COLUMBIA, S.C. – LSU won the Southeastern Conference championship Saturday before even playing a game.

Alabama upset Vanderbilt before LSU’s game against South Carolina started Saturday, delivering the Tigers a 16th SEC regular season crown in program history. The Commodores had to sweep the series against the Crimson Tide and have LSU lose the series finale against the Gamecocks to win the SEC title over the Tigers, 45-9 and 20-8 in the SEC heading into Saturday’s game.

LSU and South Carolina were scheduled to play at 7 p.m. (CT) Saturday.

LSU (45-9, 20-8) will be the No. 1 seed in the SEC tournament and will play at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday against Tuesday’s No. 8-9 seed winner. Coach Paul Mainieri’s team’s locked up the SEC Western Division title with a 9-2 win over South Carolina in the Game 2 on Friday night.

The Tigers lost 10-7 in the series opener Thursday.

LSU won the SEC title for the third time in Mainieri’s nine seasons, claiming the championship each third year under the coach (2009, 2012, 2015). LSU has won the SEC title in 1943, 46, 61, 75, 86, 90, 91, 92, 93, 96, 97 and 2003.

The Tigers had just completed batting practice when Alabama pulled a 1-0 upset over Vanderbilt – a game that ended at 6:17 p.m. (CT).

LSU players and coaches hugged and shared high-fives on the field as news seeped out that the Tigers had claimed the league title. Paul Mainieri’s son, Tommy, rushed from the dugout to give his father a hug, and pitching coach Alan Dunn and Mainieri shared high-fives.

Players bounced around briefly in a circle before taking infield and outfield drills. A few staff members were seen on the phone, including Mainieri, who talked for several minutes with someone about 30 minutes before the game was set to began.

Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @DellengerAdv.