I’m going to go with the chalk here. I like Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Georgia and Mississippi State as the best 4 teams.
Semifinal game 1, Saturday noon CT, SEC Network
No.1 seed Vanderbilt vs. No.4 Mississippi State
The starting 8 for Vanderbilt is the best hitting team in the country right now. They’ve hit at a .316 clip and right fielder JJ Bleday led the conference and the country with 25 home runs. He was named SEC player of the year on Monday. Third baseman Austin Martin hit .432 this season to lead the SEC and was second nationally. He was also an All SEC player. Catcher Philip Clarke was a hitting machine as well hitting .323 and drove in 59 runs. Shortstop Ethan Paul hit .324 and drove in 63 runs. Bleday and Paul went back to back homers on a Sunday a week and a half ago in the top of the 9th inning against South Carolina to clinch that game. They did the same thing last Saturday in the final game of the regular season at Kentucky in the top of the 9th to clinch that game as well. This team is a hitting machine. But pitching can be a concern at times. The starters are pretty solid, but the bullpen, particularly the left handed arms can be wild and inaccurate. Mississippi State has the great Jake Magnum, who hit over .350 this season and is an outstanding baseball player in the outfield.
While Vanderbilt’s hitting is sensational, and the defense at a .982 percentage leads the nation, the pitching concerns me as the postseason matriculates. But I like the Commodores here.
Vanderbilt 5, State 4
Semifinal 2, No.2 Arkansas versus No.3 Georgia 4 PM CT SEC Network
I really like Georgia’s pitching. I’ll take the Dawgs over an outstanding top 10 Arkansas team that is coming back from a final appearance in the CWS where only a dropped pop fly kept them from winning it all. Pretty bullish on Georgia’s pitching though.
Georgia 4, Arkansas 2
Championship game, Sunday, 2 PM CT, ESPN2
I’m going to take the Vanderbilt Commodores to win the SEC Championship in a battle with the Dawgs. Just think Vanderbilt has the best team in the conference and while pitching is a concern at times, there are excellent arms on this team and closer Tyler Brown is a stud with 13 saves. I’ll take the Commodores.