The 2014 SEC tournament has so far lived up to the hype befitting what was the best conference in college baseball during the regular season.
Just one day into the double-elimination stage, the top seed has already been knocked down, while another team was run-ruled. Arkansas and Ole Miss also put on a fantastic pitcher's duel, giving fans a little bit of everything.
And to think, the tournament is only beginning to heat up. Those teams staring elimination in the face will want to prolong their stays in Hoover, Alabama, for at least another day, while the select few to remain undefeated will have one eye on the championship game.
|5||LSU 11, Vanderbilt 1|
|6||Arkansas 2, Ole Miss 1|
|7||Kentucky 4, Florida 2|
|8||Mississippi State 12, South Carolina 0|
|9||No. 6 Vanderbilt vs. No. 2 Ole Miss||9:30 a.m.||ESPN3|
|10||No. 1 Florida vs. No. 4 South Carolina||TBD||ESPN3|
|11||No. 3 LSU vs. No. 7 Arkansas||4:30 p.m.||ESPN3|
|12||No. 9 Kentucky vs. No. 5 Mississippi State||TBD||ESPN3|
Note: You can view the full bracket on SECDigitalNetwork.com.
Day 3 Predictions
Florida Will Bounce Back with a Victory
Surely the top-seeded Gators won't drop two games in a row. Florida is way too good of a team to bow out of the SEC tournament this early.
The Gators took their foot off the gas a little bit against Kentucky on Wednesday. Before the game, they posed with the 2014 SEC Championship trophy, so you could see how the players' minds might have been elsewhere:
The Wildcats scored two runs in the first and third innings, and that was the extent of their scoring.
Motivation will be the biggest hurdle to climb for Florida. As Robbie Andreu of The Gainesville Sun wrote, the Gators have little to gain from the SEC tournament:
Florida already has what every other baseball team is seeking this week at the SEC tournament in Hoover, Ala.
The No. 7 Gators have a conference title in their pocket, a championship trophy on the way, and all kinds of momentum heading into NCAA regional play next week.
And that's not going to change — regardless of what happens to the Gators over the next few days in Hoover.
Florida doesn't do one thing really well, but the Gators have a balance that few in the nation can match. They didn't win the toughest conference in the country by accident.
Taylor Gushue won't go hitless again, and the rest of the Florida offense should get back to something resembling its best on Thursday.
Vanderbilt Will Be Headed Home to Nashville
Getting run-ruled by the LSU Tigers was bad enough:
LSU wins it on a run rule 11-1 in the 7th. Dores back in action tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. vs. loser of Arkansas/Ole Miss.— VandyBaseball (@VandyBaseball) May 21, 2014
Adding insult to injury, the Commodores must now face Ole Miss—who have it all to play for—in an elimination game on Thursday.
The Rebels are at or near the top of the SEC in almost every offensive category. Given that they're coming off a 2-1 loss to Arkansas, you get the feeling that Will Allen, Auston Bousfield, Austin Anderson and Co. will be due in their next game.
Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco has already decided that Christian Trent will get the start, only adding to Vandy's problems. The sophomore left-hander is unbeaten on the season at 8-0 and has posted a 2.44 ERA. In SEC play, his ERA has dropped to 1.84, and he's allowed opposing hitters to post an average of .255.
Trent has arguably been much better than his more acclaimed teammate, Chris Ellis, when it comes to conference play.
Couple all of that with the Rebels needing to win in order to salvage their hopes of securing a national seed, and you get what should be an Ole Miss win, sending the Commodores home a little earlier than they would've hoped.