SEC Baseball Tournament 2013 Schedule: Predicting Thursday's Showdowns

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SEC Baseball Tournament 2013 Schedule: Predicting Thursday's Showdowns
Photo: Mark Almond/Al.com

We've only seen two days of baseball at the 2013 SEC tournament so far and there have already been some nail-biters, as well as dominant performances.

Whether you are rooting for defending champion Mississippi State, or No. 1 seed Vanderbilt, or some of the underdogs, there is something for everyone this year.

Here are my predictions for Thursday's matchups in Hoover, Ala.

*All stats via NCAA.com

 

Alabama (7) vs. Ole Miss (6)

When: 10:30 a.m. ET

Watch: SportSouth (SPSO)

Live Stream: ESPN3

Both of these teams are comparable on the offensive side of the ball. Ole Miss averaged 5.39 runs per game during the regular season. Alabama averaged 5.3 runs per game during the regular season.

To me, this game comes down to pitching.

In that department, Ole Miss has a distinct advantage. The Rebels posted a 3.15 ERA during the regular season (33rd in the nation). Alabama registered a 3.69 ERA (73rd).

On top of that, Ole Miss has given up just three runs in two games during the tournament. Alabama has allowed nine runs.

Ole Miss advances to the third round in Hoover.

 

South Carolina (4) vs. Vanderbilt (1)

When: 2 p.m. ET

Watch: SportSouth (SPSO)

Live Stream: ESPN3

On paper, Vanderbilt has better pitching and hitting than South Carolina.

Vanderbilt ranked 11th and 12th in runs and ERA respectively during the regular season. South Carolina ranked 62nd and 25th respectively. 

Both teams were upset on Wednesday. Vanderbilt was shut out by Texas A&M, but I don't expect that to happen against South Carolina.

Both squads have gotten off to rocky starts, but I'm ultimately going to go with who I feel is the better team on offense and defense...and that's Vanderbilt.

The Commodores advance to the third round.

 

Arkansas (3) vs. LSU (2)

When: 5:30 p.m ET

Watch: SportSouth (SPSO)

Live Stream: ESPN3

This should be a great matchup in the third round between two top teams in the conference.

The Tigers not only ranked 20th in runs during the regular season, they also ranked sixth in ERA. LSU blanked Alabama in the second round of the tournament, 3-0.

Who will win on Thursday?

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Of course, Arkansas held the top ERA in the nation (1.93) during the regular season and defeated Ole Miss in the second round, 2-1.

But the difference for me is LSU's offense. The Tigers ranked 20th in runs scored during the regular season. The Razorbacks, on the other hand, ranked 159th in runs.

Arkansas has the pitching to make things interesting on Thursday, but I ultimately think LSU will do just enough on offense to squeak by the Razorbacks.

On top of that, LSU has a history of success in the SEC tournament. The Tigers won the showcase three straight years from 2008 to 2010.

LSU advances to the semifinals.

 

Texas A&M (9) vs. Mississippi State (5)

When: 9 p.m. ET

Watch: SportSouth (SPSO)

Live Stream: ESPN3

I can't wait to watch this third-round matchup.

Despite being the No. 9 seed, Texas A&M has already defeated 2011 champion Florida and No. 1 seed Vanderbilt. And, despite ranking 210th in the nation in runs scored during the regular season, the Aggies have posted a combined 11 runs in those victories.

Mississippi State, the defending champion, isn't going to go down without a fight. After a 2-1 victory over Missouri in the first round, the Bulldogs beat No. 4 seed South Carolina on Wednesday, 5-3.

Mississippi State not only ranked 15th in ERA during the regular season, it also ranked 44th in runs scored.

Ultimately, based on the law of averages, I have to give this game to the Bulldogs, but I also wouldn't be surprised if Texas A&M pulled off another shocker. The Aggies are in the zone right now.

 

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