BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—A pinch-hit grand slam by sophomore Ethan Netherton in the bottom of the eighth inning propelled the No. 12 Birmingham-Southern baseball team past Millsaps, 8-6, Sunday afternoon at Striplin Field.
The Panthers finish the regular season at 31-7 overall and 14-1 in the SCAC, while the Majors fall to 25-14 overall and 9-5 in league play. BSC won the series against Millsaps with today's win after splitting yesterday.
The Panthers will enter next weekend's SCAC Championship as the top seed in the East after finishing atop the East Division standings for the fourth straight year, although this will be the Panthers' first-ever post-season appearance since transitioning to NCAA Division III and joining the SCAC. BSC will face the No. 3 West seed Dallas on Thursday at 7 p.m. in USA Stadium in Millington, Tenn.
BSC led 2-0 after the first inning, but Millsaps scored four in the top of the second and one more in the top of the third to take a 5-2 lead.
A home run by junior Bruce Maxwell, his 13th of the season, cut it to 5-3 in the bottom of the third.
Neither team would score again until the bottom of the eighth, when, with two outs on the board, an RBI single by sophomore Austin Justice cut it to 5-4 and put runners on first and second. Freshman Zach Wagner walked after that to load the bases, prompting a pitching change by the Majors. Netherton came in to pinch hit and sent the ball over the left field fence on a 1-1 count for his first home run of the year, putting the Panthers up 8-5.
The Majors were able to score once more in the top of the ninth, but it wasn't enough and the Panthers came away with the victory.
Junior Stephen Denton was 2-4 at the plate for BSC; the Panthers had eight hits and the Majors had nine.
Senior Jesse Meier started on the mound and threw six innings, striking out three batters and giving up six hits and three earned runs. Sophomore transfer Ralls Pennington got the win, moving to 2-0 on the year after recording two strikeouts and giving up one hit. Junior Blake Yance came in for the final inning and picked up his fifth save of the year, giving up two hits and one earned run in the process.