SEC Baseball Tournament 2021: Final Four Schedule and Bracket PredictionsMay 29, 2021
The No. 1 baseball team in Division I is still alive in its quest to win its first-ever SEC baseball tournament.
The Arkansas Razorbacks are one of four teams in the hunt in Hoover, Alabama, and it reached the semifinals through a win over the Vanderbilt Commodores in a heavyweight showdown on Wednesday.
Arkansas is one of two undefeated teams in the tournament. The sixth-seeded Florida Gators are the other squad that survived double-elimination play without a defeat.
For Saturday's semifinals, the format reverts back to single-elimination, with Arkansas taking on the Ole Miss Rebels and Florida facing the SEC East champion Tennessee Volunteers.
SEC Baseball Tournament Bracket and Schedule
Arkansas over Ole Miss
The top-seeded Razorbacks have nine wins in their last 10 games, including back-to-back wins over Vanderbilt and the Georgia Bulldogs in Hoover.
When Arkansas played Ole Miss in the regular season, it produced 31 runs and had an 18-run outburst in the series finale.
Ole Miss can boast that it earned 27 runs off Arkansas in the final two games of that series, the first of which was the second game of a doubleheader.
If there is a team to end Arkansas' winning streak, Ole Miss could be it, considering the power it displayed on April 10 and 11.
However, the Ole Miss offense has not been as prolific as it was in early April. The Rebels scored eight runs in one of their last seven games. They had to grind out wins over Vanderbilt and Georgia in Hoover to get to the final four.
Arkansas lit up Georgia for 11 runs and took five runs off Vanderbilt ace Kumar Rocker to reach this position.
The Razorbacks have the luxury of shortening the game with their starters since they have Kevin Kopps in the bullpen.
Kopps, the SEC Pitcher of the Year, finished off Vanderbilt with three hitless innings on Wednesday. As long as Arkansas gets its bats rolling early, the right-hander could go into shutdown mode to finish off Ole Miss.
Tennessee over Florida
Tennessee's bats have been on fire in Hoover.
The Vols scored 23 runs in 15 innings versus the Mississippi State Bulldogs and Alabama Crimson Tide to set up a meeting with Florida. In those two games, Tennessee hit six home runs.
Additionally, the Vols held their last two opponents to two combined runs, which alleviated some stress on the bullpen.
Blade Tidwell and Chad Dallas pitched well over 12.2 innings of work to keep the rest of the team's arms fresh for the championship push.
A full-strength bullpen could be necessary for the Vols to get past Florida since the three regular-season meetings between the two teams were all decided by two runs or fewer.
Tennessee's relievers gave up five earned runs during that three-game series, with three of the concessions coming off Sean Hunley in the series finale.
If the Vols' bullpen is as effective against Florida again, that could be the difference-maker in Saturday's game since most of the top arms on both rosters will be unavailable since they pitched earlier in the week.
Statistics obtained from D1Baseball.com.