ATLANTA, Ga.—Behind a pair of season-highs in hits and RBI from senior Jeremy Hatley, the No. 15 Birmingham-Southern baseball team completed the series sweep of host Oglethorpe University, Sunday afternoon at Anderson Field in Atlanta. The 10-1 victory gives the Panthers a two-game lead atop the Southern Athletic Association standings.
BSC improves to 25-6 on the season and 13-2 in conference. Oglethorpe falls to 10-17 overall and 4-10 in SAA play.
The offense came early and often for the Panthers. BSC got on the board first with a solo shot to left from junior Jacob Mayfield in the top of the first. The visitor half of the second was even more productive. Hatley's season-best performance at the dish began with a single to open the stanza. After advancing to third during junior Wes Kent's fielder's choice, Hatley came home courtesy of an Oglethorpe error during Kent's steal of second that also advanced Kent to third. A walk to junior Jake Campbell put runners at the corners for sophomore Taylor McCracken. A McCracken single up the middle moved Campbell to second and brought home Kent. With runners at first and second, a two-RBI double from sophomore Matt Brown cleared the bases and tallied a 5-0 BSC lead after only an inning and a half of play.
Five runs provided to be more than enough for the BSC pitching staff. Senior Ralls Pennington (3-4) went five innings and, with the lone exception of an Oglethorpe triple in the fourth that led to the only run of the game for the host, kept the Stormy Petrels in check all afternoon. A platoon of relievers, each on the hill for an inning apiece, came on to close out the game. The combination of freshman Ryan Gaines, junior Paul Caudill, senior David Bourbonnais, and senior Evan Grovenstein surrendered only two more hits and a walk to Oglethorpe, while striking out three.
The Panther offense kept the foot on the gas, posting four more runs in the fourth. Runners were quickly in scoring position when a Grovenstein sac bunt moved McCracken to third, who reached after being hit by a pitch, and Brown to second after reaching first from a bunt down the third base line. Mayfield's single scored McCracken and advanced Brown to third. The pair would not stay on base long though. Two batters later a Hatley homer to right gave the Panthers a commanding 9-0 lead heading to the bottom of the fourth.
BSC's final run of the game came in the sixth when a double to left-center from freshman Zach Wingate scored Grovenstein.
The boys from the Hilltop take to the road for a midweek, two-game series against Washington in St. Louis, Mo., with a pair of 3 p.m. starts on April 9 and 10. The first-place Panthers will return home for the final regular season conference series on Saturday, April 12, when they host SAA foe Centre College for a doubleheader starting at 1 p.m.