Athens, GA - Georgia will face 20th-ranked Mississippi State in the first round of the SEC Baseball Tournament Tuesday night at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium on CSS-TV in Hoover, Ala. The game will follow the Alabama-Kentucky contest that is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m ET (CSS-TV).
Georgia (26-28-1, 11-18-1 SEC), under the direction of coach Scott Stricklin, earned the final spot in the 12-team field after defeating Kentucky 11-10 Saturday in Athens. Mississippi State (35-20, 18-12 SEC) is the fifth seed after winning two of three against 19th-ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa this past weekend. MSU plans to start left-hander Lucas Laster (0-0, 1.52 ERA) while Georgia has not announced a starter.
Georgia will be making its 21st all-time appearance at the SEC Tournament where it is 28-40. Georgia is 4-7 against MSU at the SEC Tournament. Georgia last played in the SEC Tournament in 2012 when it went 0-2. Georgia opened the 2014 SEC season by playing host to then 24th-ranked MSU, and the Bulldogs of MSU claimed the series 2-1. Georgia claimed the opener 7-1 on March 14 at Foley Field, and then due to weather, the teams played a doubleheader the next day and MSU swept it, posting 6-1 and 4-1 decisions. Georgia’s best finish at the SEC Tournament is second, coming in 1985, 1986 and 1989.
The first day of the SEC Tournament is single elimination and also features No. 6 seed Vanderbilt versus #11 seed Tennessee at 10:30 a.m. ET (SportSouth-TV) followed by #7 seed Arkansas versus #10 seed Texas A&M (SportSouth-TV). Then, the #8 seed Alabama battles #9 seed Kentucky at 5:30 p.m. (CSS-TV). The top four seeds earn first round byes and will be in action Wednesday when the tournament switches to a double-elimination format. Overall, the tournament features the divisional champions (Florida and Ole Miss) plus 10 at-large teams based on conference winning percentage. The teams are seeded 1-12 with the divisional champions the top two seeds.
Junior third baseman Hunter Cole (.327-3-30) and junior shortstop Nelson Ward (302-2-34) have led the Georgia offense this season. Junior left fielder Conor Welton (.284-1-17) enters the SEC Tournament on a nine-game hitting streak. Overall, Georgia is batting .256 with a 4.33 team ERA and a .967 fielding percentage including turning 53 double plays.