HOOVER, Ala. – Senior designated hitter Sean McMullen launched a two-out, two-run homer in the top of the eighth inning Sunday to lift eighth-ranked LSU to a 2-0 victory over No. 7 Florida in the 2014 SEC Tournament championship game at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
The tournament title was LSU’s second in a row, its fifth in the past seven years and its 11th overall.
LSU (44-14-1) won its eighth-straight game and recorded its 17th shutout of the season, a figure that leads the nation. Florida dropped to 40-21 with Sunday’s loss.
LSU learned later Sunday that it will play host to an NCAA Regional in Alex Box Stadium, Skip Bertman Field. The entire 64-team NCAA Tournament bracket will be announced at 11 a.m. CT Monday in a selection show televised by ESPNU.
“Another thrilling SEC tournament championship; I can tell you this never gets old,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “We just love coming to Hoover. From the hotel, the police escorts, the beautiful ballpark, it is a well-run tournament. The competition is obviously extraordinary. Our players just love it here. They play great. It brings out the best in us.
“I don’t think there is anything bad that happens with winning a championship here because, as I told you yesterday, our players can go to bed and wake up in the morning with the opportunity to win a championship. We hope they have that same experience next weekend.”
The game was scoreless in the top of the eighth inning when LSU freshman leftfielder lined a two-out single against Florida reliever Ryan Harris. Fraley stole second base, and with a 3-2 count on McMullen, the Tigers’ DH unloaded a Harris pitch over the right-centerfield wall for his sixth homer of the season.
“I wasn’t actually feeling any pressure at all,” McMullen said of the at-bat. “I was just looking around, seeing what I’m a part of, all the fans that came to the game. It is such a beautiful facility. I just wanted to soak it in. This was my last game at this field, and I’m very blessed to be a part of this team. I grew up dreaming of playing for the LSU Tigers. For this to happen is surreal.”
LSU senior right-hander Kurt McCune blanked the Gators over the final two innings to earn his fifth save. McCune, starter Alden Cartwright, and relievers Nate Fury and Zac Person combined to limit the Gators to just two hits.
Person (3-1), a junior left-hander, was credited with the win after he retired the side in order in the bottom of the seventh. Harris (3-2) was charged with the loss as he allowed two runs on three hits in two innings with no walks and no strikeouts.
Cartwright worked the first four innings for LSU, allowing just one hit while firing 56 pitches. Florida starter Karsten Whitson was also effective, as he gave up three hits in six innings with three walk and on strikeout.
|NCAA Single-Season Shutouts|
|* season in progress|
P Jared Poche', LSU
P Aaron Nola, LSU; Karsten Whitson, Florida
C Kade Scivicque, LSU; Gavin Collins, Mississippi State
1B Tyler Moore, LSU
2B Conner Hale, LSU
3B Josh Tobias, Florida; Austin Anderson, Ole Miss
SS Alex Bregman, LSU
OF Harrison Bader, Florida
OF Mark Laird, LSU
OF C.T. Bradford, Mississippi State
DH Sean McMullen, LSU
Most Valuable Player
Tyler Moore, LSU
LSU's SEC Tournament MVP's
1986 Jeff Yurtin 3B
1992 Andy Sheets SS
1993 Harry Berrios OF
1994 Russ Johnson SS
2000 Wally Pontiff IF
2008 Blake Dean DH
2009 Mikie Mahtook OF
2010 Austin Nola SS
2013 Chris Cotton P
2014 Tyler Moore 1B
LSU's SEC Tournament Championships
1986 LSU in Baton Rouge, La.
1990* LSU/Mississippi State in Hoover, Ala.
1992 LSU in New Orleans, La.
1993 Western Division - LSU in Baton Rouge, La.
1994 Western Division - LSU in Oxford, Miss.
2000 LSU in Hoover, Ala.
2008 LSU in Hoover, Ala.
2009 LSU in Hoover, Ala.
2010 LSU in Hoover, Ala.
2013 LSU in Hoover, Ala.
2014 LSU in Hoover, Ala.
* LSU and Mississippi State were declared tournament co-champions when lightning and rain ended play in Game 11 with LSU leading 6-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning.
NCAA Regional Host Sites
(bracket, national seeds TBA on Monday, 11 a.m. on ESPN)
2014 SEC Baseball Tournament Bracket
Tuesday, May 20 (single elimination)
Game 1 - #6 Vanderbilt def. #11 Tennessee, 3-2
Game 2 - #7 Arkansas def. #10 Texas A&M, 4-0
Game 3 - #9 Kentucky def. #8 Alabama, 7-1
Game 4 - #5 Mississippi State def. #12 Georgia, 5-4 (10)
Wednesday, May 21 (double elimination)
Game 5 - #3 LSU def. #6 Vanderbilt, 11-1 (7)
Game 6 - #7 Arkansas def. #2 Ole Miss, 2-1
Game 7 - #9 Kentucky def. #1 Florida, 4-2
Game 8 - #5 Mississippi State def. #4 South Carolina, 12-0 (7)
Thursday, May 22
Game 9 - #2 Ole Miss def. #6 Vanderbilt, 7-2
Game 10 - #1 Florida def. #4 South Carolina, 7-2
Game 11 - #3 LSU def. #7 Arkansas, 7-2
Game 12 - #9 Kentucky def. #5 Mississippi State, 7-6 (12)
Friday, May 23
Game 13 - #7 Arkansas def. #2 Ole Miss, 8-7
Game 14 - #1 Florida def. #5 Mississippi State, 5-1
Saturday, May 24 (single elimination)
Game 15 - #3 LSU def. #7 Arkansas, 11-1 (8)
Game 16 - #1 Florida def. #9 Kentucky, 6-5
Sunday, May 25
Game 17 - #3 LSU def. #1 Florida, 2-0