BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—No. 16 Birmingham-Southern stayed in the winner's bracket on day two of the 2014 Southern Athletic Association Baseball Championship, finding a way to win in the bottom of the ninth Saturday afternoon at Striplin Field, defeating Hendrix 3-2 on a walk-off bases-loaded wild pitch.
Top-seeded BSC improves to 32-10 in the 2014 campaign. The loss takes fifth-seeded Hendrix to 23-19 and to an elimination game against the winner of the Millsaps-Sewanee contest being played Saturday afternoon.
Deadlocked at two and the bases loaded, junior David Bourbonnais crossed home to end the game after a Hendrix wild pitch for the walk-off win and to keep the Panthers undefeated in the Birmingham round of the SAA tournament.
The Panthers claimed a quick one-run advantage when junior Jacob Mayfield went yard in the home half of the first. The solo bomb to center field was the fourth home run of the season for Mayfield. BSC added to their lead in the third with a run to push the lead to 2-0. Lead-off batter sophomore Matt Brown drew a walk with two outs and stole second with senior Evan Grovenstein at the dish. The senior took it from there with a single down the left field line to score Brown.
Hendrix would strike back in the sixth with a pair of runs off Panther starter junior Blake Stevens. The pair of runs were the only ones surrendered by Stevens in his almost seven innings of work. Stevens struck out three and gave up only two walks. Bourbannais (5-0) took to the mound in relief of Stevens with two outs in the seventh, and faced a mere eight batters to get the seven outs needed to close out the game. In his two-plus innings of work, Bourbonnais fanned two batters and yielded only one walk to account for the lone Hendrix batter he did not retire.
The Panthers came to bat in the bottom of the ninth and wasted no time in both loading the bases and chasing the first Hendrix reliever from the game. Bourbannais walked to open the inning and advanced to second when junior Jake Campbell singled to third base. Fellow junior Brandon Marino welcomed the next Hendrix reliever by loading the bases with a near-perfect bunt that died down the third base line. It was a wild pitch during the at bat of Brown that brought home Bourbonnais for the winning run.
With the win, BSC's Saturday focus now turns to field prep as they earn a spot in Sunday's Game Six of the Birmingham-Southern opening round at 12 p.m., needing only one win on Sunday to host next weekend's title series against the winner of the Berry College opening round being played this weekend in Rome, Ga.