May 10, 2017
A little while back, I touched on Jackson State University, Mississippi State University and the University of Southern Mississippi all fighting for division or conference titles in baseball. Jackson State finished its quest by winning the SWAC East title over Alabama State University.
JSU finished SWAC play with a 20-4 record and the best record in either the East or West Division. Alabama State ended conference play with an 18-6 record, finishing two games behind the Tigers.
In Conference USA, Southern Miss completed a huge sweep over Florida Atlantic University this past weekend. The Golden Eagles hold a three-game lead at 19-5 in C-USA play over second-place Old Dominion University at 16-8, with six conference games left to play.
USM hosts the University of Alabama at Birmingham this weekend and will finish the season at the University of Texas at San Antonio. UAB is 10th in the current standings at 8-16 in conference play, and UTSA is sixth in the standings at 13-11.
Meanwhile, ODU will finish the season at home against Florida International University and on the road against Florida Atlantic. FIU is ninth in the conference standings at 11-13, and FAU is third in the conference at 15-9.
If both USM and ODU stumble, Florida Atlantic could make a move for the top spot. FAU finishes the regular season with a road game against Western Kentucky University and a home game against ODU. WKU is currently in last place at 4-20 in C-USA play.
Southern Miss just has to avoid imploding over the final two weekends to win the regular-season title. It will also give USM the No. 1 seed heading into the C-USA Tournament.
Over in the SEC, Mississippi State currently sits at 16-8 in conference play. MSU leads the SEC West over Louisiana State University by a single game and is tied with the University of Florida for the best record in the conference.
The Bulldogs have two SEC series left to play—one on the road against the University of Georgia this weekend and another at home against LSU to end the season. Georgia is in last place in the SEC East at 7-17 in conference play, and only the University of Alabama has a worst conference record.
LSU is 15-9 in SEC play and is a game behind MSU in the West, lurking around for the conference crown, as well. The Tigers end the season with games at home against Auburn University, who is 14-10 in SEC play, and on the road against MSU.
Florida, at 16-8 in conference play, will try to hold off the University of Kentucky for the SEC West crown and overall conference title. The Gators end the season with a game at Alabama, who is 5-19 in SEC play, and another at home against Kentucky.
Kentucky ends the regular season with a home game against the University of Tennessee, who is 7-15 in conference play, and a road game at Florida. Both the matchups between MSU against LSU and Florida against Kentucky could determine who wins the SEC West and East Divisions. The winners of the East and West could end up sharing the conference crown.
While the SEC East looks like a race between Kentucky and Florida, third-place Vanderbilt University is three games behind Kentucky.
In the West Division, on the other hand, MSU leads LSU by a game, and LSU then leads the University of Arkansas, Texas A&M University and Auburn by a single game. The SEC West could get wild before the end of the regular season.