SEC Baseball Tournament Blog: Monday
Welcome to the SEC Baseball Tournament Blog, your online home for the big news, behind-the-scenes notes and quotes and special moments that make this annual event at the Hoover (Ala.) Met the best college baseball tournament in the nation. Check back for updates each day throughout the week.
It doesn't get any better than this
The SEC Baseball Tournament's unsurpassed reputation precedes it, but once again, the numbers bolster the boast. Check out the collective resume of the eight teams that'll play four single-elimination games Tuesday to start the week.
Four of those teams are ranked in the latest USA Today poll: No. 15 Texas A&M, No. 17 LSU, No. 21 Tennessee and No. 23 Ole Miss. Three of those teams also received votes in that poll: Missouri, Auburn and Florida.
South Carolina, the one team playing Tuesday that didn't receive votes in the latest poll, was ranked in the top 25 for three weeks earlier in the season.
Three of the teams playing Tuesday have combined to win four national championships in the last 10 years: LSU (2009), South Carolina (2010, 2011) and Florida (2017).
Need more? Five of the teams playing Tuesday - Florida, LSU, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Ole Miss - have combined to make 16 trips to the College World Series in the last decade. Oh, and the four programs that have won the last six SEC Tournament titles will try to take their first step in that direction on Day One: Ole Miss (2018), LSU (2017, 2014, 2013), Texas A&M (2016) and Florida (2015).
You get the picture. You won't find a better collection of college baseball programs in one place than the eight squads in action Tuesday at the Hoover Met - until Wednesday when top four seeds Vanderbilt, Arkansas, Georgia and Mississippi State meet Tuesday's winners.
In that latest USA Today poll, Vanderbilt is No. 2, State is No. 3, Arkansas is No. 5 and Georgia is No. 6. Just so you know.
All about the fans
The Southeastern Conference strives to enhance the fan experience each year at the SEC Baseball Tournament, and 2019 continues that tradition. Among the new and returning amenities:
- There's a new state-of-the-art video board beyond the right-field fence, with a screen size nearly double the previous board. There's also a complementary video board behind the left-field fence.
- Two new temporary cell towers have been added to the Hoover Met Complex to improve cell phone service. A new permanent cell tower will be in place for the 2020 tournament.
- SEC FanFest returns to the Finley Center adjacent to the Hoover Met for the third year and continues to be free of charge. It's an indoor playground for fans of all ages and includes interactive games, a zip line, a miniature golf course and a sports bar with live entertainment. Fans with tournament tickets can move freely between the Hoover Met and the Finley Center.
- The clear-bag policy will be in effect for all fans entering the Hoover Met.
Get your tickets now
Ole Miss won the 2018 SEC Baseball Tournament, defeating LSU 9-1 in the championship game in front of 14,126 fans. It was the second-largest championship game crowd in tournament history. The overall attendance of 144,086 at last year's event also ranks second in tournament history.
This year's tournament hasn't started, but if early ticket sales are any indication, big crowds are headed to the Hoover Met again this week. More reserved seats have been pre-sold than for any SEC Baseball Tournament since 2000.
Get your tickets now at www.secsports.com.
- 9:30 a.m. Game 1: No. 6 seed Texas A&M vs. No. 11 Florida
- 30 minutes after Game 1 Game 2: No. 7 Ole Miss vs. No. 10 Missouri
- 4:30 p.m. Game 3: No. 8 Auburn vs. No. 9 Tennessee
- 30 minutes after Game 3 Game 4: No. 5 LSU vs. No. 12 South Carolina