Around the Hoover Met: Day One

HOOVER – All the Dr. Pepper you can drink and all of the Golden Flake snacks you can stomach; there must be some sort of SEC Championship going on. Georgia is the number two seed in this year's SEC Baseball Tournament. Here are a few news and notes from around the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium and Georgia's first day of competition at the SECs.

The SEC was optimistic about the crowd that was going to be at Session 1 of the Tournament. However, without local teams Alabama and Auburn, and without traditional western power Mississippi State making it to Hoover this season, tickets sales were down tremendously.

The crowd was sparse at best.

Session 1, which featured the Georgia-Vanderbilt and Florida-LSU games, was less full than Session 2; due mainly to Ole Miss, the closest school to the event, playing their game at night.

"I would guess that there are about 3,000 people here," said one official about the crowd during the morning session. The parking lot over the left field wall was about 20% full for Session 2.

Last season the event averaged over 9,415 but Alabama won the tournament championship.

"This will be a real test for college baseball fans in the Birmingham area," said one official.

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The Florida-LSU game went so far over its allotted time limit that the Vandy-Georgia game was pushed back an hour after the time that it was supposed to start. The Tigers' loss to Florida was their first opening game loss of the SEC Tournament in five years.

David Perno, who's Dawgs lost in less than two hours, joked: "At least we got the Tournament back on time."

Not for long, however, as the South Carolina-Ole Miss game went several minutes over its scheduled time.

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Back and Forth:

The South Carolina-Ole Miss game started as a pitching duel. But even though both starting pitchers were throwing no hitters, the Gamecocks took a one-run lead after a Gamecock walked, stolen a base, and scored on a wild pitch.

The Rebels blew the game open in the 6th, however, with 6 runs; or should I say that South Carolina blew it. The Cocks committed 3 errors in that frame. That was all the Rebels needed to take a 6-2 lead.

The seesaw affair was not done, however, because Carolina responded in their half of the 9th with 4 runs.

One beat writer put the happenings of the game this way when he called his editor: "Yeah, the Confederates were 6 outs away from losing a NCAA regional and then the Chickens laid three eggs and now Ole Miss is up 6-2." He made a phone call a few minutes later saying: "You know that the Chickens tied it up, don't you?"

That writer wrote his story three times that night; the first with Carolina winning a pitching duel, the second with the Rebels coming back to win, and the final one with South Carolina advancing with a 7-6 win.

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Football chatter:

The SEC Baseball Tournament allows beat writers to get together and talk about the upcoming football season. I overheard and spoke with several media-types and here is what they had to say about the respective teams that they cover:

LSU – "It will be interesting to see what the fans do after Nick Saban loses his first game. It will be even more interesting to see what they do after LSU loses a few more." – He said indicating that LSU will lose at least two games.

South Carolina – Lou Holtz has declared that Syvelle Newton is a quarterback and that he will rotate at that spot with incumbent starter Dondrell Pinkins. Carolina is happy with Georgia native Blake Mitchell's progression but they think that he is not ready to take over at that spot yet.

Ole Miss – The Rebel mascot is no longer a big issue as far as the University administration is concerned. "He's deader than dead," said one beat writer about the matter. The former mascot will not be back in the future according to the Mississippi Press Corp.


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