Alabama Vs. LSU For SEC Crown

Eight Is Great. Alabama won its eighth consecutive game Saturday, a 5-2, seven-inning victory over Southeastern Conference regular season champion Florida at the SEC Baseball Tournament in Hoover. That means the Crimson Tide is advancing to the SEC Championship Game for the eighth time.

This will be Alabama's first appearance in the SEC Championship Game since 2003. The Crimson Tide's previous championship game appearances came in 1983, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2002 and 2003.

Bama has enjoyed its trips to the championship contest. Alabama is 7-0 in its previous seven title game appearances, with three wins coming against LSU–1995, 1997 and 2003.

Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard becomes the only first-year head coach to lead his team to a berth in the SEC Championship game since the tournament switched to the Omaha style bracket in 1996.

The fourth Alabama-LSU meeting was not expected, at least not based on this year's regular season performances. Both Bama and the Tigers slipped into the tournament on the final weekend, Bama with the seventh seed and LSU with the eighth seed in the eight-team tournament.

This will be the first ever championship game pitting the tournament's seventh seeded team against the eighth seeded team.

On the other hand, it might have been expected since LSU and Alabama have sone more tournament championships than any other team. Following Sunday's game, the two will have combined for half the victories in the tournament. LSU has won nine championships and Alabama seven in the 33 previous events.

The teams will meet at 1 p.m. Sunday at Regions Park in Hoover near Birmingham. The SEC is advising that a very large crowd is expected and fans are urged to arrive as early as possible. Gates open at 11 a.m.

The SEC Championship Game will be nationally televised on ESPN2, the first time in history the SEC title game has been nationally televised.

In the tournament thus far, Alabama has knocked off regular season West Division champion and No. 2 seed Auburn, Ole Miss, and SEC regular season champion and number one seed Florida. Florida is ranked fourth in the nation.

With the win Saturday, Alabama improved its record to 37-21. Alabama was 2-2 against Florida this year. The Gators record fell to 42-15.

Florida has lost l0 of its 17 games against Alabama in the SEC Tournament. Florida hasn't made the Championship game since 2000 when they lost to LSU 9-6.

Sophomore left-hander Adam Morgan tossed his first complete game of the season and second of his UA career on Saturday against Florida. Morgan held the Gators to two runs on six hits with four strikeouts and no walks. Morgan's only other complete game, also a seven-inning affair, came on the final day of the 2009 regular season at Auburn.

Morgan's gem is the fifth complete game by an Alabama pitcher in the last eight games. Junior RHP Jimmy Nelson has three complete games against Mississippi (May 15), Tennessee (May 20) and Auburn (May 26). Junior RHP Nathan Kilcrease recorded his first career complete game against Mississippi on May 16. He pitched into the ninth inning in starts (and Bama wins) at Tennessee (May 21) and against Mississippi (May 26).

The win was Morgan's first since he defeated Auburn on April 2.

Alabama scored four of the five runs against Florida with two outs and has scored 12 of its 18 runs in the tournament with two outs. The Tide scored all seven runs with two outs in its 7-1 win over Auburn in the opener on Wednesday.

Junior shortstop Josh Rutledge had two hits and two RBI in the win over Florida and leads UA with 32 multi-hit games this season. Senior third baseman Jake Smith had two hits and two RBI in the win over Florida, including a two-run single in the third inning to the put the Tide in front 5-0. Sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas was 1-for-2 with one hit by pitch and one run scored and has now reached base safely in 46 consecutive games.

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