Florida teams faced rough outings over the last week in men’s basketball, but fans shouldn’t worry. SEC and ACC baseball will keep going strong for months. The Sunshine State dominates the action on CSS this weekend, with Florida State, Florida and Miami all on display. Here’s what you need to know about each matchup ahead.
No. 5 Florida State at Miami
The Seminoles have four losses in 2013. Just four. Fortunately for the Hurricanes, three of those defeats came on the road. Florida State dropped two of three against Virginia Tech in Blacksburg last weekend. How will it handle the next ACC road series?
Miami was on the losing end of its most recent series against Virginia, but we saw the Hurricanes take two of three in Blacksburg two weeks ago. Now 5-7 in ACC play, Florida State will be the toughest test of the year.
Stephen McGee is currently riding a 22-game hitting streak after crushing a grand slam against Florida Gulf Coast on Tuesday. He leads the Seminoles with 29 RBI and 11 doubles. Miami’s pitching staff holds a cumulative ERA of 4.11. McGee’s chances are promising to keep the streak rolling.
Leadoff hitter Chris Barr was 2-for-4 in the last game against the Cavaliers. He’s leading the Hurricanes with a .297 batting average in ACC play. If he can set the tone against the Seminoles stifling pitching staff, the rest of the lineup needs to follow suit. Alex San Juan, batting .294 in conference action, is the only other batter looking sharp lately.
With two games on CSS this weekend, you can see the Seminoles and Hurricanes face off on April 5 at 7:30 p.m. and April 6 at 7 p.m.
Florida at No. 17 Mississippi State
With a win over UCF Tuesday night, Florida is closing in on breaking .500 for the season. After taking two of three games against the No. 16 Rebels last weekend, we might be seeing a turning point in the season for the Gators. Another tough SEC road test awaits, though.
Mississippi State has been on the losing side of its last two series against Kentucky and Arkansas. SEC hasn’t been kind to the Bulldogs. At 3-6 in conference games, they’re still looking to find a rhythm in arguably the toughest region in college baseball.
With a team ERA of 2.55 and an opponent batting average of .204, it’s easy to see how the Bulldogs reached 24 wins already. Their pitching staff has so much depth. The Gators only bat .264 as a team. Senior Vickash Ramjit is 6-for-14 in his last four games so they’ll need him to keep his hot streak going in Starkville.
For the Diamond Dogs, Hunter Renfroe is still destroying everyone he faces. He went 2-for-4 against South Alabama on Tuesday and is now batting .439 on the year with nine homers and 36 RBI. He also leads the team with eight steals. You might not want to leave your couch when he steps up to the plate. First pitch is set for 4 p.m. on Saturday.
No. 9 Kentucky at No. 2 LSU
Kentucky is 6-2 over its last three series, now sitting at 22-6 overall. While those numbers are nothing to scoff at, well, LSU can probably scoff at them. The second-ranked Tigers have two losses this season. They’ve won their last nine games. Can anyone stop LSU?
With a 2.47 team ERA, the Tigers have given up 70 earned runs in 28 games. Guess which team is one point ahead of them? You guessed correctly. The Wildcats pitching staff boasts a 2.46 overall ERA with an opponent batting average of .243. Runs might come at a premium on Sunday.
Tigers’ first baseman Mason Katz was just named Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week and SEC Player of the Week Monday. Last week he batted a ridiculous .611 with three home runs and 12 RBI. Now hitting .419 overall with 13 bombs and 49 RBI in 2013, he’s making a run for postseason honors. Alex Bregman leads LSU with a .442 average. The team bats above .300 collectively. Do I need to keep telling you how good the Tigers lineup is?
The Wildcats aren’t miles behind with their bats, though. Kentucky hits a respectable .286 overall. J.T. Riddle leads the team batting .352. The junior just recorded his 94th straight start in Kentucky’s matchup with Louisville. A.J. Reed is hitting .333 with a team-high seven homers and 30 RBI. With only 170 strikeouts total in 2013, we know Kentucky puts the ball in play often. Can they find the gaps against one of the nation’s elite? First pitch is set for 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon.