JACKSON, Miss.—It took two trips through the batting order, but the 18th-ranked Birmingham-Southern baseball team hit their offensive stride to break open a close game and claim a convincing 13-2 win against University of the Ozarks, Saturday afternoon in Jackson, Miss.
The Panthers move to 2-0, while Ozarks falls to 0-2.
BSC found itself in a 2-1 hole heading into the bottom half of the fifth after managing only three hits and one run in their first four trips to the plate. With one out in the home half of the fifth, nine-hole batter senior Brandon Marino kicked off the rally with a single up the middle. Then the Panthers relied upon the lessons of two trips through the batting order to start lighting up the scoreboard. Lead-off hitter junior Matt Brown reached base for the first time on the afternoon by laying down a bunt single to put Panthers on first and second. Junior Taylor McCracken then singled to right to score Marino and move Brown to third for the first run of the inning. BSC quickly loaded the bases for clean-up hitter Zach Wingate after McCracken stole second and senior Jacob Mayfield walked. Wingate's double down the right field line scored McCracken and Brown. Sophomore Sam Roberts added his own double down the line, this time the left field line to bring home Mayfield and move Wingate to third. After chasing the Ozarks starter, two batters later junior Nathan Qualls singled to center field to plate Wingate and Roberts. By the time Ozarks earned the final out of the inning each Panther batter had made a trip to the plate to help BSC stake a 7-2 advantage.
The run support from the fifth alone was more than enough for the BSC hurlers. Senior starter Paul Caudill worked four innings and allowed two runs on three hits. Success at the plate after the fourth was scarce for Ozarks as BSC relievers junior Kyle Royalty and senior David Bourbonnais held them scoreless on four hits the rest of the way.
BSC tacked on another run in the sixth when a Wingate line out to center field brought sophomore Jack Rhodes across to extend the lead to 8-2.
The Panthers once again made it all the way through the lineup in the seventh to securely put the game out of reach. A walk to Bourbonnais and freshman Ross Anderson, with Qualls being hit by a pitch in between, earned the Panthers a bases loaded situation early in the inning. Brown's line out to center field kicked off the inning's scoring as it brought home Bourbonnais. Senior Casey Lambert then drew a walk to once again load the bases with Mayfield coming to the plate. A double to right field cleared the bases as Mayfield earned a game-high three RBI, an honor he would share with teammates Wingate and Qualls. A throwing error scored Mayfield to wrap up the Panther scoring and account for the 13-2 final score.
Mayfield and Bourbonnais each earned a game-high two runs each while McCracken, Qualls, and Roberts tied for game-high honors in hits.
The Panthers open their home schedule next weekend hosting Adrian Friday at 4 p.m., Transylvania on Saturday at 2:45 p.m, and Adrian once again on Sunday at 12:30 p.m.