Yesterday the 11th-seeded Aggies opened the 2018 SEC Baseball Tournament with an upset victory over the sixth-seeded Vanderbilt Whistling #VandyBoys, 3-1, moving past the single elimination round. A&M’s RPI is back up to 17, and they have a fresh win to wipe away some of the bad taste of their 2-7 finish in SEC play. Their reward? A rematch with the No. 3 seed, Georgia (37-17, 18-12) in the second round. It’s double elimination from now until the semifinals on Saturday, which means that A&M’s worst possible outcome at this point is a 1-2 showing for the week.
While that mark still looks less than ideal on its surface, it definitely looks better than 0-1. That’s what Kentucky did by losing to Auburn yesterday afternoon, and they were in almost exactly the same situation the Ags were in coming into the tournament. With an overall record of 34-22, a 13-17 conference record, an RPI of 25 (according to Warren Nolan), and a strength of schedule of 17 (also Warren Nolan), the Wildcats were firmly on the bubble. D1Baseball had the Cats as one of the “Last Five In”, along with Illinois, Washington, the Aggies, and the LSU Tigers. With an overall record of 36-19, a 13-17 conference record, an RPI of 20, and a strength of schedule of 18, A&M’s position prior to the SEC Tournament was precarious at best, disastrous at worst. That win over Vanderbilt yesterday means the Ags can breathe a little easier, though they aren’t safe by any means. Kentucky, on the other hand, went one-and-done, and now they have to sweat it out come Selection Sunday. Thus, we should be #grateful that the Aggies took care of business.
When A&M met Georgia over in Athens the first time this season, the Ags were reeling from two consecutive series losses against top tier teams, in then-No. 14 Auburn and then-No. 5 Ole Miss. The Aggies had many chances to take either of those series, but their own blunders in the field cost the Ags in a big way. They looked to right the ship against an upstart Georgia team, who were ready to show they were for real. The Dawgs lost at least 18 conference games in every season since A&M joined the league in 2013, but they started their 2018 SEC slate off by taking two from Alabama and sweeping South Carolina for a 5-1 conference mark. They promptly tagged A&M with an 11-5 dismantling in game one and a 3-0 loss in game two. In the second game, they allowed just two Aggie hits, with the first not coming until there were two outs in the sixth. It will be tough, but exorcising their demons against the Bulldogs today would go a long, long way in securing a regional bid for the Ags.
You can follow the official interactive bracket here. The winner of today’s game will move take on the winner of Ole Miss/Auburn tomorrow afternoon at 4:30 CT, and the loser will take on the loser of Ole Miss/Auburn in an elimination game tomorrow morning at 9:30 CT.
Asa Lacy (2-1, 3.24 ERA) vs. C.J. Smith (1-0, 0.90 ERA)
Asa Lacy is making just his second start of the season, as he has largely functioned as one of Rob Childress’ most trusted arms out of the bullpen. The freshman out of Kerrville Tivy is fourth on the team in appearances, behind Kaylor Chafin, Cason Sherrod, and closer Nolan “#HereComesTheHoff” Hoffman. His longest outing on the year came back in March, when he tossed 4.2 relief innings of two-hit, shutout baseball in the 18-inning marathon against UT Arlington. In his lone start back on May 1, Lacy allowed just two hits and struck out four in two innings of work against Prairie View.
How to Watch
- Time: 9:30 am CT
- TV: Every game of the tournament will be televised on the SEC Network
- Live Video: Every game can also be streamed via SEC Network +
- Radio: Dave South has the call on SportsRadio 1150 AM/The Zone 102.7 FM
- Live Stats: SECSports.com