No. 21 Panthers sweep Hendrix on McCracken’s walk-off single in eighth

Taylor McCracken (photo by Cari Dean)
Taylor McCracken (photo by Cari Dean)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Sophomore Taylor McCracken's eighth-inning RBI single helped No. 21 Birmingham-Southern to a 6-5 extra-innings win over Hendrix College in game two of a doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Striplin Field.

BSC claimed a 4-3 win in game one and swept the three-game series to improve to 15-3 overall and 8-1 in the Southern Athletic Association, while Hendrix fell to 8-10 overall and 4-5 in league play.

Hendrix carried a 5-3 lead into the bottom of the seventh before BSC rallied for two runs to tie the game. Sophomore Matt Brown singled and stole second and junior Jacob Mayfield walked to put two runners on the bases with one out. Brown and Mayfield would steal third and second, respectively, and scored on the play when the throw sailed into left field.

Senior Jeremy Hatley doubled to open the eighth and left the game when junior Brandon Marino came on as a pinch runner. Marino moved to third on junior Zach Wagner's sac bunt and scored on McCracken's single to left.

The Panthers got out of the gates quickly in game two, scoring three runs on three hits in the first. Brown and senior Evan Grovenstein started the rally with singles and scored on a Wingate double. Wingate later scored on a Hatley ground out to end the scoring.

Hendrix scored the game's next five runs to take a 5-3 lead. Collin Radack highlighted a two-run second with an RBI single while Wyatt Hogan and Ryan Ritz had run-scoring singles to give Hendrix a 4-3 lead in the fifth. The Warriors added its final run in the seventh on a Hogan RBI single.

Freshman Ryan Gaines pitched three innings in relief of senior starter Ralls Pennington to earn the game two win. Gaines gave up one run on three hits to improve to 4-0. Pennington worked five innings with three strikeouts while giving up four runs, two earned on seven hits.

Daniel Imbro was the pitcher of record for Hendrix, notching two strikeouts in just over an inning of work while giving up two runs on two hits to fall to 2-3.

Junior Blake Stevens recorded nine strikeouts in seven strong innings to improve to 4-0 in the game one. Stevens allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits with no walks. Junior David Bourbonnais closed the game in the ninth with a strikeout for his fourth save of the year.

The Panthers scored three runs in the first two innings to build a quick 6-0 lead before holding on for the 6-3 win.

Brown and Grovenstein led off the first inning with back-to-back singles. Brown scored on a Mayfield double and Grovenstein and Mayfield scored on a ground outs to give BSC a 3-0 lead.

The Panthers took advantage of two Hendrix errors to add three runs in the second. Marino was hit by a pitch and scored on a Mayfield ground out and Bourbonnais singled home Brown for a 6-0 BSC advantage.

Hendrix scored single runs in the third, fifth, and eighth innings. Radack homered in the third and Ritz had a run scoring single in the fifth while the third run came via BSC error in the eighth.

Kyle Teachout (2-1) was roughed up for six runs, four earned, on five hits through two innings in the loss for the Warriors.

Birmingham-Southern hits the road for the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte, Fla., this week. The Panthers open play against New Paltz State on Monday at 3 p.m. EDT followed by Otterbein on Tuesday at 11 a.m. EDT and Wooster on Wednesday at noon EDT.