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How Each SEC Team Is Feeling After Week One




Opening Weekend is a time for celebration and panic, reaction and overreaction, and, perhaps most importantly, reflection. Let's take a trip around the SEC and evaluate how each fanbase should feel after their first series of 2024.



Alabama - 8.5/10

An Opening Weekend sweep over Manhattan was exactly how the Crimson Tide wanted to start the year. Although Sunday was a little shaky from the pitching perspective, the offense was able to carry Alabama to the sweep. Ben Hess looked like a true ace, striking out 9 over 4 innings, and Alton Davis II earned his first save of the season with 2 scoreless frames.



Arkansas - 6/10

For being a consensus Top-5 team to start the season, the Hogs had a rather underwhelming start to the season. Hagen Smith only went 1 inning and got touched for a 3-run bomb, Gabe Gaeckle had a rough Razorback debut, and Arkansas dropped Game 3 to JMU. There were positives though, such as Will McEntire, Brady Tygart, and Gage Wood throwing very well and an offense that, outside of Game 3, looked solid. Arkansas finishes their 4-game series with JMU today as they look to start the season 3-1.



Auburn - 10/10

This might have been the most dominant a team looked all weekend. Everything was clicking for Auburn this weekend, and it translated to complete domination of an overmatched Eastern Kentucky team. Joseph Gonzalez and Carson Myers had fantastic starts while Ike Irish, Cooper Weiss, and Chris Stanfield led an onslaught offensively. If you want to poke holes, EKU gave up a TON of free bases and Cooper McMurray didn't have a good weekend, but this weekend was complete domination.



Florida - 2/10

After losing on Opening Day to St. John's, the rest of the weekend series was rained out. Yes, no Gator fan will be happy with a loss, but the biggest loss of the weekend was in what we didn't see. We didn't see Liam Peterson or Jac Caglianone throw. Those two arms are critically important to the Gators' season, yet Peterson is a freshman and Caglianone has battled control issues in the past. Outside of a solid performance by Ryan Slater and a homer by Colby Shelton, it was a lost weekend for the Florida Gators.



Georgia - 9/10

Three games, three blowout victories as the Dawgs dominated in every facet of the game. The offense, led by Charlie Condon, Slate Alford, and Dylan Goldstein, was relentless. The pitching staff was overpowering from top-to-bottom. Coach Wes Johnson did a very good job of getting his guys ready to go to start the season. Now, let's see what they look like against quality opposition.



Kentucky - 9/10

One of just a few teams to start the season on the road, the Wildcats swept a gritty USC Upstate behind a complete team effort. The entire lineup produced, Dominic Niman had a stellar debut with 5 innings of 1-hit ball, they fielded well (only 1 error on the weekend), and they manufactured runs consistently. It's a good start for a Kentucky team looking to build off last year's momentum.



LSU - 7/10

Coming off a National Title, it might be expected that the Tigers go through a little Championship hangover. While I wouldn't call their performance a "hangover" per se, it was by no means dominant. Yes, they blew out VMI 27-5, but the other games were unnecessarily close. Thatcher Hurd got hit around, Nate Ackenhausen didn't look his best, and if it wasn't for VMI hitting/walking 6 batters in a row, who knows how the game turns out. Luke Holman shoved in Game 2, but the offense was lackluster at best. LSU does have another game today to try and start 4-0, and, at the end of the day, the record is the only stat that matters.



Mississippi State - 7/10

For the first weekend in a long, long time, Mississippi State fans have to be pleased about their pitching performance. If it wasn't for a two-out, two-run single in the top of the 9th by Air Force on Saturday, the Bulldogs would be looking back on a sweep. But alas, Mississippi State starts the season 2-1. Dakota Jordan led the offense all weekend, but he and Hunter Hines did combine for 10 strikeouts. That's something to keep an eye on as the season progresses.



Missouri - 7.5/10

Coach Kerrick Jackson led his Tigers to a 2-1 series win on the road to start his tenure at Mizzou (Game 4 was rained out). Nothing Missouri did was particularly dominant, but the team was gritty and competitive across the board. Good pitching from multiple guys, especially starter Carter Rustad, and timely hitting propelled them to a good Opening Weekend. If you want to know what this team's identity is going to be, this weekend should give you a very good idea.



Ole Miss - 5/10

It's never easy going from Mississippi to Hawaii to play baseball, but Ole Miss leaves for home with a 2-2 record. The bats didn't make the trip as the Rebels put up only 15 runs in 4 games, and the defense was rough as well. Ethan Lege (.545) is the only regular hitting over .250. Bright spots Mason Nichols and Wes Mendes allowed Ole Miss to escape with a couple wins, but as a whole, the Rebels were outplayed on the weekend.



South Carolina - 8.5/10

After a lethargic start to Game 1 offensively (only scored in the 2nd inning), the Gamecocks came alive and cruised the rest of the weekend which culminated in the first no-hitter in over a decade. Pitching gave up more walks than they would have liked, but they limited damage with only 4 Earned Runs over the weekend. Starting pitching was the biggest question coming into the year, and they responded in a big way. Now, let's see if they can carry this over to higher-level competition.



Tennessee - 7/10

Opening Weekend at Globe Life Field seemed very hit-or-miss for the Volunteers. On the one hand, AJ Causey, Drew Beam, and Chris Stamos looked very good on the mound. On the other, Zander Sechrist and and Aaron Combs got knocked around a bit. Offensively, Christian Moore, Billy Amick, and Dylan Dreiling carried the load while Blake Burke, Cannon Peebles, and Hunter Ensley struggled. Still, they walk away with a 2-1 record and enter into a stretch against much easier competition. No harm, no foul as long as they take care of business over the next few weeks.



Texas A&M - 10/10

There were very few series across the country where it felt like utter domination from the start, yet this was absolutely one of them. The Aggies flat-out ran McNeese State out of the ballpark. The offense, led by Jace LaViolette and Blake Binderup, was relentless. The pitching staff only gave up 1 run the entire weekend. For a team coming into the year with quite a few question marks about it's pitching, A&M answered the bell in week one.



Vanderbilt - 6.5/10

Vanderbilt was perhaps lucky to escape Opening Weekend with a 2-1 record. A bloop single capped a 12-11 come-from-behind, back-and-forth win in Game 1 of the series. FAU then won Game 2, 5-4. Vanderbilt finally looked like itself for Game 3, led by Devin Futrell's stellar outing. Jonathan Vastine, RJ Austin, and Jack Bulger look to have taken the next step offensively, but they need more support. Don't expect the Commodores to be in many 12-11 games the rest of the year with their pitching, but it was not encouraging to see Carter Holton and Greysen Carter struggle.


*****


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