Florida Gators first baseman Jac Caglianone. [Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports]

Florida Baseball Plays Vanderbilt To Start SEC Tournament

The SEC Baseball Tournament began Tuesday with four games at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Ala.

LSU, the 11 seed, started the single-elimination day of the tourney with a 9-1 win against six seed Georgia. Then 10 seed South Carolina ousted seven seed Alabama 10-5.

Nine seed Florida plays eight seed Vanderbilt at 5:55 p.m. and five seed Mississippi State plays 12 seed Ole Miss about 30 minutes after the conclusion of the UF game. All games will be carried on the SEC Network.

SEC Season

The Gators (28-26, 13-17 SEC) began the season strong against opponents outside of the SEC. However, as they began to play in the conference, hopes for a run as good as last season’s began to diminish.

Florida won the first three series against Texas A&M, Mississippi State and defending NCAA champion LSU. But they then were swept at Missouri before losing the next five SEC series. UF ended that slide with a series win at Georgia last weekend.

Gators In The Postseason

The last time the Gators were SEC champions was in 2015, the seventh in program history, when they defeated Vanderbilt.

The Gators won the national title in 2017 by beating LSU in the championship series.

Because they are two games above .500 in the regular season, own the No. 1 strength of schedule ranking and are No. 23 RPI (D1Baseball), the Gators stand a good chance to receive an at-large invite to the NCAA Tournament. A good run in the SEC Tournament should put them in a better spot for their 17th straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

SEC Honors

The SEC coaches honored Jac Caglianone (first team All-SEC at first base) and pitcher Liam Peterson (All-SEC Freshman Team) on Monday.

Vanderbilt did not have a player named to any All-SEC teams by the coaches.

Georgia’s Charlie Condon was named SEC Player of the Year, Arkansas’ Hagen Smith is the Pitcher of the Year, Texas A&M’s Gavin Grahovac the Freshman of the Year, Tennessee’s Drew Beam the Scholar-Athlete of the Year and Kentucky’s Nick Mingione was voted the Coach of the Year.

Gators vs. Vanderbilt

Florida lost the season series at Vanderbilt (35-20, 13-17) in April. Florida was able to grab the last game of the series.

The Gators sit 148-81-1 all-time against Vanderbilt and 35-23 under coach Kevin O’Sullivan.

Florida and Vandy played in the SEC tourney last season, when it won the first meeting before being eliminated in the semifinals. The Commodores went on to win the tourney by beating Texas A&M.

Florida will start left-handed pitcher Pierce Coppola (0-3, 9.28 ERA), while Vanderbilt will go with righty Bryce Cunningham (6-4, 4.54). ESPN 98.1-FM/850-AM WRUF will also provide coverage.

A win would send Florida to the next round against No. 1-seed and top-ranked Tennessee (46-10) at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, the double-elimination part of the tourney that ends Sunday afternoon.

About Isabella Rivera

Check Also

Florida Baseball Has Peaked At Right Time, O’Sullivan Says

Coach Kevin O’Sullivan and the Florida Gators baseball team are in Omaha for the College …