BIRMINGHAM, Ala.--The Birmingham-Southern baseball team continued its march in the inaugural Southern Athletic Association Baseball Championship Saturday afternoon at Striplin Field with a 10-1 victory over Berry College. With the win, the Panthers are now one win away from next weekend's best-of-three championship series to determine the winner of the conference championship crown.
After a scoreless first inning for both squads, BSC (29-13), the visiting team in game three of the championship, tallied the contest's first runs with three in the top of the second. A trio of singles to open the inning from sophomore Tanner McGill, sophomore Jake Campbell, and freshman Matt Brown put the Panthers in a prime position to take advantage of a Berry throwing error off of Brown's hit that scored McGill. Campbell came home three batters later courtesy of a passed ball from Berry and then Brown would score thanks to another Berry throwing error.
Berry's only run of the game in the bottom of the second was not enough to overcome the effort of starter freshman Kyle Royalty, who is now 5-2 on the season. In his six innings of work he scattered seven hits and issued only one walk while also registering a strikeout. A dominant performance from a three-man bullpen committee closed the door on Berry in the final three innings. Sophomore David Bourbonnais pitched a scoreless seventh, junior Miles Nordgren threw a scoreless eighth, and senior Blake Yance notched a strikeout while throwing a scoreless ninth.
The Panther offensive production was equally dominant Saturday afternoon. BSC scored another run in the fourth with an RBI single from junior Jeremy Hatley that scored junior Evan Grovenstein, who was on base after a single with one out in the inning. Freshman Taylor McCracken scored another run in the sixth after leading off with a single, stealing second, and then advancing on a ground ball out, and finally being brought home on a sacrifice fly from sophomore Jacob Mayfield.
BSC tacked on five more runs in the eighth, starting with a Hatley single that scored Grovenstein and McCracken. Three batters later a Campbell double to left field brought home Hatley and Mayfield. The inning's scoring concluded with Bourbonnais crossing the plate after a Brown RBI single.
Campbell was 3-5 at the plate to lead the Panthers, who had 15 hits. The Vikings had eight hits.
BSC will play again tomorrow, taking on Rhodes College who defeated Centre today, 6-3, and then Berry by the same score. First pitch is set for noon. If Rhodes defeats BSC for the Panthers' first loss of the tournament, the teams will play again at 3:30 p.m.