The Southeastern Conference has altered the format and expanded the field for its annual baseball tournament, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive announced today.
The 2013 SEC Baseball Tournament, which will be held in Hoover, Ala., at the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium for the 16th consecutive year, will increase from 10 to 12 teams and will begin on Tuesday, May 21. Seeds 5-12 will meet in a single elimination format on the opening day of the tournament, followed by traditional double-elimination play Wednesday-Friday. The tournament will return to single elimination play on Saturday. The total number of games played will not change, remaining at 17.
The 12 teams are seeded 1-12 with the two divisional champions and top four seeds guaranteed opening-round byes, with the possibility of earning another bye later in the bracket. The tournament field will include the top teams from the SEC's Eastern and Western Divisions plus 10 at-large bids seeded 3-12 based on conference winning percentage.
A team from the SEC Tournament has advanced to five consecutive National Championship Series in Omaha, winning three NCAA titles during that span (LSU 2009; South Carolina 2010 and 2011). Over 100 first-round picks in the Major League Baseball Draft have played in SEC Tournament since 1991.
Tickets for the 2013 SEC Baseball Tournament will go on sale in February.
The 2012 SEC Baseball Tournament drew 129,112 fans to The Hoover Met, a new record-high for the event. Seven times in the last 10 years the tournament has surpassed the six-digit mark in total attendance. The SEC is scheduled to keep its baseball tournament in Hoover through 2016.