Georgia's first baseman Charlie Condon (24) with a home run on the Gators, Friday, April 14, 2023, at Condron Family Baseball Park in Gainesville, Florida. The Gators lost Game 1 of the weekend series to the Bulldogs 13-11. [Cyndi Chambers/ Gainesville Sun] 2023 Gator Baseball April 14 2023 Condron Family Ballpark Georgia Bulldogs

SEC Baseball Reaches Halfway Point in Chaotic Season

The SEC has reached the midway point of conference play in a season that’s featured a variety of surprises.

With multiple teams which started the season in the top five nationally, are now unranked and others which began the year on the outskirts of conference contention, pushing for a league championship, now feels like a great time to recap the anarchy that is SEC baseball.

Conference Disappointments

The SEC entered the 2024 season with high expectations. Coming off of a year that saw the College World Series feature two SEC teams, Florida and LSU, the conference began in 2024 with six teams ranked in the D1Baseball top 10.

After their championship bout last season, the Gators and Tigers were each in the top four. They haven’t lived up to their initial rankings. After five weeks of SEC play, each team is outside of the rankings for similar reasons.

Both the Gators and Tigers have been plagued by inconsistent hitting but, more importantly, have struggled to find a solid pitching rotation. Each of the two preseason favorites has had to adjust their lineup multiple times and has yet to find a dependable group.

LSU has yet to win an SEC series this year, while the Gators have lost their last two. Florida now enters a stretch where its next four series are against teams currently ranked in the top 13. LSU won’t play another ranked matchup until May. Each team will need to resolve its rotation issues if it has any hopes of making another postseason run.

The Powerhouses

Although the conference has experienced some disappointment this season, it still has a variety of national championship contenders.

The Arkansas Razorbacks and Tennessee Volunteers entered the 2024 season in the top four of the conference coaches poll. Each has lived up to expectations.

The Razorbacks are coming off a series loss to #25 Alabama, but have only lost three conference games this season. They’re led by a powerful pitching group headed by Hagen Smith‘s 1.53 ERA.

The Volunteers have had similar success this year. After beginning the season ranked in the top 10, the Volunteers currently sit at number four. They’re coming off a series where they swept the defending champion LSU Tigers. Tennessee has eight players batting above .300 and four above .350. First baseman Blake Burke is the star, batting .414 on the season with 55 hits and 32 RBI.

Tennessee and Arkansas aren’t the only contenders in the SEC, though. Currently, the conference makes up the top four teams in D1Baseball’s April 15th rankings. The Texas A&M Aggies and Kentucky Wildcats join the Volunteers and Razorbacks atop the poll, with the Aggies ranked number one and Kentucky number three.

https://twitter.com/NCAABaseball/status/1779879911081087237

The Aggies began the season with a couple of highly-touted batters, but they’ve surpassed expectations. Right fielder Braden Montgomery is leading the SEC in RBI with 58 and also has 19 home runs. He’s joined by center fielder Jace Laviolette, who’s third in the SEC in runs with 52.

Although Texas A&M sits atop the national rankings, it’s still behind Arkansas in the SEC West. The Aggies will meet the Razorbacks to finish the regular season on May 16–18.

The most surprising of the top four is Kentucky. The Wildcats entered the season unranked and were projected to finish 10th in the SEC by the coaches poll. They’ve only lost a single conference game, although they’ve only played one team that’s currently ranked. Four of Kentucky’s five remaining SEC series are against ranked teams, starting with #4 Tennessee on April 19.

The Star

The SEC has had many incredible performers this year, but none have come close to Georgia’s Charlie Condon. The third baseman leads the nation in home runs with 24, a number that 83 Division I teams haven’t reached as a whole. Condon also ranks seventh in RBI with 52 and second in batting average at .482. Condon’s productivity is unparalleled, hitting nearly half the balls he sees at the plate. He’s projected to be a first-round pick in this year’s MLB Draft.

The Coming Weeks

As the SEC season moves into its closing stretch, there is still a lot to sort out. With four teams currently ranking at the top of most national outlets and some rankings having as many as eight SEC teams in the top 25, the conference can expect to have an exciting final few weeks.

About Noah White

I'm a freshman at the University of Florida, majoring in journalism and public relations. I enjoy playing soccer and volleyball with friends, watching movies with my girlfriend and, of course, writing. I also know more about Liberty League women's soccer than you do.

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