SEC Tournament Just Means More … Rain: Tennessee Vs. Vanderbilt Moved Yet Again

HOOVER, Alabama – No. 1 Tennessee keeps “advancing” in the Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament, but without playing.

The SEC regular season champion Volunteers (49-7) had their SEC Tournament opener moved to a fourth start time on Wednesday night due to rain postponing previously scheduled games. Tennessee and No. 8 seed Vanderbilt (36-19) are now scheduled to play at 2 p.m. eastern Thursday at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.

Tennessee and Vanderbilt were first scheduled for Wednesday afternoon, then Wednesday night, then Thursday morning and finally Thursday afternoon. Survive and advance, right?

The first game on Thursday is now scheduled to be No. 2 seed Texas A&M (35-17) versus No. 7 seed Florida (36-20) at 10:30 a.m. That game was postponed from Wednesday night because of heavy rains.

After the Tennessee-Vanderbilt game, No. 4 seed LSU (37-18) will play No. 12 seed Kentucky (31-24) at approximately 5:30 p.m. Thursday. No. 3 seed Arkansas (38-17), which lost 4-3 to No. 11 seed Alabama on Wednesday night, will play the loser of Texas A&M and Florida in an elimination game with a time to be determined either on Thursday night or Friday.

Tennessee Would Like To Add SEC Tournament Title To Its Glittering 2022 Season

All four Thursday games are under the umbrella of “weather permitting,” however, as heavy rains are expected throughout the day and some of the night.

At least, though, the SEC Tournament did get two games in on Wednesday as Kentucky eliminated Auburn, 3-1, just prior to 5 p.m. before Alabama’s win over Arkansas finished not long before heavy rains.

Alabama improved to 31-25 and is the only team to win two games in the tournament so far, but its next game is up in the air – literally, depending on the rain.

“With more rain forecast for much of Thursday, when Alabama will play again and which opponent that will be is undetermined,” the SEC’s release on its win over Arkansas said.

“The rest of the weekend looks great,” SEC communications director Chuck Dunlap said of Friday through Sunday weather forecasts.

Kentucky’s Oraj Anu and Adam Fogel were able to dry off their aluminum bats enough to each hit solo home runs to lead off the top of the ninth and give the Wildcats a 3-1 lead in Wednesday’s opener. Tyler Guilfoil (3-1) then retired Auburn’s last three batters in the bottom of the ninth with two strikeouts and a pop-out after allowing the first two runners on for the win in relief. Auburn’s Blake Burkhalter (4-2) took the loss after allowing the two home runs.

What Each SEC Team Needs To Do In The Tournament To Advance or Enhance

Alabama reliever Dylan Ray picked up his second save in two days in the win over Arkansas and his eighth of the season. Antoine Jean (5-1) picked up the victory with two innings of one-hit relief and three strikeouts.

Should rain cause more havoc on Thursday, Dunlap said the tournament could be changed to all single-elimination games and/or games could be shortened to seven innings. The format began with single elimination in the first four games only, double elimination after that before single elimination in the semifinals and final.

Another bad-weather scenario is to move a game or two to another stadium in the Hoover Metropolitan Complex.

“Let me just say that (the SEC) has done the best job they could do to get the games in,” Kentucky coach Nick Mingione said. “Everything from the field to communicating with the teams, it has been the highest level.”

The league has built-in room on Friday for postponed games as only two were scheduled originally in the untarnished bracket. The semifinals are scheduled now for 1 p.m. and approximately 4:30 p.m. on Saturday with the championship game at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

All games are on the SEC Network, except for the title game on ESPN2.

“Obviously, the Wildcats need more wins, so the more games we get to play the better,” Mingione said. “But if we have to go to single elimination, that what we have to do. If we have to play on the back field, that’s what we’ll do.”

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau has been on the LSU beat since 1998 with multiple outlets in Louisiana, prior to that he had covered both Auburn and Alabama. He won first place for his game feature on LSU's upset at Florida last season from the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). He was also named Beat Writer of Year, by Louisiana Sports Writers Association in July; placed in three Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) categories – Beat Writer, Explanatory, Game Coverage – last spring. Guilbeau was also the FWAA first-place winner for columns in 2017 and was also the top overall winner in 2016 FWAA placing first for his game story, second in columns, and receiving honorable mention for features.

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