by Barca Blog (Photo by Eric SanInocencio, SECsports.com)
HOOVER, Ala. - The first two games of the 2010 SEC Tournament belonged to the lower seeds as No. 7 Alabama dropped No. 2 Auburn 7-1 and No. 6 Ole Miss shutout No. 3 South Carolina 3-0.
Fans jammed Regions Park as early as 8:30 a.m. CT, an hour before first pitch, and ended up setting a new Session 1 attendance record at 12,514, thanks in large part to the buzz around the in-state battle between the Tigers and Tide in the first game of the day.
Alabama pitcher Jimmy Nelson tossed a complete-game for a third straight week, surrendering only one run on five hits while striking out six to send the Tigers, who are making their first tourney appearance since 2003, into the losers' bracket.
The Tide will next face the Rebels, who moved into winners' bracket after ace Drew Pomeranz silenced the Gamecocks in Game 2, throwing seven scoreless innings while striking out seven to earn the win.
Also, it looks like the time modifications to the tournament have had a positive effect so far in reducing the length of games. Game 1 lasted 2 hours and 12 minutes while Game 2 went 2 hours and 39 minutes. Game 3 between No. 1 Florida and No. 8 LSU started at 4:36 p.m. CT. All three games either started on time or ahead of schedule, almost unheard of in my seven years of attending the event.
Game 4 between No. 5 Vanderbilt and No. 4 Arkansas (TV: CSS; Radio: 560 AM) will start 30 minutes after the conclusion of Game 3. Based on the times of the morning session, the contest won't start any earlier than 7:30 p.m. CT. For score updates, visit SECsports.com.