The Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament is set to return to Hoover Metropolitan Stadium to play host to one of the premier conference tournaments in all of college baseball.
The 2023 SEC Baseball Tournament is bound to provide six days of top-level baseball featuring some of the premier athletes in all of college baseball as eight of the 12 SEC teams competing in the tournament are ranked in the top 25 in the D1 Baseball rankings to conclude the regular season.
While the Florida Gators grabbed the top seed in the 2023 SEC Tournament to receive a first-round bye, two teams that are surging with the possibility to make a deep run in the tournament are the two in-state schools Alabama and Auburn.
Since the firing of former Alabama Head Baseball Coach Brad Bohannon on May 4 following a suspicious gambling scandal, the Crimson Tide has played some of its best baseball this season down the stretch as they went 8-2 to finish the regular season under interim head coach Jason Jackson. The Crimson Tide locked up the No. 9 seed in the SEC Tournament where they will face No. 8 seed Kentucky on Tuesday, May 23 at 4:30 p.m. central in the single elimination round of the tournament. The 8-2 run included series wins over Vanderbilt, Texas A&M, and Ole Miss and a return to the D1 Baseball top 25 rankings at No. 24. At 16-14 in conference play, the Crimson Tide finished with a winning SEC record for the first time since the 2014 season.
Across the state in Auburn, the Tigers have arguably been the SEC’s hottest baseball team finishing the regular season on an eight-game SEC win streak which is the program’s longest in SEC play since 1995.
After beginning 5-10 in SEC play, Auburn has won 12 of its last 15 SEC games in the second half of the season to finish with a 17-13 record in SEC play to lock up the No. 5 seed in the SEC Tournament. The Tigers finished the regular season winning five-straight SEC series defeating Mississippi State, South Carolina, LSU, Ole Miss, and Missouri and now sit at No. 19 in the D1 Baseball top 25 rankings.
Last weekend, Auburn swept the Missouri Tigers in a three-game series at home to conclude the regular season but as fate would have it, Auburn and Missouri will square off again on Tuesday, May 23 in the single elimination round of the tournament for a fourth straight game as Auburn earned the No. 5 seed and Missouri grabbed the final spot in the tournament as the No. 12 seed. The first pitch will follow the conclusion of the Alabama-Kentucky game later in the evening.
As for the bigger picture, both Alabama and Auburn are in great shape to grab one of the 16 spots to host an NCAA Regional once the NCAA Tournament begins following the SEC Tournament. However, both teams are playing in the single elimination round of the SEC Tournament on May 23 so a loss to go one and done would slightly hinder their chances of hosting a regional.
Should Alabama defeat Kentucky, they will meet No. 1 seed Florida on Wednesday, May 24 at 4:30 p.m. in the double-elimination part of the tournament. If Auburn defeats Missouri, the Tigers would meet No. 4 seed Vanderbilt in the late game on May 24.
For Alabama and Auburn fans interested in purchasing tickets for the games on May 23, the tickets are sold in two separate sessions with both Alabama and Auburn playing in session two. One general admission ticket will grant access to both games. Session one games on May 23 will feature South Carolina-Georgia followed by Tennessee-Texas A&M.
For fans looking to do something in Hoover around the Met before the first pitch, there are a variety of options with two being within walking distance of the ballpark. Right next to the Met is the Finley Center, a 155,000-square-foot entertainment facility that opened in 2017. The indoor space serves as a fan fest-type atmosphere complete with games for kids and plenty more.
For fans 21 and older, Brock’s Gap Brewing Company will be open all week to provide baseball fans with a pint to cool off. Directly adjacent to the Met, Brock’s Gap Brewing opened as Hoover’s first brewery where they serve a variety of beers including the “Going, Going Blonde Blonde Ale,” “Hopnoculum East Coast Hazy IPA” “The Gamer American Lager” and plenty more.
For more information on the 2023 SEC Baseball Tournament and to purchase tickets, click here.