Day 3 of the 2013 SEC Baseball Tournament marked the continuation of double-elimination play. Four teams entered the day facing the possibility of being knocked out of the event, including Vanderbilt—the No. 1 seed and the nation's top-ranked team.
The Commodores are set to face South Carolina. The other matchups feature Ole Miss and Alabama in an elimination game, Arkansas against LSU and Texas A&M taking on Mississippi State. For a complete look at the updated bracket, visit the conference's official site.
Here's a recap of the Day 3 action, which will be updated with highlights and more throughout the day as the crucial events of SEC play roll on.
No. 7 Alabama Defeats No. 6 Ole Miss, 7-5
Alabama kept its SEC championship hopes alive with a 7-5 victory in a see-saw battle with Ole Miss that went 10 innings. The Rebels' second straight loss eliminated them from the tournament.
An early start (9:30 a.m. local time) can be tough to handle. Not only is there a lack of crowd support to provide the normal college baseball atmosphere, as illustrated in a picture from Jay Reeves of the Associated Press, but it can also cause some sluggish play:
That certainly seemed like the case for Alabama in the second inning. After a pair of doubles by Andrew Mistone and Preston Overbey gave the Rebels a 1-0 lead, the Crimson Tide gifted them two more runs.
With two on, Will Jamison singled to center. A good throw home from Georgie Salem would have resulted in a close play at the plate, but it was off the mark and Overbey scored. The Tide couldn't corral the wild throw quickly enough, allowing Christian Helsel to score as well.
To their credit, they didn't let the sloppy play derail the game completely. The Tide scored two runs in the fourth courtesy of a Ben Moore sacrifice fly and an RBI single from Mikey White. Kyle Overstreet tied it by driving in Chance Vincent in the fifth.
How far will Alabama advance in the SEC Tournament?
Then it was Ole Miss' turn to make a key defensive mistake. A throwing error by Austin Anderson allowed White to reach second. Austen Smith followed with his first triple of the season to give Alabama the lead. He later came home on a Brett Booth groundout.
Down by two heading into the bottom of the seventh, the Rebels mounted a rally. Stuart Turner stepped up with the bases loaded and two outs. He delivered, driving home two runs to tie the game at five. Ole Miss couldn't grab the lead, though.
It wasn't until extra innings that one of the teams broke through again, and it was Alabama.
After Tanner Bailey got the first out of the 10th, he walked Overstreet and allowed a double to Ben Moore. Fellow reliever Brett Huber couldn't bail him out as White delivered a two-RBI single to put the Tide up 7-5.
Ole Miss couldn't mount a comeback in the bottom of the inning, ending its tournament. Tucker Hawley closed it out for Alabama.
No. 1 Vanderbilt Defeats No. 4 South Carolina, 4-3 (10)
With both Vanderbilt and South Carolina fighting for their SEC tournament lives on Wednesday, the Commodores overcame a great pitching performance by Gamecocks' starter Jordan Montgomery to earn a 4-3 win in 10 innings.
Conrad Gregor singaled home Tony Kemp in the bottom of the 10th for the walk-off win.
Both of these teams lost their opener in this double elimination tournament. And the No. 1 seeded Commodores were almost bounced in just two games. However, it looked like they would roll early.
After a quiet and quick first inning, it looked like Vanderbilt was going to blow out the Gamecocks as they hung a crooked number by posting three runs in the second.
Connor Harrell and first baseman Gregor started off the inning with consecutive singles. Then, Kyle Smith was asked to bunt and he laid down a beauty to the left of the pitcher.
Montgomery fielded the ball and watched his sail throw after spinning and releasing. This scored two runs and John Norwood drove in the third with a sacrifice fly.
At this point, the starting pitchers began heading in different directions. Vanderbilt's Kevin Ziomek began losing control. He beaned a batter in the third and allowed a run.
The 3-1 score held until the sixth, and Ziomek did not make it out of that inning. He wound up going 5.2 innings while allowing eight hits and two runs—both earned.
The second run came after he left the game when Carson Fulmer allowed a single to Max Schrock that drove home Tanner English.
Despite that blemish, Fulmer was excellent in relief as he went the rest of the way, allowing just one more run.
Meanwhile, the Vanderbilt offense had slowed to a standstill as Montgomery got better as this game progressed.
TheBigSpur.com's John Whittle highlights that with this tweet:
Jordan Montgomery allowed three runs on three hits in the second inning. In the other 6.1 innings he threw, no runs on two hits.— John Whittle (@johnmwhittle) May 23, 2013
All three of those runs were unearned as Montgomery, and it appears that Whittle may have missed an out for Montgomery as the Post and Courrier's Darryl Slater tweets Montgomery's impressive pitching line:
Jordan Montgomery's final line: 7.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 K, 1 HBP, 2 2B, 11 FO, 4 GO, 115 pitches, 76 strikes. ERA now 1.86.— Darryl Slater (@DarrylSlater) May 23, 2013
In the seventh, facing Carson Fulmer, LB Dantzler bashed his 15th home run of the season to even the score at three.
That score held up until extra innings.
Vanderbilt will now play Friday against the winner of Mississippi State and Texas A&M.
Upcoming Day 3 Games
No. 2 LSU vs. No. 3 Arkansas
No. 5 Mississippi State vs. No. 9 Texas A&M