Three’s Company in SEC Baseball-Vandy, Florida and USC
It has been an interesting and exciting year in SEC baseball and it is not really surprising to see the Commodores, Gators and Gamecocks all tied with one game to play this season. All three of these teams have been ranked in the top 10 nationally all year and they have all been the top 5 most of the year. It has been an interesting race and it is fitting that it comes down to the last day.
I’ll reminisce just a little about this season and also make some bold predictions for the postseason. You may not agree with all that I say, but I hope you will take a moment to think before you respond.
I have a few categories I will cover-hope you will see the humor in some of them…
Surprise team of the year-in a good way
Alabama fits this role as the surprise team. The Tide rolled out of the gate hot in conference play and didn’t slow down until they came to Nashville to play against Vandy. Bama sits on top of the wild, wild SEC west with one game to play.
Surprise team-not so good way
LSU has been a real enigma this year. The Tigers are a young team, but they are still LSU. They will not play in the confrence tournament, but still have hopes of making the NCAA field. We will see how that plays out in a little over one week.
Pitcher of the year
I cannot pick just one pitcher, so I will pick three. My three pitchers of the year are Michael Roth of USC, Hudson Randall of Florida and Grayson Garvin of Vanderbilt. Each of these young men had outstanding years and their teams would not be where they are without them. Let me also add that others making honorable mention include Nathan Kilcrease of Alabama, Sonny Gray of Vanderbilt and DJ Baxendale of Arkansas as well as Alex Meyer of Kentucky .
Player of the year
Again, there are too many good players to choose just one. My top choices are Mike Zunino of Florida, Aaron Westlake of Vanderbilt and Scott Wingo of South Carolina. Again, it is no surprise to see a representative from the top teams in the league. Zunino has been clutch all year and Westlake has one of the smoothest swings you will ever see. Wingo just gets the job done, period.
Freshman of the year
This one stays close to home and it goes to Tony Kemp of Vanderbilt. Tony has set the tone for the Dores all year long and he is invaluable to this team both offensively and defensively.
Coach of the year
This goes to Ray Tanner of South Carolina. It was hard to not share this with Tim Corbin and Kevin O’Sullivan, but USC has overcome so many obstacles and stayed on top. Good coaching has a lot to do with that!
Post season predictions
Vandy, Florida and USC will all be national seeds and all will host their own regionals and super-regionals. Only two of them will make it to Omaha, and those two will be USC and Vandy. Florida is a solid team, but I think their bullpen will be their undoing in the postseason. I will not predict who will win the tournament in Omaha, but here are the 8 teams I think that will make it there:
So there you have it-shoot holes in my predictions; take shots at my choices.
I hope you enjoyed this season as much as I have, and will continue to do so.