If you've got something to say about SEC baseball in the NCAA tournament, stop by our open thread.
There's a reason it's useful to stay in the winners' bracket in a double-elimination tournament, something that the SEC demonstrated all weekend long. Florida and Mississippi State had already easily won their final games for a sweep of their Regionals before Vanderbilt breezed past Belmont, 6-1. And when South Carolina and Stetson take the field again Monday, it will be with the Gamecocks leading 4-1.
So Vanderbilt's win isn't really surprising, but not just because they stayed on the winners' side of the Nashville Regional and avoided playing two games in one day to stay alive. Vanderbilt was perhaps the least heralded of the three SEC East teams that split the division and league titles, but they were still a great team and were heavy favorites in each of their Regional games; the weekend merely showed why.
Taylor Hill allowed just five hits in eight innings of work. He struck out 13 batters. Five different Commodores drove in runs to help provide the winning margin.
As of this writing, it's still possible for Vanderbilt to face Georgia in the second all-SEC Super Regional. (The Dawgs are tied with Oregon State.) Two Super Regionals composed entirely of league teams would be a clear illustration of the SEC's depth -- and another reason to be impressed by Vanderbilt's ability to at least share the crown.