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Florida outlasts Vanderbilt, rain to win 2015 SEC Tournament

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After a marathon to begin the 2015 SEC Tournament, Florida rattled off four wins in four days to claim the conference's crown.

Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

Florida began the 2015 SEC Tournament with a game that lasted past 2 a.m. Eastern, and finished it with a game that finished more than six hours after it began.

And the Gators also finished it with a trophy.

Florida began Sunday's SEC Tournament final with Vanderbilt with some thunder from Harrison Bader in the form of a leadoff home run, poured on four more runs before multiple weather delays eventually forced the resumption of the game under the lights, and finished as the reigning conference champions, thanks to their 7-3 win.

Bader scored two runs, Buddy Reed went 3-for-4, and four other Florida batters had at least two hits, as the Gators staged an assault on the dregs of Vanderbilt's fine pitching staff, rapping out 14 hits on the evening. Freshman Jeremy Vasquez had two RBI for Kevin O'Sullivan's side, and only one starter, Richie Martin, failed to record a hit.

And on the mound, Florida was nearly as good, at least after Eric Hanhold yielded to Aaron Rhodes after the longest rain delay. Hanhold gave up two earned runs in 2.1 innings, but the four relievers O'Sullivan used after his departure combined to strike out 10 men and allow just four hits. Best among them? Danny Young, who gave up just two hits in 3.1 innings, and Kirby Snead, who fanned three Commodores while recording the game's final five outs.

The title is Florida's seventh SEC Tournament crown, and first since 2011. And as it comes as the culmination of a four-game tear through the SEC, including wins over the teams that won both divisions in the league this year, it certainly strengthens the Gators' argument for earning one of the top national seeds in the 2015 NCAA Tournament.

But the Gators will have to wait and see on that count: They will watch the NCAA Tournament selection show tomorrow, as they bus back from Hoover.

The last SEC championship trophy ever awarded by outgoing SEC Commissioner Mike Slive will be in tow.