Tommy Lopez

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SEC Baseball To Begin Newly-Formatted Tournament

The 2013 SEC baseball tournament begins Tuesday. Games return to Hoover, Ala. for the 16th-straight year. This season, however, there number of teams has expanded to 12 and games will be played under a new format.

The top four teams receive a first-round bye: Vanderbilt, LSU, Arkansas and South Carolina. Vanderbilt earns the No. 1 seed as the division champion with the highest overall winning percentage. LSU is the No. 2 seed as the other division champion. Seeds three and lower are determined by conference record and are not separated by division.

The first-round games will be single-elimination style and the teams that advance will follow a double-elimination format. The first-round, single-elimination games return to the Tournament for the first time since 1997.

Mississippi State earns the No. 5 seed after winning two of three games against South Carolina this weekend. The Bulldogs play No. 12 Missouri Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium. State would play No. 4 South Carolina Wednesday with a win.

Ole Miss moves up to the No. 6 after avoiding a sweep at LSU Saturday. The Rebels matchup with No. 11 Kentucky Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. If the Rebels advance, they’ll play No. 3 Arkansas Wednesday.

Alabama managed to take one game from Vanderbilt in the Tide’s weekend series. Alabama faces rival Auburn at noon Tuesday. The Crimson Tide would play No. 2 LSU Wednesday if they win.

Vanderbilt enters as many experts’ favorite to win it all. Vanderbilt won a record 26 SEC games, breaking the South Carolina’s 25 wins in 2000. The Commodores lead the SEC in batting average and Tony Kemp leads the conference himself in hitting.