The single-elimination portion of the 2019 SEC baseball tournament is completed, and most of the top-seeded programs advanced to the second round.
Florida wasted a chance to pad its NCAA tournament resume, surrendering a late two-run lead to Texas A&M. Aggies senior Jonathan Ducoff smacked a walk-off single to secure the 8-7 victory, also slugging a three-run homer earlier in the game.
Ole Miss won a 2-1 pitcher's duel against Missouri, and Auburn followed with a 5-3 triumph over Tennessee. In the nightcap, LSU overcame an early four-run deficit to bounce South Carolina 8-6.
Wednesday's winners will advance to non-elimination contests, while the losers will square off in elimination games.
SEC Baseball Tournament Schedule
Wednesday, May 22
No. 6 Texas A&M vs. No. 3 Georgia, 10:30 a.m. ET (SEC Network)
No. 7 Ole Miss vs. No. 2 Arkansas, 2 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
No. 8 Auburn vs. No. 1 Vanderbilt, 5:30 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
No. 5 LSU vs. No. 4 Mississippi State, 9 p.m. ET (SEC Network)
Texas A&M advanced to Wednesday's action in style. With an 0-2 count and two outs during the 10th inning, Ducoff laced a game-winning single to eliminate Florida.
The Aggies must continue to produce offensively, especially since freshman Chris Weber (4-1, 3.34 ERA) is coming off the worst outing of the season. Although he struck out 10 batters against Arkansas last week, Weber allowed five runs―including three homers.
Georgia will start Tim Elliott, who is 6-3 with a 2.93 ERA. Since the beginning of May, the Bulldogs are 8-2. Plus, while both losses were one-run defeats, they allowed more than four runs just twice.
If Elliott keeps A&M off the board early, Georgia should build a comfortable lead and hang on late.
The second contest is a showdown between left-handers. Ole Miss will start Zack Phillips (4-2, 4.73), and Arkansas will counter with All-SEC Freshman Team member Patrick Wicklander (5-2, 4.69).
Ole Miss took advantage of a slumping Missouri squad and could be facing Arkansas at the ideal moment. During the last four games of the regular season, the Razorbacks went 1-3 and averaged three runs. However, that also suggests Arkansas is due for a resurgence offensively.
Given the depth of talent in the lineup, the Razorbacks are the deserving favorite for Wednesday's matinee.
Auburn faces the most difficult task of the day, readying for a clash with Vanderbilt. The top-seeded Commodores swept the regular-season series opposite the Tigers.
Mason Hickman (6-0, 2.26) will take the hill for Vandy and has consistently pitched well this season. Last time out, 10 batters whiffed over his five innings of work. Hickman allowed two runs in four innings during a win against Auburn in late April, too.
The Tigers probably need six runs to compete, but that hasn't happened often enough to inspire confidence.
Similarly, inconsistency has defined LSU's season. Paul Mainieri's club might score two runs or 11, and it might allow one or 12. Your guess of which LSU team shows up is as good as ours.
Mississippi State is far more reliable, winning 13 of the last 15 outings and plating seven-plus runs in 10 of those games. The Bulldogs' steadiness earns the predictive nod.
Follow Bleacher Report writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.