No. 9 Panthers go 2-0 on opening day

BSC vs. Schreiner | BSC vs. Trinity

SAN ANTONIO, Texas—
The ninth-ranked Birmingham-Southern baseball team opened the 2011 season today in San Antonio, defeating Schreiner University, 13-10, and No. 19 Trinity University, 10-9.

In the first game against Schreiner, the Mountaineers scored single runs in the bottom of the first and second to go up 2-0 before the Panthers finally got on the board in the top of the fifth on a home run by senior Sam Hill.

Schreiner responded with two more runs in the bottom of the fifth, expanding the lead to 4-1, but the Panthers scored two runs of their own in the top of the sixth, this time on an RBI triple by junior Jon Walker and an RBI ground-out from junior Jacob Plagens.

The Mountaineers added another run in the bottom of the sixth, but BSC finally took over the lead in the top of the seventh, scoring three runs: an RBI double from senior Bryan Higginbotham, a Higginbotham run scored on a passed ball, and a Walker run scored on a Schreiner error. This put BSC up 6-5.

The Panthers scored three more times in the top of the eighth, with Higginbotham scoring on another error by the Mountaineers and two runs scoring on an RBI triple from senior JD Hulse.

With BSC leading 9-5, Schreiner took back the lead in the bottom of the eighth with five runs, but the Panthers rallied in the top of the ninth with four more runs – a sacrifice fly-out by sophomore Bruce Maxwell, an RBI double from Walker, and RBI singles from Plagens and Hulse. The Panthers held Schreiner scoreless in the bottom of the ninth for the 13-10 victory.

Senior Clay Jones picked up the win on the mound for BSC, pitching 1.2 innings with two strikeouts.

Both teams tallied 15 hits each; Walker led BSC going 3-of-4 at the plate, and Hulse led with three RBI.

In the nightcap against the host Tigers, BSC scored two runs right off the bat in the top of the first as senior Drew Leachman scored on an error and Higginbotham recorded an RBI single. In the top of the second, the Panthers went up 3-0 when Hulse scored on another Trinity error.

The Tigers tied things up in the bottom of the third with three runs, but BSC responded in the top of the fourth with two more runs, this time on RBI singles by senior Brandon Ricco and Walker.

Trinity cut the BSC lead to 5-4 in the bottom of the fourth, but BSC responded again with two runs in the top of the fifth on RBI singles from Leachman and Hill, putting the Panthers up 7-4.

Neither team would score again until the seventh, when the Panthers added two more runs when sophomore John Lawroski scored on a wild pitch and Ricco recorded another RBI single. Trinity scored a single run in the bottom of the seventh, bringing the score to 9-5, and BSC also scored a single run in the top of the ninth on a Hulse home run.

Trinity tried to rally in the bottom of the ninth, scoring four runs to cut the Panthers’ lead to 10-9 but ultimately falling short.

Senior Clay Malcolm was the winning pitcher for BSC after throwing five innings with three strikeouts.

Each team had 12 hits, with Leachman leading BSC after going 3-of-6 at the plate.

BSC faces Trinity again tomorrow at noon.