2018 SEC TOURNAMENT FINAL
FLORIDA GATORS vs. SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Watch Online: WatchESPN
A new SEC Tournament Champion will be crowned in Columbia, Missouri Saturday night. After an eventful couple days, we’re down to two teams vying for the coveted title, in what should be a hotly contested encounter.
On one side, we have the 3rd-seeded South Carolina Gamecocks. The Gamecocks got to the SEC Tournament Championship Game with back-to-back 3-1 victories over Mississippi State and Arkansas.
Kenzi Maguire has been stout out of the leadoff spot for the Gamecocks in their two games played so far. Maguire has hit the ball decently well, going 2-for-7 out of the top spot in the order. She’s also driven in a pair of runs, standing as the top run producer so far alongside Tiara Duffy. Duffy got her two runs driven in the victory over Arkansas on Friday. She connected on a 2-run home run, the second of the Tournament for the Gamecocks, which also helped set a new single-season record for the team for home runs in a season (61 and counting).
That SC has done this shouldn’t surprise anybody. Their mark of 61 homers leads the entire conference by a full five over both Georgia and Missouri Their SLG of .475 is near the top of the conference, trailing only UGA’s .516 mark on the year. While their team BA of .280 is in the bottom quadrant of the standings, make no mistake: the Gamecocks can certainly dish out the long ball, and are a threat to do so in this title game.
That is if they can crack the code of Florida’s stellar pitching. Led by Kelly Barnhill, the Gators have amassed a team ERA of 1.33 this season. Barnhill herself has been awesome this year, putting up an ERA of 099 in 184 innings pitched. She’s allowed a BA of .110 with 281 strikeouts to just 66 walks. Aleshia Ocasio hasn’t been too shabby herself, having put up an ERA of 1.23 in 130.2 innings, with 147 strikeouts to just 14 walks.
In their two games in the SEC Tournament, the Gators have put up an ERA of 3.00, allowing four runs in their 12 innings played. That would’ve been downsized if they didn’t run-rule Tennessee on Friday night. UF’s offense has been the story so far as they’ve totaled 15 runs through their two games, including a 10-spot in the Semifinals. Nicole DeWitt had herself a night, with two home runs, one of the two-run and the three-run variety. DeWitt has a team-best 13 home runs on the year, followed by Amanda Lorenz, who boasts nine and a team-high SLG of .755.
The Gators are the top team in the conference for good reason, having proven such through the SEC Tourney. South Carolina will have to throw the kitchen sink at them to pick them off, but they’re awfully great in their own right. If nothing else, this tussle for the title should be a dandy, and shouldn’t be missed.