BIRMINGHAM, Ala.--With a 10-1 win Friday evening against Berry at Striplin Field, the No. 30 Birmingham-Southern baseball team clinched a top-two seed and the privilege to host the first round of the Southern Athletic Association Championship, beginning next weekend.
BSC (26-12, 15-4 SAA) now stands tied at the top of the league standings with Millsaps, who lost to Rhodes earlier today, 11-5, in Memphis.
The Vikings fall to 16-21 overall and 12-7 in the conference with tonight's loss.
Berry put the first run up on the board, scoring its lone run in the top of the second inning on a lead-off home run from Alex McGill. That would turn out to be the only hit and only run that BSC would give up.
The Panthers got on the board in the bottom of the third, tying it up with an RBI double by sophomore Jacob Mayfield. BSC took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth when sophomore David Bourbonnais scored on a Viking error, and went up 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth courtesy of an RBI single by freshman Taylor McCracken.
The bottom of the seventh was huge for the Panthers. After a Berry pitching change, Mayfield led off with a double, followed by a walk, an out, and three more walks to bring in a run. The Vikings changed pitchers again after that, but freshman Matt Brown singled through the right side to bring in another run. Senior Stephen Denton got an RBI single next, and sophomore Jake Campbell scored on an error in the same play to put BSC up 7-1. RBIs from junior Evan Grovenstein and Mayfield pushed the lead to 9-1, and Grovenstein later scored on a wild pitch to put the Panthers up 10-1 before a strikeout ended the inning.
The Panthers retired the next six Berry batters to end the game with the 10-1 victory.
BSC recorded 11 hits, led by Mayfield who was 3-5 with two RBI. Freshman Kyle Royalty started on the mound and threw seven innings to get the win, moving to 4-2 on the season. He gave up only one hit and one earned run with one strikeout. Junior Miles Nordgren and sophomore Ben Hession threw the final two innings, respectively, combining to strike out three batters.
The three-game series continues tomorrow at 1 p.m.