Commissioner Mike Slive announced Friday that the SEC Baseball Tournament field expands to a full dozen teams. Last season was the first and now only year for a ten-team format. But expansion of the league membership is now leading to addition of two more participants, which forces adjustments to the format.
The '13 Tournament remains at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, which has been a smashing success as a venue since the first event played there in 1990. And the event will stay at six days and 17 total games, same as in 2012. The major change is seeds five through 12 will all play a single-elimination round on the first day.
The next three days will be double elmination, before resuming single elimination for the semifinals and finals on Saturday and Sunday.
The qualifying dozen teams, out of the SEC's current membership of 14 schools, will be seeded 1-through-12 but with the respective Divisional champions and next two top-finishing overall teams receiving first-round byes. These teams could possibly earn a later bye in the tournament by staying in the winner's brackets.
All seedings 3-through-12 are still based on conference winning percentage.
After sticking at a eight-team, double-elimination format from 1996 through 2011, the conference expanded to ten teams last season with double-elimination for the first four days. Mississippi State made history by winning this revised event, and doing so by playing all six days. The Bulldogs defeated Vanderbilt in the championship game, earning their seventh outright or shared SEC Tourney title since the league went to a tournament format in 1977.
The 2013 SEC Tournament is to be played May 21-26. Tickets go on sale in February.