By Cole Frederick/Sports Correspondent
SEC Tournament Review
For the third time in school history, the Ole Miss Rebels won the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament championship. After losing to Auburn in their opening game, the Rebels bounced back to win four straight to capture their first championship since 2006. After sneaking by Georgia, 5-4, Ole Miss breezed past Auburn, 7-0. The Rebels then beat Texas A&M, 2-1, in the semifinals to set up a showdown with rival LSU in the championship game.
LSU has the most tournament championships in the league with 12 and won the tournament a season ago. But Ole Miss jumped on the Tigers from the start and pulled away for a decisive 9-1 victory.
Auburn won its first two games of the tournament over Kentucky and Ole Miss but dropped the next two games to Texas A&M and Ole Miss. Perhaps the most surprising part of the tournament was No. 1 Florida losing both of its games and heading home early.
SEC Baseball Rankings
1. Florida (42-17)
2. Ole Miss (46-15)
3. Arkansas (39-18)
4. Georgia (37-19)
5. Auburn (39-21)
6. Texas A&M (39-20)
7. LSU (37-25)
8. South Carolina (33-24)
9. Vanderbilt (31-25)
10. Mississippi State (31-25)
11. Kentucky (34-22)
12. Missouri (34-22)
13. Tennessee (29-27)
14. Alabama (27-29)
NCAA Baseball Tournament Preview
Ten schools from the Southeastern Conference made the 64-team NCAA Tournament field, with four of those schools hosting a regional this weekend
Defending national champion Florida is the No. 1 overall seed for the tournament. The Gators’ will host a four-team regional consisting of No. 2 Jacksonville, No. 3 Florida Atlantic and No. 4 Columbia.
After winning the SEC Tournament championship, Ole Miss earned the No. 4 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Rebels host No. 2 Tennessee Tech, No. 3 Missouri State and No. 4 Saint Louis in the Oxford Regional.
Arkansas is the No. 5 overall seed, while Georgia is the No. 8 overall seed. The Razorbacks, Bulldogs, Gators and Rebels all will host a super-regional if they advance past the regionals.
The Hogs host No. 2 Southern Mississippi, No. 3 Dallas Baptist and No. 4 Oral Roberts in the Fayetteville Regional. Georgia will host No. 2 Duke, No. 3 Troy and No. 4 Campbell in the Athens Regional.
The six other SEC teams in the tournament field must travel to start the NCAA Tournament. Auburn is in the Raleigh Regional as the No. 2 seed and will take on No. 3 Northeastern in the opening game. The Tigers played the Huskies in a three-game series earlier this season with Auburn winning two of the three games. Auburn pitcher Casey Mize tossed a no-hitter in the first game. No. 1 seed North Carolina State and No. 4 seed Army round out the regional field.
South Carolina doesn’t have to travel far for its regional, as the Gamecocks are the No. 2 seed in the Greenville regional. South Carolina will face No. 3 Ohio State, while No. 1 East Carolina takes on No. 4 UNC-Wilmington in the other matchup.
Texas A&M’s road to Omaha might go through its biggest rival. Texas hosts the Austin Regional and will play No. 4 Texas Southern. The No. 3 seed Aggies play No. 2 Indiana.
Vanderbilt is four years removed from its first championship in school history, and the Commodores’ path this year goes through the Clemson Regional. No. 2 seed Vandy plays No. 3 St. John’s, while No. 1 Clemson faces No. 4 Morehead State.
Mississippi State was at the bottom of the SEC standings earlier this season, but the Bulldogs rallied and earned a No. 2 seed at the Tallahassee Regional, where they play No. 3 Oklahoma in their first game. No. 1 Florida State meets No. 4 Samford.
Finally, LSU is facing perhaps the most difficult challenge of any SEC team. The Tigers are the No. 2 seed in the Corvallis Regional, where they will face No. 3 seed San Diego State in their opening game. No. 1 seed Oregon State hosts No. 4 Northwestern State on the other side of the bracket.
NCAA Regional Champion Predictions
Gainesville Regional: Florida
Raleigh Regional: Auburn
Lubbock Regional: Texas Tech
Athens Regional: Duke
Fayetteville Regional: Arkansas
Greenville Regional: East Carolina
Austin Regional: Texas
Oxford Regional: Ole Miss
Stanford Regional: Stanford
Conway Regional: Coastal Carolina
Clemson Regional: Clemson
Tallahassee Regional: Florida State
Chapel Hill Regional: North Carolina
DeLand Regional: Stetson
Minneapolis Regional: UCLA
Corvallis Regional: Oregon State