“And down the stretch they come!”

It’s a phrase you heard last weekend in Louisville at the Kentucky Derby. It’s also one that would have fit in Lexington during the extra innings of Sunday’s SEC Baseball game between the Wildcats and league co-leader South Carolina.

And it’s one that would work everywhere else in the conference over the course of the next two weeks. That’s because we are likely headed to a photo finish for the championship, as well as the battle to avoid being left out of the SEC Tournament in Hoover.

With six league games remaining, there are seven teams within 2.5 games of first place. There are also five teams within serious jeopardy of being among the two who will be uninvited to the party at season’s end.

Alabama falls somewhere in between – but on the better end of the picture than those who are, at a minimum, four games behind the Tide. It looks like there’s still a mathematical chance of Bama winning the league, but there may also still be a shot of missing the SEC Tourney.

Neither is likely.

However, if Alabama can get to 14 wins in SEC play (which they are two away from currently, at 12-12), they would be in decent position for an NCAA Regional. Get to 15? They’re in.

Right now the Tide trails four teams in the Western Division. Those teams are all in the Top 11 of at least one major poll. All four were in the Top 10 at the time Alabama played them, and the Tide went 6-6 in those 12 games.

In Bama’s final six games, three will come against a team fighting for their postseason lives (Arkansas at 7-17), and the others will be against one who’s battling for a pennant and a national seed (16-7 South Carolina).

This one will go to the wire, and we will find out if the Tide has the horsepower to finish strong.