Mississippi State (40-16, 16-14 SEC) will be the No. 5 seed for the SEC Tournament, which will again be played at Hoover (Ala.) Metropolitan Stadium. The Bulldogs, who finished the regular season third in the SEC Western Division, will open play Tuesday night against No. 12 seed Missouri (18-31, 10-20). Their game will start about 30 minutes after the conclusion of the 4:30 p.m. game between No. 8 Florida and No. 9 Texas A&M.
Tuesday’s games are single elimination, and the Missouri-MSU winner plays No. 4 seed South Carolina on Wednesday, again in the late game. The Bulldogs won the tournament title last season, playing six games in six days. With league expansion this past year, the tourney is now a 12-team affair. Georgia and Tennessee did not qualify.
“I think we have the team that can go out there and win it again,” said relief pitcher Ross Mitchell. “Thankfully, we’re playing at 8:30 (p.m.) instead of 9 in the morning. It won’t be so hot. We just need to go out there and have fun like we did last year.”
MSU just completed a series victory over No. 14-ranked South Carolina, which should bolster its case for hosting an NCAA regional. The Gamecocks, who finished second in the Eastern Division, have a strong case, too. Arkansas, which has been projected as a host, hurt itself with a series loss to Auburn this weekend. So what happens in Hoover could have an impact on the NCAA selection committee’s decisions, and it’s something the players have already been thinking about.
“I’d be lying to you if I told you we weren’t in the locker room talking about it,” outfielder Demarcus Henderson said. “We talk about it, but we still try to take it one game at a time.”
For the SEC Tournament bracket, click here.