SEC Baseball Tournament 2019: Vanderbilt, Ole Miss Advance to Championship Game

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMay 25, 2019

Mississippi's Grae Kessinger, center, celebrates with teammates after hitting a two-run home run against Georgia during the fifth inning of an NCAA college baseball game at the Southeastern Conference tournament, Saturday, May 25, 2019, in Hoover, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)
Butch Dill/Associated Press

The top-seeded Vanderbilt Commodores will take on the Mississippi Rebels in Sunday's SEC Championship Game after successful performances in the semifinals.

Vanderbilt breezed past LSU to secure its spot in the title game. Ole Miss took down Georgia and needs one more win to secure an automatic berth in the NCAA tournament.

All four teams are virtual locks to represent the conference in this year's NCAA Division I baseball tournament, with Vandy and UGA among the nation's top College World Series championship contenders.

Let's check out the final scores from the semis, along with a look at Sunday's schedule and a recap of the action.


Semifinal Results (May 25)

Game 15: (7) Ole Miss defeated (3) Georgia, 5-3

Game 16: (1) Vanderbilt def. (5) LSU, 13-4


Championship Schedule (May 26)

Game 17: (7) Ole Miss vs. (1) Vanderbilt (3 p.m. ET)



Southeastern Conference @SEC

Three straight days with four games ☑️ We made it to the home stretch, y'all! Champ Central » https://t.co/akXbELhlhu https://t.co/kEZi0IsAX8


Vanderbilt 13, LSU 4

One day after LSU beat Mississippi State in seven innings with the mercy rule, Vanderbilt nearly returned the favor to the Tigers with a 13-4 victory to advance to Sunday's championship game.

After a scoreless first inning for both teams, the Commodores took complete control of the game by putting up at least two runs in four of the next five frames.

JJ Bleday, who is just over one week away from possibly being a top-10 draft pick, added to his NCAA-best home run total with a solo shot to lead off the third inning:

SEC Network @SECNetwork

JJ Bleday just DESTROYED this baseball 😳 https://t.co/WxFmt33ppu

Already leading 7-1 heading into the sixth, Vanderbilt blew the doors off the game with six runs. Ty Duvall capped off the scoring with a three-run homer off Will Ripoll.

LSU was able to avoid being mercy-ruled by scoring three runs in the bottom of the sixth, but that was merely prolonging the inevitable.

Looking ahead to Sunday's title game, Vanderbilt and Mississippi didn't play each other during the regular season.

Despite being one of the best programs in the nation, the Commodores haven't dominated the SEC tournament. They've won just two titles—1980 and 2007—and haven't reached the championship game since 2015.


Ole Miss 5, Georgia 3

Ole Miss shortstop Grae Kessinger broke a 3-3 tie with a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth inning, and the Rebels' pitching staff delivered four scoreless innings to close out the win and send the tournament's defending champions back to the title game.

SEC Network @SECNetwork

No doubt about it. @OleMissBSB’s Grae Kessinger CRUSHED it. https://t.co/k6OTv3CYKy

Kessinger and first baseman Cole Zabowski tallied three hits apiece to account for more than half the Rebels' total (11).

Max Cioffi (1.2 innings), Connor Green (0.2), Kaleb Hill (0.2) and closer Parker Caracci (1.1) all delivered scoreless appearances out of the bullpen for Ole Miss.

Caracci did create some drama by allowing a hit and a walk to open the ninth inning. He slammed the door shut after that, however, recording three straight outs to earn the save.

SEC Network @SECNetwork

Mason Meadows GOES YARD! @BaseballUGA takes a 2-0 lead in Hoover. #SECTourney https://t.co/CVf6XlQk89

No Georgia player had more than one hit in the contest. Catcher Mason Meadows had two RBI, and third baseman Aaron Schunk drove in the other run for the Bulldogs.

UGA remains without an SEC tournament title in 26 appearances, the conference's longest drought.