By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
HOOVER, Ala. – It was a week of firsts for the Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament this weekend at Regions Park in Hoover.
The tournament – the 15th consecutive to be held in Hoover – featured a new format and welcomed 10 teams to the SEC Baseball Tournament. What resulted was a new record-high in total attendance with 129,112 fans passing through the turnstiles over the course of the week, including 12,526 for Sunday’s championship game.
Sunday’s attendance figure marked the largest attended game in tournament history not involving nearby Alabama. It was the fourth-largest championship game attendance in tournament history and the eight-best attended game in tournament history.
For head coach John Cohen and Mississippi State, which played six games in six days en route to the tournament title, the crowd made an important difference.
“What our Mississippi State Bulldog family did today for our players is amazing,” Cohen said. “We are in an economy where it is tough to fill up the gas tank. It is tough to get a hotel room. It is tough to be away from home. I want to thank those folks. If you ask these guys, it makes a huge difference.”
Mississippi State went 5-1 on the tournament, which matched an SEC Tournament record for most wins in a single tournament and the Bulldogs’ six games played also tied a tournament high. Vanderbilt became just the third team to be shut out in the SEC Championship Game and the first to be held scoreless in the championship game in consecutive years.
What other firsts did we see along the way in Hoover this year? Consider these:
• Vanderbilt’s impressive triple steal play on Saturday that made SportsCenter’s top-10 plays.
• The Commodores stole six bases in the ninth inning in Saturday’s semifinal game and finished the game with an SEC Tournament record seven steals.
• LSU and Mississippi State played in the tournament’s first extra-inning game since 2010 and just the 13th extra-inning game in SEC Tournament history. For the Bulldogs, who won the game, it was their first extra-inning affair since 1996.
• LSU tallied 11 runs in its win against Ole Miss on Thursday, marking the most runs scored by a single team in the SEC Tournament since LSU tallied 16 against Georgia in 2009.
The NCAA Baseball Selection Show will take place at 11 a.m. Monday when the entire 64-team NCAA regional tournament field is announced on ESPNU.
2012 Attendance Figures
Session 1: 5,489
Session 2: 7,145
Session 3: 7,019
Session 4: 6,860
Session 5: 6,798
Session 6: 6,672
Session 7: 9,067
Session 8: 9,243
Session 9: 12,526
Total Attendance: 129,112 (New Record High)
Average Per Game: 7,595
Average Per Session: 8,103