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ATB SEC Tournament Edition: Lower Seeds Carry Day in Hoover


All the top seeds lost on the first day of the SEC tournament Wednesday, the first time that's happened since ... well, last year, actually. The last game actually ended at the fairly reasonable hour (for the tournament) of 12:30 a.m. ET, giving us hope that the pitch clock and 30-minute breaks might actually shorten the day as planned. That makes the bracket look like this:

[7] Alabama [8] LSU
[6] Ole Miss [5] Vanderbilt
[3] South Carolina [4] Arkansas
[2] Auburn [1] Florida

In short, two of the top four seeds will go home Thursday, one way or the other. And that will include at least one of the three clear favorites -- Florida, Auburn and South Carolina -- when the tournament began.

[7] Alabama 7, [2] Auburn 1
The star of the game was Jimmy Nelson, who scattered five hits and a single run over nine innings, using just 97 pitches. That included six straight shutout innings after the run scored in the third. Cory Luckie pitched well enough, with two of the three runs he allowed in 6.2 innings unearned.

[6] Ole Miss 3, [3] South Carolina 0
Drew Pomeranz was Drew Pomeranz, striking out seven en route to seven shutout endings. Miles Hamblin's two-run home run in the third would have been enough on its own. Nolan Belcher allowed those runs, and while the Gamecock bullpen did an admirable job, the Carolina offense never decided to score.

[8] LSU 10, [1] Florida 6
At one point, it looked like this would be a rout; the Bayou Bengals held a 9-4 when Anthony Ranaudo left in the eighth with two outs and runners on first and second. Then, the LSU bullpen had its chance. Two singles later, Florida was suddenly alive. But Mikie Mahtook plated another run the next inning and a single hit was all Florida got in the ninth.

[5] Vanderbilt 2, [4] Arkansas 0
This game was a pitching duel from the beginning. Aaron Westlake scored twice, once on a wild pitch and once on a home run, to provide all the runs in the game. Each team had seven hits. Arkansas' Jeremy Heatley threw five scoreless innings, but Sonny Gray and the Vanderbilt bullpen were just a bit better.