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SEC flexes its muscle in baseball regionals

Just when you thought the Southeastern Conference was mediocre at best when it comes to college baseball, five of the nine SEC teams in regional tournaments across the country showed just how strong baseball is in the South.

Auburn, which was blanked 3-0 in March by South Alabama in a regular-season matchup, hammered the Jaguars 13-5 in Tallahassee to advance to tonight's matchup more than likely with Florida State.

The Tigers were considered the weak-sister of the conference considering that they didn't even qualify for the conference tournament.

But Auburn certainly didn't look weak on Friday. The Tigers jumped out to a 7-1 lead and didn't look back.

Playing in the Atlanta Regional, South Carolina looked to be the first SEC team to taste defeat in the regionals, but broke a 5-all tie in the bottom of the ninth to score the game-winning run to beat Michigan.

LSU got the biggest scare of the afternoon on Friday when it fell into a 4-0 hole in the top half of the first inning to Marist in Baton Rouge, La. The Tigers cut Marist's lead in half after the opening inning and then rolled to a 14-5 victory.

Mississippi State and Arkansas also cruised to wins in their opening-round games.

Although these were just first-round results, it may set the tone for an interesting college tournament.

All of the teams could survive to move on to the super regionals. From there, the sky could be the limit as to how many teams could qualify for the trip to Omaha, Neb.

There is no doubt that Texas and Cal State Fullerton are locks to make it to Omaha, but the SEC could throw a huge monkey wrench in the plans of those who traditionally go to Omaha like Florida State, Miami and Georgia Tech.

The weak-sister of the SEC - Auburn - was 2-2 against Florida State and Georgia Tech. So if the SEC's weak-sister can knock those two teams off then, you could see an all-SEC national championship game in Omaha.

Or better yet, maybe the preview to the national championship game was played just a few weeks ago at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium - site of the SEC Tournament.

Kevin Taylor is sports editor of The Greenville Advocate. You may e-mail him at kevin.taylor@greenvilleadvocate.com or call (334) 383-9302 ext. 122.