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LSU Wins SEC Baseball Championship; South Carolina Gets SEC East Title in Wild Day

LSU 3, South Carolina 2 (10)
Auburn 5, Florida 4
Mississippi State 11, Kentucky 3

About the only thing that seemed out of the question as South Carolina and LSU started playing Saturday was that each would end up with a bye in the first round of the SEC tournament next week if South Carolina lost. After all, that would require Mississippi State to finish sweeping a Kentucky team that has seemed like the best in the country a few weeks ago and for Auburn to defeat a Florida team that had essentially coasted through the first two games against the Tigers.

Who said baseball was boring?

First, the Gamecocks and the Bayou Bengals played an epic, 10-inning game that ended with a South Carolina rally that came up a run short. Then, Auburn took the lead against Florida with a three-run seven inning. Then, a game that had featured a small Kentucky lead turned into a laugher for Mississippi State.

Just like that, it turned out that rumors of LSU's demise under Paul Mainieri had been greatly exaggerated. The same Tigers who had gone 27-33 in the SEC over the last two seasons and ended up fifth in the SEC West in both seasons before being left out of the NCAA tournament in 2011 won an outright conference championship in 2012.

And South Carolina, which had started the season 1-5 with series losses to Kentucky and Florida, found itself ahead of both teams in the SEC East -- the second straight year that the Gamecocks have won at least a share of the division title.

Both teams now get a significant advantage in a double-elimination tournament: A game off that will give them one less chance to lose and a pitching staff that will have one day more rest than everyone else's. Which means the odds are pretty good that both will face off in another SEC Championship Game -- one that will leave room for only one winner.