By the time you are reading this, my wife Kayla, our oldest son Preston and I will be in Monroe, La., for an AAU basketball tournament.

Guru Nichols

Guru Nichols

If you are not quite sure about the newest 6-foot-7 addition to our family, then feel free to email me at jjnichols24@gmail.com and I will explain.

Also, by the time this is in black and white print, there will be four teams left in the SEC baseball tournament in Hoover, Ala. And, as of this writing, it has been a wild, wild tourney so far.

Mississippi State lost a heartbreaker 1-0 to Vanderbilt on Thursday night in a battle of two of the top-ranked teams in the country. Vandy gets Friday off, while State was set to play LSU Friday night.

On Wednesday night, the Tigers and Dawgs got under way with the first pitch at 8:20 and the winning run for MSU crossing home plate at 3:03 Thursday morning.

It was the longest game (time wise) in SEC history. 

MSU had multiple chances to score the winning run over the last nine innings of the game, but the LSU bullpen was able to cut them down until the bottom of the 17th inning.

A wild pitch allowed State to get the winning run 90 feet away from scoring and, after 6 hours, 43 minutes of play, another wild pitch allowed the Dawgs to walk off the Tigers in a game that was witnessed by several thousand die-hard fans.

I hung with the game until the 14th inning started, but knew that I needed to go to bed in order to be able to make it to work at a decent time on Thursday.

The loss by LSU knocked the Tigers into the losers’ bracket of the tourney and a date with Auburn in a win-or-go-home game on Thursday afternoon.

The Tigers and Tigers started around 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, and it ended up being an even more wild finish for LSU than the game it finished just nine hours and change before starting its third game in Hoover.

LSU took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning and that stood until Auburn pushed across pair of runs in the top of the seventh. However, LSU scored in the bottom of the frame to tie the game at 2-2.

Auburn scored another run in the top of the eighth inning to maintain a 3-2 advantage that the Tigers from the Plains would take into the bottom of the ninth inning.

Then utter insanity ensued.

LSU led off with a base hit. The next batter hit a ball in between a pair of Auburn outfielders, and when the dust settled, LSU had runners on second and third with nobody out.

The third batter of the inning smashed a ball right at Auburn’s left fielder, who made the catch and kept both runners at bay.

Then … it happened.

LSU’s fourth batter of the inning swung at a curve ball in the dirt, but the Auburn catcher could not find the ball and actually kicked it toward the first-base dugout, which allowed LSU’s runner on third base to come down the line and score the tying run. The ball that got away from the catcher was picked up by Auburn’s sliding first baseman, who then tried to throw the ball back to the catcher. The throw sailed over the catcher’s head toward the third-base dugout, which allowed LSU’s runner from second base to come all the way to score the game-winning run on a head-first slide.

I have watched a ton of college and pro baseball in my lifetime … but I have never, ever seen a game won on such a crazy set of circumstances.

LSU has a knack for finding weird ways to win baseball games this time of year. Ask Arkansas fans about the opossum. 

With the win, LSU was able to stay in Hoover for another day, but that stay could be over by the time you read this. If not, then who knows what might happen this weekend at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.

That is one of the things that makes the SEC baseball tourney one of the Top 5 sporting events in all of sports to me.

The College Football Playoff is good, but it needs more teams.

March Madness (A.K.A. the men’s NCAA basketball tourney) is the greatest tourney in sports.

The College World Series and the Super Regionals that lead up to it are also in my Top 5.

And then there is the SEC tourney in Hoover.

Already in this tourney, there have been four walk-off wins and, coming into the State-Vandy game (the 12th game of the tourney), only one game has been decided by more than two runs. That should make for a very interesting final three days of the tourney.

As of today (Saturday), there are only three games left in the tourney, and who knows what will happen? It’s probably a safe bet that Sunday’s championship game will be a close-knit affair and don’t be the least bit surprised if the game goes into extra innings and ends with a walk-off winner.

Guru Nichols is former sports editor of the Leader-Call.

 

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