While the teams at and near the top of the Southeastern Conference baseball standings have already punched their ticket to the SEC Baseball Tournament in Hoover, Ala. next week, there is still work to do on the final regular-season weekend of the season.
Vanderbilt and LSU are locked in as the top two seeds and Arkansas also has secured a day off on Tuesday (the SEC Tournament’s first day of play) as one of the top four seeds. Outside of those three teams, there is the potential for a lot of movement between South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi State and Ole Miss.
In addition to the jockeying for conference tournament seeding this weekend, everyone besides the Commodores and Tigers can bolster NCAA Baseball Tournament resumes and wiggle into regional hosting sites.
Prior to Thursday’s games, South Carolina was in the best position to earn the SEC’s third regional hosting site, but the Gamecocks lost a road game to Mississippi State, 5-4.
South Carolina still sits in fourth place in the conference standings and has an RPI of 12. If the Gamecocks can bounce back and win the final two games of the series, expect them to host a regional after the SEC Baseball Tournament.
Mississippi State is now in fifth place in the conference standings and has an RPI of 10. The win Thursday over South Carolina could have notched a regional hosting site for the Bulldogs, another win over the next two days would almost certainly do so.
If Mississippi State sweeps South Carolina, not only would that weigh extremely heavily on the Bulldogs getting to host a regional, but it would also land them a day off at the SEC Baseball Tournament on Tuesday as they’d finish in a tie with South Carolina and win the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Ole Miss was tied with Mississippi State entering the final weekend of play at 14-13 but dropped their series opener to LSU. The Bulldogs have the upper hand for that fourth conference tournament seed.
The Rebels have an outside chance at hosting a regional, but facing LSU, a team that’s only lost six times in the SEC this season, this weekend makes it tough. An extremely deep run in the SEC tournament might be their only shot at hosting a regional and that’s still a long shot without two wins over LSU this weekend.
Alabama, with an RPI of 38 and a current conference seeding of No. 8, now has next to zero chance of landing a regional.