville

Top offensive threats: Tim Ferguson (.353, 17 R, 4 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 11-11 SB), Matt Smith (.339, 23 R, 4 2B, 3 HR, 19 RBIs)

Top pitchers: Aaron Barrett (4-0, 1.80 ERA, 30 SO), Drew Pomeranz (2-0, 1.54 ERA, 40 SO)

Key SEC series: Florida (March 26-28), LSU April 23-25

Of note: Pomeranz tops the league with 40 strikeouts in 23ª innings. … Ole Miss hitters have struck out 124 times, second most in the SEC, but the Rebels have also drawn 96 walks, which is  the second most.

Auburn

2009 finish 31-25, 11-19 (fifth place)

2010 record: 11-5

Rankings: None

Key wins so far: None

Top offensive threats: Brian Fletcher (.421, 4 2B, 7 HR, 26 RBIs), Hunter Morris (.380, 5 2B, 4 HR, 17 RBIs), Dan Gamache (.380, 2 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 12 RBIs)

Top pitchers:  Cole Nelson (3-0, 3.74 ERA, 26 SO), Dexter Price (2-0, 2.84 ERA)

Key SEC series: South Carolina (March 26-28), at Ole Miss (May 20-22)

Of note: Slugger Brian Fletcher tops the SEC in slugging percentage (.860) and ranks second in batting (.421), homers (7) and RBIs (26). … AU has more position starters back (7) than any team in the West. … The Tigers haven’t been to the SEC tournament since 2003. … Auburn leads the SEC with 25 homers and is also tied for the league lead in sacrifice bunts with 16. … The Tigers have committed an SEC-worst 32 errors and AU pitchers have surrendered 48 extra-base hits (31 doubles, 1  triple, 16 home runs).

Mississippi State

2009 finish 25-29, 9-20 (sixth place)

2010 record: 11-6

Rankings: None

Key wins so far: None

Top offensive threats: Connor Powers (.409, 14 R, 4 2B, 8 HR, 19 RBIs, 3-3 SB), Cody Freeman (.370, 3 2B, 2 HR, 11 RBIs), Luke Adkins (.345, 18 R, 3 2B, 1 HR)

Top pitchers:  Chris Stratton (2-2, 2.95 ERA, 21 SO), Caleb Reed (0-1, 2.33 ERA, 20 SO)

Key SEC series: Ole Miss (April 30-May 2), at Auburn (May 7-9)

Of note: Power accounts for half of the Bulldogs’ 16 home runs and has driven in 26 percent of their runs. … State pitching has thrown 20 wild pitches and has hit 20 batters. … The Bulldogs have struck out 144 times, 20 more times than anybody in the league. … Stratton is the only MSU pitcher who has started with an ERA under 4.00. Only three of the hits he has allowed have gone for extra bases and none have left the ballpark.

EAST DIVISION

(Projected order of finish)

Florida

2009 finish 42-22, 19-11 (SEC champion); lost in Super Regional

2010 record: 13-3

Rankings: No. 6 Baseball America, No. 8 NCBWA, No. 11 Collegiate Baseball, No. 11 USA Today/ESPN

Key wins so far: Miami (2), Florida State

Top offensive threats: Matt den Dekker (.394, 23 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBIs, 6-6 SB), Preston Tucker (.383, 4 2B, 2 HR, 15 RBIs), Austin Maddox (.373, 5 2B, 4 HR, 21 RBIs)

Top pitchers:  Alex Panteliodis (4-0, 1.10 ERA, 17 SO), Kevin Chapman (0-0, 3 saves, 0.00, 10 SO)

Key SEC series: LSU (April 30-May 2), at South Carolina (May 20-22)

Of note: The Gators returned 10 pitchers from last season’s roster, but none who won more than six games last season. Five pitchers have started this season and four have saves. … Florida has topped 10 runs only twice this season but also has allowed 10 or more only twice. … The Gators’ first 20 games are all in Florida. Their only road games so far have been in Tallahassee and Miami. … Florida is 3-2 against the Hurricanes and Seminoles this season and also owns three wins against South Florida and one against Central Florida. … den Dekker’s 28 hits lead the SEC and is tied for third with 71 at-bats.

South Carolina

2009 finish 40-23, 17-13 (second place); lost in NCAA Regional

2010 record: 13-4

Rankings: No. 16 Baseball America, No. 23 Collegiate Baseball, No. 24 NCBWA

Key wins so far: East Carolina, Clemson

Top offensive threats: Kyle Enders (.393, 6 2B, 11 RBIs), Scott Wingo (.378, 17 R, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 11 RBIs), Whit Merrifield (.351, 23 R, 5 2B, 3 HR, 17 RBIs, 3-4 SB)

Top pitchers:  Blake Cooper (3-0, 3.28 ERA, 24 SO), Nolan Belcher (2-0, 0.61 ERA, 21 SO)

Key SEC series: at Vanderbilt (April 9-11), Florida (May 20-22)

Of note: The Gamecocks have allowed an SEC-low 118 hits, but have allowed the most home runs in the league (17), issued 60 walks (9th in the league) and hit 11 hitters (9th). … USC pitchers also top the league with 183 strikeouts. … All of South Carolina’s losses are against ranked teams – two apiece to East Carolina and Clemson. … Wingo has collected only 14 hits this season, but is second in the SEC in on-base average (.579) because of 12 walks and seven hit-by-pitches. … Merrifield tops the SEC in plate appearances (86) and official at-bats (74).

Vanderbilt

2009 finish 37-27, 12-17 (fourth place); lost in NCAA regional

2010 record: 15-2

Rankings: No. 16 USA Today/ESPN, No. 18 Collegiate Baseball, No. 18 NCBWA, No. 19 Baseball America

Key wins so far: Southern California, Oklahoma State

Top offensive threats: Bryan Johns (.419, 18 R, 5 2B, 9 RBIs, 3-3 SB), Jason Esposito (.391, 20 R, 7 2B, 4 HR, 20 RBIs, 10-11 SB), Aaron Westlake (.333, 15 R, 7 2B, 1 3B, 4 HR, 19 RBIs)

Top pitchers: Taylor Hill (3-0, 1.98 ERA, 24 SO), Sonny Gray (3-1 2.96 ERA, 29 SO), Chase Reid (2-1, 1.47 ERA, 18 SO)

Key SEC series: at Florida (April 2-4), South Carolina (April 9-11)

Of note: The Commodores are the only team in the league in the top three in team batting (first, .352) and team pitching (second, 2.77 ERA). … Vandy also leads the leagues in runs (153), hits (211), doubles (47) and ranks second with 35 stolen bases. … Despite leading the SEC in those categories, no Commodore leads the league in a major category. … Vandy has pounded 10 hits or more in 13 of 17 games this season. … The Commodores four starting pitchers (Hill, Gray, Reid and Jack Armstrong) have combined for an 85-to-28 strikeout-to-walk ratio. That quartet has also given up only three home runs in 92ª innings.

Kentucky

2009 finish 28-26, 12-16 (fifth place)

2010 record: 14-3

Rankings: No. 20 USA Today/ESPN, No. 20 NCBWA, No. 22 Baseball America, No. 26 Collegiate Baseball

Key wins so far: Virginia Tech, Coastal Carolina

Top offensive threats: Keenan Wiley (.390, 16 R, 3 2B, 2 HR, 14 RBIs, 4-6 SB), Gunner Glad (.373, 13 R, 4 2B, 2 HR, 15 RBIs), Chad Wright (.357, 2 2B, 2 HR, 16 RBIs)

Top pitchers:  Logan Darnell (3-0, 2.17 ERA, 23 SO), Taylor Rogers (3-0, 4.30, 14 SO), Matt Little (1-0, 4 saves, 0.59 ERA, 21 SO)

Key SEC series: at Arkansas (April 2-4), LSU (May 14-16)

Of note: The Wildcats returned eight position starters from last season, the most in the SEC. … UK tops the league with 36 stolen bases and has attempted the most (46). … Kentucky pitchers have given up 10 hits or more in five games and the ‘Cats have won three of those. … Andy Burns leads the Wildcats with four home runs. Burns also has four doubles and a triple among his 19 hits this season. … Neiko Johnson is hitting just .150 for the Wildcats, but he has managed to steal an SEC-best 15 bases in 15 tries.

Tennessee

2009 finish 26-29, 11-19 (sixth place)

2010 record: 10-7

Rankings: None

Key wins so far: Oregon State

Top offensive threats: P.J. Polk (.373, 14 R, 5 2B, 10-14 SB), Cody Hawn (.321, 4 2B, 3 HR, 14 RBIs), Zach Osborne (.295, 17 R, 7 2B, 4 HR, 13 RBIs)

Top pitchers:  Stephen McCray (2-1, 0.73 ERA, 15 SO), Bryan Morgado (2-1, 5.16 ERA, 29 SO)

Key SEC series: at South Carolina (Friday-Sunday), at Georgia (May 7-9)

Of note: The Volunteers’ eight wins against LSU coach Paul Mainieri are the most of any SEC opponent. … McCray tops the SEC in ERA and opponent batting average (.153). Morgado has also been tough to solve, as foes are hitting just .188 (third) and have struck out looking 13 times, an SEC high. … UT has three one-run losses and two others by two runs. Included in that group are a 1-0 loss at Oregon State and a 2-0 setback against Ohio State, two ranked foes. … Six  pitchers have started for the Vols. … Only three Tennessee regulars are hitting above .300, paced by Polk and Hawn.

Georgia

2009 finish 38-24, 15-15 (third place); lost in NCAA Regional

2010 record: 8-9

Rankings: None

Key wins so far: Baylor

Top offensive threats: Christian Glisson (.396, 12 R, 2 2B), Zach Cone (.382, 17 R, 3 2B, 4 3B, 1 HR, 16 RBIs, 4-4 SB), Peter Verdin (.306, 16 R, 6 2B, 5 HR, 16 RBIs, 6-6 SB)

Top pitchers:  Justin Grimm (1-1, 5.40 ERA, 21 SO), Michael Palazzone (4-1, 7.85 ERA, 10 SO)

Key SEC series: Auburn (Friday-Sunday), Tennessee (May 7-9)

Of note: Two years removed from playing for the national championship, the Bulldogs are the only league team with a losing record heading into SEC play. Pitching is the main culprit: The Bulldogs’ staff has a 7.22 ERA and has given up 190 hits in 147 innings, along with an SEC-worst 79 walks. … Georgia has lost all five games against ranked foes this season, including four in a row vs. Alabama (non-conference) and Florida State. … The Bulldogs have allowed 92 runs in their nine losses and 38 in their eight wins.

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