Alabama baseball faces an uphill climb to make the SEC tournament with nine conference games to go this season.

Only 12 of the league’s 14 teams will make the field. The Crimson Tide sits in last place in the conference at 5-16 in SEC play. Tennessee, the 13th place team, has a three-game lead over Alabama and a tiebreaker by virtue of its series win over UA earlier this year.

Mississippi State and Missouri both sit at 9-12 in conference, four games ahead of Alabama. The Bulldogs would be the last team in the conference tournament if it began today. Alabama took two of three games from Missouri in early April, and Mississippi State arrives in Tuscaloosa for a three-game series this weekend.

Mississippi State is led by sophomore Jake Mangum, the son of former Alabama defensive back John Mangum. He’s batting .353 with a .431 on-base percentage. He has 15 RBIs and 12 stolen bases this season. Friday night starter Konnor Pilkington is just 2-5, but has a 3.04 earned run average and 70 strikeouts in 68 innings.

Even a three-game sweep of the Bulldogs would still leave Alabama one game behind them in the standings, though. It gets tougher from there: The final two weekend series are at LSU (26-19, 10-11 SEC) and home against No. 4 Ole Miss (34-11, 12-9 SEC).

UA also missed the conference tournament last season after finishing 5-24-1 in SEC play. Alabama hasn’t missed the SEC tournament in back-to-back seasons since 1987 and 1988, when only six of the 10 conference teams made the field.