COLUMBIA -- South Carolina did not have to do much scoreboard watching Saturday afternoon. The Gamecocks already knew where they stood, because of their own merits.
A 3-2 victory against Alabama on Saturday in Tuscaloosa delivered USC a number of things: a series victory, the No. 1 seed in next week's Southeastern Conference baseball tournament -- and a share of the conference title, along with Florida and Vanderbilt.
Despite a slew of injuries, including a key one to preseason All-America center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., it's the first time since 2002 that the
Gamecocks (44-12, 22-8 SEC) have won at least a piece of the crown.
They entered and exited the day tied with the Gators (41-15, 22-8) and Commodores (44-9, 22-8), who respectively clobbered Kentucky and Georgia.
USC won head-to-head series with Florida and Vandy, but conference rules say the teams split the regular season title in the case of a tie.
South Carolina, at least, does receive the top seed in next week's event in Hoover, Ala.
The Gamecocks will open the tournament Wednesday with Auburn (29-27, 14-16), a team they won two of three from earlier in the season. The winner of that game will play the Georgia-Vanderbilt winner.
South Carolina is a game ahead of the pace it established for itself a year ago on the way to the national title, when it was 44-13 and 21-9 in the league. In 2010, though, USC lost its final regular season series, to Florida, and both games in the SEC tourney before winning all but one game in the NCAA tourney.
The series win Saturday at Alabama all but locks up a national seed for South Carolina, which could get some consideration for the top spot, depending on how things go next week.
A national seed would be vitally important, because it gives the team a chance to host both the regional and super regional rounds of the NCAAs. USC lost just four regular season games at home all season.
The Gamecocks hosted a regional last season for the first time since 2007. They haven't held a super regional in Columbia since 2004, the last time it had been to Omaha, Neb., prior to last season.