2013 SEC Baseball Tournament Bracket: Breaking Down Friday's Third-Round Clashes
The 2013 SEC baseball tournament just keeps getting better and better.
On Thursday, No. 3-seeded Arkansas took down LSU, 4-1. No. 1-seeded Vanderbilt got back on track with a 4-3 victory over South Carolina in extra innings. After a loss to LSU on Wednesday, Alabama rebounded against Ole Miss with a 7-5 win in extra innings. And defending champion Mississippi State edged Texas A&M, 6-4.
On Friday, the Crimson Tide will try to ride their hot streak to avenge their loss to LSU. Texas A&M will take on Vanderbilt.
Here's a look at how I see it going down in the third round on Friday.
*Complete 2013 SEC tournament bracket can be found at SECDigitalNetwork.com
Alabama (7) vs. LSU (2)
When: 4 p.m. ET
Live Stream: ESPN3
Alabama wasn't exactly a powerhouse in the regular season, going 14-15 in the SEC.
Before Thursday's 7-5 victory over Ole Miss, the Crimson Tide ranked 71st in the nation in ERA (3.66), and 95th in runs scored (303 in 58 games), via NCAA.com.
But Alabama played a resilient game on Thursday. After Ole Miss took a 3-0 lead in the second inning, Alabama battled back to score a combined five runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
After Ole Miss tied it up in the seventh inning, Alabama broke through in the 10th inning when shortstop Mikey White singled home Ben Moore and Daniel Cucjen.
LSU is coming off a disappointing 4-1 loss to Arkansas. While the Razorbacks were expected to give the second-seeded Tigers a battle, it was surprising how LSU finished on Thursday. After taking a 1-0 lead in the third inning, LSU quietly allowed Arkansas to scored four unanswered runs down the stretch.
Not only did LSU's offense fail in that game, the bullpen got tagged after starter Aaron Nola left the game after seven innings of one-run ball.
Still, the Tigers shut out Alabama on Wednesday, 3-0, and they are the better overall team. I see LSU bouncing back and advancing to the semifinals for a rematch with Arkansas.
Texas A&M (9) vs. Vanderbilt (1)
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: ESPN3
After getting manhandled by Texas A&M on Wednesday, Vanderbilt found itself in a dog fight with South Carolina on Thursday.
The Commodores scored three runs in the second inning, only to watch the Gamecocks whittle away at the lead before tying it up in the seventh inning.
But first baseman Conrad Gregor was ultimately the hero, singling through the right side to score Tony Kemp in the bottom of the 10th inning.
Who will win on Friday?
Vanderbilt hasn't looked incredibly impressive in the SEC tournament, but the Commodores went 48-7 during the regular season. That included a conference-record 26 wins in the SEC. They rank 16th in runs and ERA this season, via NCAA.com.
If this team finds its groove, watch out.
Of course, the Commodores have to face Texas A&M again in the third round.
This is a close one to call. Before the tournament, I wouldn't have given the Aggies much of a chance against Vanderbilt, but they had been playing well in the tournament before committing three errors in the 6-4 loss to Mississippi State on Thursday.
That being said, the Aggies didn't play that well against Mississippi State. I think the Commodores will build on their win against South Carolina and send Texas A&M packing.
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