February 17, 2012

No. 23 Panthers split on first day of Methodist Tournament

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.—The 23rd-ranked Birmingham-Southern baseball team split today on the first day of the Methodist University Tournament, falling to Lynchburg 7-4 but defeating the host Monarchs 10-5.

The Panthers move to 1-3 on the season, and will face Frostburg State tomorrow at 2 p.m. Eastern.

Against Lynchburg, the score was tied 2-2 after three innings, courtesy of a two-run double from Bruce Maxwell in the bottom of the third. The Hornets pulled ahead 4-2 in the top of the fourth, and BSC cut it to 4-3 in the bottom of the sixth on an RBI single from Jeremy Hatley. Lynchburg scored again in the top of the seventh to go back up 5-3, but the Panthers added another single run in the bottom of the seventh on an RBI from Stephen Denton. The Hornets scored twice in the top of the eighth to go up 7-4 for the eventual win.

Lynchburg led the hit count, 9-7; Denton led BSC with two hits. Jesse Meier started on the mound and took the loss, throwing five innings and giving up six hits and one earned run with five strikeouts. Ralls Pennington, David Bourbonnais, and Ryan Hawks all also saw action on the mound.

In the nightcap against the host Monarchs, Methodist went up 2-0 in the bottom of the first before BSC tied it up in the top of the third on RBI singles from Maxwell and Bourbonnais. Neither team would score again until the top of the sixth, when the Panthers scored on an RBI single by Denton and then a three-run home run from Jon Walker to go up 6-2. Methodist cut it to 6-4 in the bottom of the sixth, but BSC added four runs again in the top of the seventh, scoring on a wild pitch, RBI singles from Denton and Austin Justice, and an RBI double from Walker to put the Panthers up 10-4. Methodist was able to score once more in the bottom of the eighth to cut it to 10-5.

The Panthers out-hit the Monarchs 15-7, led by Justice and Walker with three hits apiece. Lewis Hammond was the starter on the mound, going six innings and allowing six hits and four earned runs with seven strikeouts. Miles Nordgren came in for the save, giving up one hit and one earned run in the final three innings.