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SEC Baseball Tournament Preview

SEC Baseball Tournament Preview

The SEC baseball regular season has wrapped up the final weekend and twelve teams will quickly turn around to play in the SEC Tournament beginning Tuesday. The top four seeds will have the day off as they await the winners from the single elimination games on Tuesday. Vanderbilt has the one seed followed by Arkansas at two, Georgia at three and Mississippi State at four.

SEC Baseball Tournament Preview
Bracket

Eight teams will get the tournament started all day Tuesday with the action starting at 10:30am ET. This will be broken down game by game to determine who will be this year’s SEC Tournament Champion.

First Round (Single Elimination)

11 Florida 33-23 (13-17) vs 6 Texas A&M 36-19-1 (16-13-1), 10:30am ET Tuesday

Florida may have gotten themselves back into the conversation of a bubble team for the playoffs after a dominant weekend in Columbia. They swept the Missouri Tigers for the fourth season in a row, finishing at 13-17 in conference play. They still have a lot of work to do in order to make the playoffs but have put themselves in position to make the jump entering Tuesday.

Florida and A&M did not meet in the regular season and will see each other for the first time this year. A&M is already comfortably in the NCAA Tournament. An early exit in the SEC Tournament might not be the worst thing for the Aggies to rest up and prepare for the regional next week.

With the season on the line expect Florida to come out strong. Florida holds one of the lesser pitching staffs in the conference and will need to stay on top of the A&M bats to advance to the double elimination round.

Prediction: Florida

10 Missouri 34-21-1 (13-16-1) vs 7 Ole Miss 33-23 (16-14), 2pm ET Tuesday

Ole Miss was able to hold on to the final game of the series against Tennessee Saturday. With the win, the Rebels should be in the NCAA Tournament as a two or three seed.

Missouri meanwhile had a setback over the weekend dropping all three to Florida at home. The Tigers find themselves on the bubble now and could desperately use a win to ease any worry come Sunday.

In the regular season series, Missouri took two out of three from the Rebels led by strong pitching that was able to quiet the Rebel bats. Both teams have been sputtering to end the season, both losing their final two series. This game can go either way and will come down to who can figure it out first.

Prediction: Missouri

9 Tennessee 38-18 (14-16) vs 8 Auburn 32-23 (14-16), 5:30pm ET Tuesday

Auburn was able to steal a win in the final game against LSU, an 11 inning affair won off the bat of junior Will Holland. Both teams should be locks for the NCAA Tournament, one at a two seed the other at three depending on their SEC Tournament performances.

SEC Baseball Tournament Preview
Tennessee is on the verge of making the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005. (Photo courtesy of rockytoptalk.com)

The Vols enter the tournament a man down after lefty starter Garrett Crochet took a baseball off the jaw in Friday’s game against Ole Miss. His status is up in the air for now after being sent to the hospital for surgery to realign his jawbone.

The Vols have been playing very well lately, winners of five of their last six. Saturday’s game was a near miss going for the series sweep of Ole Miss. Look for Tennessee to keep their momentum going into the SEC Tournament.

Prediction: Tennessee

12 South Carolina 28-27 (8-22) vs 5 LSU 34-22 (17-13), 9pm ET Tuesday

South Carolina was able to win one game in their series over the weekend, something Kentucky and Alabama weren’t able to do. They enter the tournament as the 12th and final team. It’s been a disappointing season for the Gamecocks as they take on LSU for the first time this season.

LSU has entered the host conversation again as they are currently predicted as the 14th overall seed. A win or two in the SEC Tournament would certainly solidify that position. South Carolina meanwhile would have to win the tournament for a bid. This one will likely not be close in favor of the Tigers.

Prediction: LSU

Second Round (Double Elimination)

11 Florida 33-23 (13-17) vs 3 Georgia 42-13 (21-9), 10:30am ET Wednesday

While Florida would love another win to boost their resume, Georgia’s dominant pitching will be a lot to handle for the Gators. Georgia swept Florida in the regular season, holding Florida to just six runs in the series.

Although it’s hard to beat a team four times in a season, Georgia seems to have Florida’s number this year and should go into Thursday in the winner’s bracket.

Prediction: Georgia

SEC Baseball Tournament Preview
Missouri is searching for it’s first NCAA Tournament since 2012. (Photo courtesy of columbiatribune.com)
10 Missouri 34-21-1 (13-16-1) vs 2 Arkansas 40-15 (20-10), TBD Wednesday

Arkansas earned a series sweep over Missouri back in March, each game determined by two or fewer runs. It was the pitching that silenced the Missouri bats that was the difference in the weekend.

This should be a fun game to watch, expect it to be close again. Another win for Missouri would have big NCAA Tournament implications while an Arkansas loss means nothing for the Razorbacks.

Prediction: Missouri

9 Tennessee 38-18 (14-16) vs 1 Vanderbilt 45-10 (23-7), 5:30pm ET Wednesday

As much as Tennessee has been on a good momentum swing, Vanderbilt is just too hot right now. In the regular season, the Vols were able to steal game 3 by just 1 run. Vanderbilt will be able to handle Tennessee here.

Worthy of note; Vanderbilt has lost one game since April 14, a 2-5 loss at No.22 Missouri. That’s a stretch that has them going 18-1 with four SEC series sweeps. The Commodores are one of the most dangerous teams in the country right now.

Prediction: Vanderbilt

5 LSU 34-22 (17-13) vs 4 Mississippi State 45-11 (20-10), TBD Wednesday

No matter who wins, this will be the most exciting game of the day. LSU was one of two teams this year who was able to figure out the Bulldogs. LSU dominated most of the weekend, falling short of a comeback in game one by just one run.

Games two and three saw a collapse of the Bulldogs usually consistent pitching staff. Don’t expect the Dawgs to repeat those performances. They’ll be ready for LSU this time.

Prediction: Mississippi State

Third Round (Double Elimination)

11 Florida (0-1) vs 2 Arkansas (0-1), 10:30am ET Thursday

Arkansas won’t be losing two in a row to sub .500 teams in the SEC East. It’ll be the end of the road for the Gators who probably won’t have a strong enough resume to make the NCAA Tournament.

Prediction: Arkansas

9 Tennessee (0-1) vs 5 LSU (0-1), TBD Thursday

In their first matchup of the year, Tennessee’s fate depends on if Stallings will take the mound or if he’ll already be used. Depending on Crochet’s status, the Vols pitching staff might be scrambling in the third game in as many days.

With the already depleted pitching staff and the uncertainty of who is available to go, LSU can rely on a win in the loser’s bracket.

Prediction: LSU

SEC Baseball Tournament Preview
Georgia is in line to be a top eight national seed with the chance to host both the regional and super regional. (Photo courtesy of dawgnation.com)
10 Missouri (1-0) vs 3 Georgia (1-0), 5:30pm ET Thursday

A regular season sweep at the hands of Georgia will have the Tigers already facing the team they’d least like to see. Georgia’s dominant rotation, including a couple of talented midweek starters, as well as en extra day of rest will prove the difference.

Prediction: Georgia

 

1 Vanderbilt (1-0) vs 4 Mississippi State (1-0), TBD Thursday

This will be another fun one to watch. Mississippi State certainly didn’t get a favorable draw even with the first round bye. This game could go either way and will mix two of the conference’s best hitting and pitching teams. In the first matchup of the year, this is a can’t miss game.

Prediction: Vanderbilt

Fourth Round (Double Elimination)

10 Missouri (1-1) vs 2 Arkansas (1-1), 4pm ET Friday

Game two of the playoff for these two teams. After winning the first one, Missouri will be tested by a balanced pitching and strong offensive attack. This time they won’t hold up and Arkansas gets their revenge.

Prediction: Arkansas

5 LSU (1-1) vs 4 Mississippi State (1-1), TBD Friday

Ready for round five? LSU will have seen Mississippi’s adjustments from two days ago. Expect the Tigers to have some changes of their own to match the Bulldogs. Round five goes to the Tigers.

Prediction: LSU

Semifinals (Single Elimination)

3 Georgia 42-14 (21-9) vs 2 Arkansas 40-15 (20-10), 1pm ET Saturday

Two teams that didn’t play in the regular season will finally meet in the tournament. These two should make for an excellent matchup. In the end it will come down to pitching depth, something Georgia has over Arkansas.

Prediction: Georgia

5 LSU 34-22 (17-13) vs 1 Vanderbilt 45-10 (23-7), TBD Saturday

Another pair of teams who managed to avoid each other in the regular season. And another matchup that should be lots of fun to watch. LSU is used to making deep runs in the SEC Tournament, this year should prove no different.

Prediction: LSU

SEC Baseball Tournament Preview
LSU last won the tournament in 2017. They have the most championships at 12. (Photo courtesy of secsports.com)

Championship

5 LSU 34-22 (17-13) vs 3 Georgia 42-14 (21-9), 3pm ET Sunday

Out of the three games played earlier this year, two of them were high octane pitching duels. It would be LSU’s third trip to the SEC Championship game in as many years. After being blown out last year, expect the Tigers to show up for this one. LSU wins and earns the right to be a top-eight national seed.

Prediction: LSU

 

 

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