At some point, someone in the SEC is going to win a tournament game in nine innings again.
In any case, while it wouldn't have affected their stock in any meaningful way -- Vanderbilt was going to host a Super Regional if it wins its Regional no matter what happened -- it would have been a little bit embarrassing. After all, Vanderbilt is supposed to be the best team in the country. But the go two-and-out in their conference playoff, with one of the losses coming against a team that might not even make the NCAA field?
Fortunately, it's a fate Vanderbilt will avoid. Though they've only staved off elimination for a day, and still have to defeat the loser of the Texas A&M-Mississippi State game taking place later today, the 4-3 win against South Carolina on Thursday at least limits the chances that Vanderbilt will slump their way into the NCAA tournament.
Then again, all they're playing for right now is a bit of momentum. The team they will face on Friday will be playing either for an NCAA berth or to get rid of what little uncertainty might remain about whether there will be a regional in Starkville. That could be a powerful motivating factor for taking down the No. 1 team in the land.
As for South Carolina -- another year in Hoover, another disappointing finish. In that way, Chad Holbrook really hasn't changed the team's trajectory from the Ray Tanner Era. Of course, Tanner didn't win his popularity in South Carolina because of what he did in Hoover, but because of what he did in Omaha. If Holbrook brings results like that, what happened this week probably won't matter much to South Carolina fans.
The bigger problem for South Carolina could be whether the injury to Max Schrock at the end of the game proves serious. Schrock, who had five home runs and the team's second-highest on-base percentage before Thursday's game (.394), is having a pretty impressive freshman campaign so far. The Gamecocks might rather have him in the Regionals than a win in Hoover.