It was the rare lose-but-still-make-it-anyway scenario following Thursday night's game for South Carolina baseball.
The Gamecocks (27-27, 13-17 SEC) entered the final weekend of the regular season at Florida needing either a win or a Mississippi State loss to extend its SEC-leading active streak of making the conference tournament to 25.
The Gamecocks dropped the series opener Thursday, 14-5, and with how strange their season has unfolded, it was fitting for them to clinch a conference berth after that defeat. No. 1-ranked Tennessee rocked Mississippi State on Thursday, 27-2, gift wrapping a spot in the league tournament to USC.
More USC baseball coverage
How Gamecocks fared against No. 1: No. 1 Texas baseball outlasts South Carolina in series opener
South Carolina-Clemson baseball: Takeaways from Clemson baseball's series-clinching 10-2 win against South Carolina
South Carolina went on the lose the series to Florida (35-20, 15-15), which took the first two games of the set at Condron Family Park. The Gamecocks won the final game Saturday, 4-1.
In another odd twist of fate, the Gamecocks will meet the Gators in the first round of the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Alabama.
USC will be the No. 10 seed and will face No. 7 seed Florida (36-18, 15-15) in an elimination game Tuesday (2 p.m., SEC Network). At this point, the Gamecocks need to pull off the improbable and win the SEC Tournament to get into the NCAA Tournament field of 64.
South Carolina dodges top-seeded Tennessee on its side of the bracket and is in the half with No. 2 Texas A&M and No. 3 Arkansas. If South Carolina knocks off Florida, it'll meet the Aggies (35-17, 19-11) in the second round on Wednesday.
Texas A&M took the season series against the Gamecocks in College Station, 2-1, with A&M outscoring USC 33-25 the first weekend in May.
Filling out the remainder of South Carolina's side of the bracket is No. 6 Georgia (35-20, 15-15) and No. 11 Alabama (29-25, 12-15).
Over the years, The Met has not been a kind venue to the Gamecocks. USC has won the tournament only once (2004), and has won just 29 games in 28 appearances.
Cory Diaz covers the South Carolina Gamecocks for The Greenville News as part of the USA TODAY Network. Follow his work for all things Gamecocks on Twitter: @CoryDiaz_TGN. Got questions regarding South Carolina athletics? Send them to Cory Diaz at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on Greenville News: South Carolina baseball clinches SEC Tournament berth