The SEC tournament is underway in Hoover, and Ole Miss is looking to avoid an early exit similar to that of their in-state rival when they open up play in the second round with a matchup against Auburn. Mississippi State is headed home after a loss to LSU, and USM will get begin their quest for a C-USA championship today.
Despite taking a 3-0 lead in the 4th inning of their game against LSU yesterday, Mississippi State couldn’t hang on and fell to the Tigers by an 8-5 final. Starter Konnor Pilkington allowed just 2 of the 8 runs but was pulled after 4.2 innings of work. The bullpen never found a rhythm and MSU gave up 2 runs in each of the last four innings to see their lead slip away. The Bulldog offense was able to pick up 14 hits in the game and scratched across runs in the 6th and 8th innings, but it wasn’t enough, and they have now been eliminated from the tournament.
Mississippi State will now await their NCAA Tournament destination. In D1’s latest projections (before the SEC tournament), the site had MSU heading to a regional in Tallahassee.
After securing a share of the SEC West crown and receiving a first-round bye, Ole Miss will take the field in Hoover for the first time later today against Auburn. The Rebels put together an eye-opening regular season and were able to win 42 games, but now they’ll have to prove that they can do it when the lights are brighter in the postseason.
The Rebels and the Tigers are familiar with each other, having just wrapped up series a few weeks ago. The series was a bright spot for Ole Miss and ended with their only sweep of an SEC opponent all season long. On the mound for Ole Miss will be Ryan Rolison, who pitched six strong innings against the Tigers in the series opener on May 10th. Because Auburn had to play yesterday, the Rebels avoid seeing the Tigers’ ace Casey Mize. Instead, they’ll face Tanner Burns, who they were able to chase after just 1.2 innings in game three of the series.
The Rebel offense has been rolling this season and with six players above .300, the level of consistency could be the difference in this matchup and throughout the tournament if the Rebels can advance.
First pitch is set for 1:00 p.m.
The SEC Tournament isn’t the only action going on, as the C-USA Tournament has begun in Biloxi. Southern Miss will take on UAB in round one as they look to follow up their regular season C-USA championship with a deep run into the conference tournament.
In early May, USM completed a sweep of UAB, during which, they outscored the Blazers 21-5 over the course of the three games. Southern Miss leads the conference in nearly every offensive category including team average (.305), hits (580), RBIs (403), and they rank 2nd in home runs with 63. On the other end of the spectrum, UAB ranks toward the bottom in these same categories.
First pitch from Biloxi is set for 4:00 p.m.