In & around SEC baseball

By Cole FrederickBy Cole Frederick

NCAA Regional Tournament Review

Nine Southeastern Conference teams made the NCAA baseball tournament, but only four advanced to the best-of-three Super Regionals set for this weekend.

South Carolina easily won its regional and will face North Carolina. Vanderbilt also won, and the Commodores will play Louisville.

SEC tournament champion LSU dominated its regional, and the Tigers play Oklahoma this weekend.        

Finally, Mississippi State defeated Central Arkansas in a win-or-go-home game to reach the Super Regionals.

Alabama was the No. 2 seed in the Tallahassee regional, but the Crimson Tide lost twice to Troy. After the Trojans defeated Alabama, 5-2, in the opening game, the teams squared off again in an elimination game later in the tournament.

Alabama led Troy 8-5 entering the bottom of the ninth inning, but the Trojans scored four runs in the inning to win 9-8. Alabama finished the season at 35-28.

Florida entered the season with high expectations, but the Gators struggled for most of the year. The Gainesville squad barely made the NCAA tournament as a No. 3 seed and they went 0-2 in its regional. Florida lost to both Austin Peay and Valparaiso by one run. The Gators finished the season at 29-30.

Arkansas was one of the league’s best teams all season, but a weak out-of-conference schedule kept the Hogs from hosting a regional. The Razorbacks lost their opening game to Bryant, although they defeated the Bulldogs later in the tournament. The Hogs lost a 4-3 heartbreaker to Kansas State in the regional final. Arkansas finished the season at 39-22.

Texas A&M’s debut season in the SEC ended with a 6-1 loss to Oregon State in Corvallis. The Aggies also lost to UC-Santa Barbara, 6-4, in the tourney’s opening game. Texas A&M defeated UTSA, 6-1, and UC-Santa Barbara, 5-4, in the losers bracket to reach the finals. The Aggies finished the season at 33-29.

Despite being the No. 2 seed, Ole Miss lost twice to William & Mary in the Raleigh Regional. The Rebels were not able to consistently hit the ball, producing only three total runs in their two losses. Those same hitting woes plagued the Rebels all season, but they made up for it with stellar pitching. Ole Miss has not made a Super Regional since 2009. The Rebels finished the season at 38-24.

NCAA Super Regional Preview

Only 16 teams remain in all of college baseball, and four of those squads are from the Southeastern Conference. The Super Regionals are only between two teams, with each set of teams playing a best-of-three series.

The eight series winners advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. The Atlantic Coast Conference also has four teams participating in the Super Regionals, including North Carolina, North Carolina State, Florida State and Virginia. Other Super Regional teams include Kansas State, Oregon State, Indiana, Rice, Oklahoma, Louisville, UCLA and Cal State-Fullerton.

Super Regional matchups: North Carolina vs. South Carolina; North Carolina State vs. Rice; Cal State-Fullerton vs. UCLA; LSU vs. Oklahoma; Vanderbilt vs. Louisville; Florida State vs. Indiana; Virginia vs. Mississippi State; Oregon State vs. Kansas State;   

Predicted winners: South Carolina (SEC); Rice (Conference USA); Cal State-Fullerton (Big West); LSU (SEC); Vanderbilt (SEC); Florida State (ACC); Virginia (ACC); Oregon State (Pac-12).


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