Every week, we write about how jumbled the Southeastern Conference race is. But it is no longer murky at the top.
Florida has solidified itself as the SEC front-runner, improving to 17-6 in the league after clinching a road series at Alabama with a 4-3 win Saturday. The Gators lead the East by four games over Vanderbilt and South Carolina, and they maintain a two-game lead over Mississippi in the overall standings.
Casey Turgeon (3-for-3, R, RBI, 2 BB) led the Florida offense Saturday, Taylor Gushue hit a game-tying solo homer in the sixth, and A.J. Puk delivered a go-ahead RBI single later in that frame, as the Gators beat Justin Kamplain (5.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER). Puk (2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R) also picked up the win in relief of Aaron Rhodes (2.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER), as four Florida relievers combined to work 6.2 innings of scoreless, three-hit relief.
The loss dropped Alabama a game and a half behind Ole Miss, which clinched a home series against Arkansas with a 7-4 win. The Hogs jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first against Christian Trent (5 IP, 9 H, 4 ER), who quickly settled down and wound up earning the win, as the Rebels scored three in the bottom of the first and then surged ahead with three more in the fourth. Sikes Orvis (2-for-3, 2 R, 2 RBI) hit his 12th homer of the year, and Will Allen had three hits to lead the Ole Miss offense. The Rebels have now won four of their last five series since getting swept at Alabama.
Other Top 25 Showdowns
(23) Central Florida at (16) Houston: The Cougars erased a one-run deficit with two in the ninth to win 4-3, knotting the series. Ashford Fulmer hit a pinch-hit game-tying homer in the ninth, and Kyle Survance delivered a walk-off single. Jake Lemoine (7 IP, 7 H, 3 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) was solid in a no-decision for Houston, and Bubba Maxwell (2 IP, 0 H, 0 R) earned the win with strong relief.
Top 25 Upsets
(8) Louisiana State at Texas A&M: Cole Lankford’s walk-off RBI single in the ninth lifted the Aggies to a 3-2 win, leveling the series. Daniel Mengden (9 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 5 K) went the distance for A&M, while Jared Poche (7 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 5 BB, 3 K) was solid in a no-decision for the Tigers.
Alabama State at (10) Miami: In a back-and-forth game, Miami erased a three-run deficit with three in the sixth, then the teams traded two-run rallies in the seventh, but Alabama State struck the final blow with a run in the eighth to win 6-5, leveling the series. Miami made four errors, leading to three unearned runs, including the game-winner in the eighth against Bryan Garcia (2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K). Waldyvan Estrada (2-for-4, 2 RBI) and Einar Muniz (3-for-3, 2 R, RBI) led the Alabama State attack.
(21) Texas Tech at Kansas: The Jayhawks clinched the big road series with a 6-4 win, giving their bubble case a major boost. Dakota Smith and Blair Beck had two RBIs apiece to lead the KU offense, and Drew Morovick (3.2 IP, 4 H, 1 ER) earned the win in relief. Chris Sadberry (3.2 IP, 6 H, 5 ER) took the loss for Texas Tech, which fell into a three-way tie for third place with Texas and Kansas (11-9).
(25) Kentucky at Tennessee: The Volunteers won the series rubber game 5-1. Christin Stewart and Tyler Schultz had two RBIs apiece in support of Andy Cox (7.2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 6 BB, 7 K), while Kentucky starter Andrew Nelson (4.2 IP, 2 H, 2 ER) fell to 1-5 on the year. The Wildcats and Vols are now tied at 10-14 in the SEC.
Other Top 25 Results
(2) Oregon State at California: The Beavers broke a 2-2 tie with seven runs in the 10th inning to win 9-3, clinching the road series. Andrew Moore (7.2 IP, 6 H, 2 ER) was solid in a no-decision, and Scott Schultz escaped a first-and-third jam in the eighth by inducing a 4-6-3 double play.
(3) Louisiana-Lafayette at Arkansas State: The Cajuns clinched the series with a 7-0 win behind Carson Baranik (9 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K), who bounced back strong from his first loss of the season last week to improve to 9-1. The efficient Baranik needed just 84 pitches to complete his shutout. Tyler Girouard (3-for-5, R, RBI, 2B) led the offense for the Cajuns, who are 43-6 overall and 20-3 in the Sun Belt, six games ahead of second-place Arkansas State and Texas State.
(4) Cal Poly at UC Riverside: Mark Mathias (2-for-4, 3 RBI) paced Cal Poly’s 10-hit attack, and Taylor Chris (3.1 IP, 3 H, 0 R) was strong in relief to earn the win, as the Mustangs evened the series with a 7-5 victory, snapping their four-game skid.
Minnesota at (6) Florida State: The Seminoles clinched the series by sweeping a hard-fought doubleheader, 5-4 and 3-2. Luke Weaver (4.1 IP, 4 H, 1 ER) left in the fifth inning of the first game after taking a line drive off his right leg, but Billy Strode (3.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R) kept the Gophers at bay until the ninth, when they took the lead with three runs against Gage Smith. But FSU answered with two in the bottom of the ninth, capped by a walk-off single from John Nogowski (3-for-5, R, 2 RBI). Nogowski went 4-for-4 to pace the offense in the nightcap, and Mike Compton (7.2 IP, 7 H, 2 ER) improved to 5-1.
(7) Washington at Utah: Trevor Mitsui (3-for-4, 2 R, RBI) paced UW’s balanced 15-hit barrage in support of Tyler Davis (8 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 5 K), who improved to 10-1 in Washington’s series-clinching 11-1 win. The Huskies are 18-5 in the Pac-12, percentage points behind Oregon State (16-4).
(9) South Carolina at Georgia: The Gamecocks evened the series with a 5-2 win behind Jack Wynkoop (6 IP, 5 H, 2 ER) and bullpen stalwarts Cody Mincey (2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R) and Joel Seddon. Grayson Greiner hit a two-run homer in the third, and the Gamecocks broke a 2-2 tie with two runs in the seventh.
(13) Louisville at South Florida: The Cardinals swept a doubleheader, 3-1 and 3-2 (11 innings). Grant Kay (3-for-4, 2 R) and Jeff Gardner (2-for-5, 2 RBI) led the Louisville offense in the opener behind Kyle Funkhouser (7.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 8 K). Gardner had two more hits and two more RBIs in the nightcap, including the game-winning RBI single in the 11th. Jared Ruxer (7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 8 K) was strong in a no-decision in that one, and Cole Sturgeon (2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R) earned the win.
Purdue at (15) Indiana: Sam Travis and Scott Donley had two hits and two RBIs apiece to lead the Indiana offense in support of Christian Morris (5.1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER), as the Hoosiers clinched the series with a 7-3 win.
Kansas State at (17) Texas Christian: Keaton Jones’ two-run triple highlighted TCU’s three-run fourth, and Tyler Alexander (7 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K) made it stand up in a series-clinching 3-1 win.
Arizona State at (18) Oklahoma State: The Cowboys clinched the series with a 6-5 win in 11 innings. Donnie Walton hit a walk-off single in the 11th, and Tim Arakawa had four hits to pace OSU’s 16-hit barrage. Vince Wheeland (4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K) earned the win with strong relief work.
(19) Texas at West Virginia: The Longhorns evened the series with a 2-0 win. Chad Hollingsworth (2 IP, 1 H, 0 R) earned the win in relief of Nathan Thornhill (4 IP, 7 H, 0 R), and John Curtiss worked three scoreless for his eighth save.
(20) Vanderbilt at Missouri: Vanderbilt scored all five of its runs in the third inning, and Carson Fulmer (6 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 3 K) cruised in a 5-1 win.