In the history of all things men's sports at Vanderbilt, there has never been a National Championship. They've done a lot of great things, but National Champ has never been put next to a men's sport for the Commodores. That ended this summer as the Vanderbilt Baseball Team won it's first championship. They came through in ways that probably shocked, surprised, and baffled even the players on the team.
SEC Baseball Update:
Georgia beat Arkansas with an 11 inning complete game Friday. The score was 4-2 in Fayetteville, AR as the road team Bulldogs won over the 13th ranked Razorbacks. The normally heavy hitting Hogs couldn't touch the great pitching of Georgia Sophomore Alex Wood. He completely dominated the game and kept the home team on their heels all day. The Razorbacks normally show a lot of poise and power in the box, but couldn't pull it off on Wood.
There have been 7 teams ranked in the top 25. The Gators of Florida ranked number 1. Kentucky has stepped up and played very well. Arkansas has been trending very well, but LSU has been probably the hottest team in the SEC. Ole Miss and Georgia have been ranked as well. The teams in the SEC are all dangerous and have been strong early on, we can only hope they keep it going.
The SEC has had a tremendously productive run in college baseball the past few seasons. It has shown that it is the deepest conference in the nation, and constantly has at least one or two teams in the College World Series every year. Last season the South Carolina Gamecocks took home the national title after defeating UCLA.
South Carolina’s victory is the second straight national title for the SEC in baseball. One year before South Carolina shocked the nation, LSU took two games out of three from perennial powerhouse Texas to take home the title. Georgia fell in the CWS the year before that to Fresno State, but the fact that Georgia made the CWS in the first place just supports how dominant the SEC has been the last few years.
The fact that it was three different SEC teams each season in the CWS just proves how deep the SEC is in baseball. Other SEC teams have been just as good in baseball, and when last season ended, the SEC had more teams than any other conference in the Top 30. Arkansas, Florida, and Vanderbilt are all powerhouses in the sport, and are consistently in the running for the SEC crown. All of them even made the Super Regionals last season.
The SEC has by far the most tournament appearances out of all the conferences to date. The SEC has won eight national championships since 1990, including the past two. No other conference can come close to this kind of dominance that the SEC has shown throughout the past 20 years. The league is so deep that nine different teams have played for the CWS.
The SEC even leads in fan attendance, with LSU, Arkansas, and Mississippi State falling numbers 1, 2, and 3 nationally. The SEC brings in the top recruiting class nearly every year as well, ensuring that the conference will be on top for years to come.
SEC Baseball Championship Tournament at Hoover Met/Regions Park. Thanks to bjmillican at flickr.com for the picture.
The rankings for the other conferences are difficult to decide, but this is the way they should fall this season:
Thanks to utsports.com for photos 1 and 9 above. Thanks to ukathletics.com for photos 7 and 8 above. Thanks to BJ Millican at flickr.com/photos/bjmillican for the rest of the pictures. All rights are reserved for these photos.
UK's second baseman turns the double play. Thanks to ukathletics for the photo.
I recently found THE PLACE for pitching machines.
Kentucky baseball player tags home plate. Thanks to ukathletics for the photo.
1. South Carolina - They are the defending national champions, and they will be number one in the SEC until someone can unseat them.
2. Florida Gators - They made it into the College World Series, and they are the defending champions of the SEC in the regular season.
3. LSU Tigers - (Oops, what a disappointment so far this year). They won the SEC Tournament, and they played some great baseball in the postseason. They are number one in fan attendance, and they are a program that almost never has a down year.
4. Arkansas Razorbacks - The Razorbacks have come on strong the past few years, and they look to have really legitimized themselves as perennial contenders for not only the SEC West, but the entire SEC.
5. Alabama Crimson Tide - They lost out in the Super Regionals, but no one even expected them to make it that far. If they can build on that success, they could surprise a few of the traditional powers of the sport next season.
6. Vanderbilt Commodores - (Big surprise on the upside; need to move the Dores up the list). They had a great run at the end of the season, and they should have no problems reloading for this coming season. They have a chance to have a special season in the coming years.
7. Auburn Tigers - They shocked everyone by winning the SEC West last season, and they should get some of their talent back. Unfortunately, Arkansas and LSU will not be so easily snuck up on two years in a row.
8. Ole Miss Rebel Black Bears - Ole Miss is looking to stake its case next season and reclaim its magic from two seasons ago. They will have a tough road ahead of them with Arkansas and LSU in the same division.
9. Georgia Bulldogs - The Bulldogs lost quite a bit of talent from two seasons ago, and it showed in their play last season. They will need to find to go-to guys if they want to become relevant in the conference race again.
10. Kentucky Wildcats - They need some help on both offense and defense, and the SEC is just unforgiving for a mediocre club like this one.
11. Mississippi State - They do not have the talent that it really takes to compete in the West, but they should put up at least some fight in their games.
12. Tennessee Volunteers - The Vols know their strong suit is not baseball, and it shows on the diamond. They need serious help if they are going to ever compete for a league crown.
SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE BASEBALL -- SIMPLY THE BEST!!
SEC Baseball Tournament. Thanks to bjmillican for this photo.
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