DANVILLE, Ky. - The Birmingham-Southern Panthers have finished the regular season in first place thanks to a 9-7 win over Centre College in the second game of today's double-header.
The Panthers used a steady stream of runs to stay ahead of the Colonels in game two, and corrected the defensive miscues that sank them in game one. BSC scored runs in the second, third, forth, eighth, and ninth innings with 13 hits while committing just one error. Centre out hit the Panthers with 16, but they posted five errors on the board, three of which resulted directly in Panther runs.
#Brian Higginbotham# was the first to capitalize on the Colonels errors in the second. He scored the first Panther run off a single down the line from #Josh Whitaker#, but he reached base thanks to an error on the third basemen after the first two Panthers to come to the plate came up empty. #Patrick Kimmons# scored on the same hit from Whitaker to give the Panthers the early 2-0 lead.
#Sam Hill# smashed a long ball to right center in the third to keep the Panthers up 3-1. Higginbotham, again, benefitted from a Colonel error in the fourth to score the first of BSC's three in that inining. #Drew Leachman# drove in the other two with a double to left field that scored #J.D. Hulse# and Whitaker. The Panthers held a 6-1 advantage going into the fifth.
The Colonels answered in the following two innings, scoring six runs over the frames, to take the lead from BSC going into the seventh, 7-6. The Panthers, however, were able to retake the lead for good in the top of the eighth. #Darby Weppner# led off the inning with a single to left and was driven in by another single by #Patrick Kimmons# to the same spot three batters later. Higginbotham scored from second off a Hulse single to center before the Colonels could get the third out in the inning.
The Panthers pitchers held the line from there, keeping the Colonels scoreless over the final three innings to seal the win and the championship for 'Southern. #Frank Mullens# and #David Chabucos# were able to combine for three scoreless innings, allowing just four hits apiece.
#Drew Crofton# collected the win in the start, going five and two-thirds innings allowing eight hits and striking out five.
The Panthers finished SCAC-East play with a 10-5 record, a half-game ahead of DePauw. The Tigers swept the Oglethorpe Petrels over the weekend to force the Panthers to win to maintain their lead. Since BSC is still ineligible for post-season play, DePauw will take the number one seed into next week's SCAC tournament in Jackson, Mississippi.
The Panthers finish the season with a four-game series at Greensboro College starting next Friday. Game one is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.