The 2014 SEC baseball tournament bracket is set, and the first action of the tournament is scheduled for Tuesday, May 20, when Vanderbilt plays host to Tennessee.
Vandy and Tennessee are two teams with SEC championship aspirations, but will they be able to battle through the competition? The Volunteers might be the better of the two teams, but the Commodores are filled with talent. Their matchup in Round 1 will bring the tournament in with style.
But what about the other 10 teams in the tournament? This field is stacked with highly touted college talent, and the tournament figures to be compelling as a result. Familiarizing yourself with the scheduling, rosters and format of the tourney prior to the start of the action is a great way to get an idea of which teams to watch.
Below is everything you'll need.
A full bracket of the 2014 SEC baseball tournament can be found here.
Round 1 of the SEC tournament will be single-elimination. Losing teams will be completely eliminated from the tourney. Round 2 will then switch to double-elimination, with losing teams receiving another chance at staying alive. This format will stay in effect until the semifinals, when single-elimination will begin again. The tournament title will be decided in a one-game clash.
Below is a full schedule of the tournament.
|Game #||Date||Time (ET)||Matchup|
|1||May 20||9:30 a.m.||Vanderbilt vs. Tennessee|
|2||May 20||TBD||Arkansas vs. Texas A&M|
|3||May 20||4:30 p.m.||Alabama vs. Kentucky|
|4||May 20||TBD||Mississippi State vs. Georgia|
|5||May 21||9:30 a.m.||LSU vs. Winner Game 1|
|6||May 21||TBD||Ole Miss vs. Winner Game 2|
|7||May 21||4:30 p.m.||Florida vs. Winner Game 3|
|8||May 21||TBD||South Carolina vs. Winner Game 4|
|9||May 22||9:30 a.m.||Loser Game 5 vs. Loser Game 6|
|10||May 22||TBD||Loser Game 7 vs. Loser Game 8|
|11||May 22||4:30 p.m.||Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6|
|12||May 22||TBD||Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8|
|13||May 23||3:00 p.m.||Winner Game 9 vs. Loser Game 11|
|14||May 23||TBD||Winner Game 10 vs. Loser Game 12|
|15||May 24||Noon||Winner Game 13 vs. Winner Game 11|
|16||May 24||TBD||Winner Game 14 vs. Winner Game 12|
|17||May 25||3:30 p.m.||Winner Game 15 vs. Winner Game 16|
Full team rosters can be seen by going to SECdigitalnetwork.com. Once on the home page, hover over "Schools" in the menu bar. Once highlighted, select a school. You will be able to find each roster through each individual school's athletics page.
Here is each team's record in the SEC this season, along with the seed it earned them for the tournament.
|2||Ole Miss Rebels||19-11|
|4||South Carolina Gamecocks||18-12|
|5||Mississippi St. Bulldogs||18-12|
|8||Alabama Crimson Tide||15-14|
|10||Texas A&M Aggies||14-16|
Florida, SEC Record: 21-9
Friday night's 4-2 win over Tennessee clinched the SEC's top seed for the tournament for Florida, and head coach Kevin O'Sullivan knew all along that his players wanted the top spot for themselves, via Edgar Thompson of the Orlando Sentinel: "We didn't want to share the title with anyone and the kids can now say that they are outright SEC champions."
Florida is considered the team with the best shot of winning the tournament. That probably has something to do with the fact that the Gators tallied 21 wins in the SEC this season, but several teams weren't far off their pace this year. This Gators team is very good, but they aren't invincible against their SEC counterparts.
With no true seniors on the team, Florida has looked to youngsters like pitcher Logan Shore for stability and leadership this year. Shore, a freshman, was drafted in the 29th round by the Minnesota Twins out of high school last season before choosing to forgo the pros for college.
#Gators' freshman RHP Logan Shore tied for the league lead with 7 SEC wins and was 7-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 10 conference starts— Gator Baseball (@GatorZoneBB) May 18, 2014
He has been phenomenal this season, boasting a 1.69 ERA and 57 strikeouts in 85 innings of work. He has walked just 16 to go with 70 hits allowed. Allowing about a baserunner per inning is a recipe for success for youngsters, and Shore is doing a great job of that this year.
He's a player to watch during the tournament.
Georgia, SEC Record: 11-18-1
The Georgia Bulldogs barely earned the final spot in the SEC tournament, as it took a slugfest against the Kentucky Wildcats on Thursday to clinch the No. 12 seed. Georgia scored 11 runs on 17 hits to defeat Kentucky, 11-10.
Every Bulldog in the starting lineup earned a hit in the game.
While Georgia may not have had much success in the SEC this season, the team did finish with an overall record of 26-28-1. That's not a flashy mark, but it's far better than the conference record.
Robert Tyler was named the SEC Pitcher of the Week on May 12 after firing a complete game shutout against No. 11 Ole Miss. Georgia's official athletics website broke down his performance in that game:
Tyler became the first Bulldog in eight years to toss a complete game SEC shutout on the road. He did it in front of 8,158 at Swayze Field with no walks and four strikeouts. He allowed a leadoff double in the first and then just two singles the rest of the contest, facing 32 batter overall and holding the Rebels to a .096 batting average.
Tyler could very well show more of the same dominance in the SEC tournament.