DEMOREST, Ga.—It took over 24 hrs and 12 innings, but fourth-seeded Bridgewater College (34-12) upset third-seeded and 12th-ranked Birmingham-Southern (35-11), 1-0, in the NCAA Division III South Regional, hosted by Piedmont College on Loudermilk Field.
The game was suspended in the top of the fourth Wednesday night, and did not resume until Thursday evening. BSC falls into the elimination bracket and faces top-seeded and 13th-ranked Shenandoah (32-9) Friday at 10 a.m. Eastern, while the Eagles, who tied a school record with 34 wins, will take on second-seeded Emory (30-10) at 1:30 p.m.
The game-winning run for Bridgewater today scored on a grounder between first and second by Brendan Howell with no outs and Justin Petock on second. With BSC first baseman junior Jake Campbell ranging near second, second baseman junior Wes Kent threw to junior pitcher David Bourbonnais who was racing to the bag. Bourbonnais had trouble fielding the ball, allowing Petock to race in and slide home for the game's only run.
Bridgewater and Birmingham-Southern expected runs would come at a premium. The Eagles sent Corey Armentrout (6-3, 2.97 ERA) to the hill, while BSC started junior Blake Stevens (8-2, 1.06 ERA), the 2014 Southern Athletic Association Pitcher of the Year.
The Panthers forced Armentrout's hand early, as the Eagles' defense erased the potential go-ahead run when sophomore Matt Brown was tagged out in a rundown between third and home by Armentrout in the bottom of the first inning. The Eagles had a runner on second with one out in the fourth when the game was suspended due to heavy rain, effectively closing the books on the ace pitchers.
Bridgewater's Nick Corbin (7-1, 3.01 ERA) took the mound in the bottom of the fourth after the game restarted today, working out of a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the fifth.
BSC nearly put the game away twice in the bottom of the ninth, but Brown, who made a wide turn at third on a single to left, was out in another rundown when Corbin cut off the relay throw. Darren Yoder then made a diving catch on a ball by senior Evan Grovenstein that nearly brought in the winning run, sending the game to extras.
Dramatics carried into the 10th when BSC senior left fielder Ethan Netherton made an impressive throw to get Zach Hynes out at the plate for the third out on Yoder's single to left.
In the top of the 12th, Petock walked and stole second to set up the at-bat by Howell which would result in the game-winning run. Corbin was pulled for Robert Gallett in the bottom half after issuing a one-out single, and Gallett picked up his fourth save.
Senior Miles Nordgren took the mound for the Panthers today and went seven and 2/3 innings, giving up four hits with five strikeouts. Bourbonnais threw the last inning and took the loss, falling to 5-1 after allowing no hits and one unearned run with one walk and one strikeout.
Corbin went eight and 1/3 scoreless innings for his eighth win, fanning seven hitters. Sanderson and Hynes led the Eagles with two hits each, while Brown and Grovenstein paced BSC with three hits apiece.