Auburn at No. 10 Mississippi State
April 19, 7:30 p.m.
Hunter Renfroe is crushing the ball right now for the Diamond Dogs. He homered in all three games of Mississippi State’s sweep against Texas A&M last weekend, earning him SEC Player of the Week honors. He’s now batting .429 with 13 bombs and 42 homers on the season. Surely Auburn is excited about facing him.
The Tigers are 23-14 overall, but 5-10 in SEC play thanks to sweeps by Vanderbilt and LSU. They haven’t won a series in Starkville since 2009. Center fielder Ryan Tella is hot right now, so Auburn will look for him to continue surging at the plate.
He went 7-for-12 with three doubles and five runs scored last weekend against Georgia, bringing his season average up to .319. His move to the leadoff spot continues to pay off for head coach John Pawlowski.
No. 3 Vanderbilt at Georgia
April 20, 4 p.m.
Vanderbilt came up short Tuesday against Tennessee Tech for its fifth loss of 2013. A late rally couldn’t overcome the 6-0 hole it fell in early on. Still, the Commodores scored four runs in the last three innings, ultimately falling 10-9. You can’t ever count this team out with the powerful lineup it possesses.
Tony Kemp is currently riding a 15-game hitting streak, while Xavier Turner hit safely in his last 10 games. Five other batters are hitting above .300 on the season. An opposing pitcher can’t feel safe against any part of this order.
Meanwhile, Georgia fans are just looking forward to football season. At 3-12 against the SEC, the Bulldogs haven’t found much success in conference play. Freshman Jess Posey went 3-for-4 and blasted his first home run against Presbyterian Tuesday night. He’s batting .357 in 10 starts. Maybe a younger look can benefit the Dawgs.
Western Kentucky at South Alabama
April 20, 7 p.m.
The Hilltoppers and Jaguars are sitting in a three-way tie for first place in the Sun Belt with 10-5 records in conference play. This weekend’s series could provide some breathing room at the top.
Western Kentucky was shutout for the third time this season on Tuesday, losing 2-0 to Lipscomb. The heavy-hitting Ryan Huck leads the conference in home runs (11) and slugging percentage (.713). Can he step up in one of this crucial series?
Nick Zaharion is the reigning Sun Belt Conference Player of the Week. He’s now batting .345 with four homers, 18 RBI and eight runs scored in nine conference games. Matt Bell and Jacob Noble have combined for a 9-1 record with a 2.54 ERA in 16 starts. These three are keys to South Alabama’s 27-10 overall record in 2013.
No. 24 Clemson at Miami
April 21, 1 p.m.
Clemson hasn’t lost a game in April. A 10-game winning streak continues to boost the Tigers up the national rankings, now sitting at No. 24 overall. Don’t look at their recent stats if you’re a Hurricanes fan. Trust me.
Steven Duggar went 8-of-19 with a double, triple, homer, five RBI and five steals over the last week for the Tigers. Tyler Krieger batted .529 at the plate. The pitching staff recorded a 2.11 ERA. Freshman Matthew Crownover is 5-0 with a 2.54 ERA in eight starts. Clemson possesses dangerous weapons on both sides of the roster.
For Miami, shutting down Clemson from the mound will be the only way to keep in contention. The Hurricanes are batting .257 as a team. Not a single starter boasts an average above .300. Pitching is key.
Bryan Radziewski is unstoppable in 2013. With a 5-1 record in seven starts, he holds a 1.11 ERA and .158 opponent’s batting average; like I said, unstoppable. Chris Diaz is 3-2 in nine starts, but after allowing just 12 earned runs in 60.2 innings pitched, run support is clearly the issue. Relying on this staff is Miami’s best hope at pulling a series upset.