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No. 14 Baseball opens SAA play with two wins against Oglethorpe

Matt Brown slides home after a wild pitch (photo by Cari Dean)
Matt Brown slides home after a wild pitch (photo by Cari Dean)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The 14th-ranked Birmingham-Southern baseball team moved to 7-0 on the season and opened Southern Athletic Association play with two wins against Oglethorpe, Saturday afternoon at Striplin Field. The Panthers won the first game 12-2 and the second 3-2.

BSC remained unbeaten at 7-0 and goes to 2-0 in the SAA, while the Stormy Petrels fell to 4-4 overall and 0-2 in league play.

The Panthers got off to a shaky start, giving up a two-run homer in the top of the first and trailing 2-0 until the bottom of the third, when BSC pulled ahead for good with three runs. After the first two batters were hit to get on base, senior Brandon Marino put down a sacrifice bunt to move runners to second and third. Junior Matt Brown singled through the left side to bring in the first run, followed by a single through the right side by junior Taylor McCracken to tie things up and then a sac-fly from senior Jacob Mayfield for the go-ahead run.

BSC added four more in the fourth, scoring on an RBI single from junior Nathan Qualls, a Marino RBI ground-out, and an RBI double from Brown. Brown then scored later in the inning on a wild pitch, making a gutsy run and sliding to beat the throw and put his team up 7-2.

A sac-fly from senior David Bourbonnais in the fifth extended the lead to 8-2, and a McCracken RBI single in the sixth put BSC up 9-2. The final three runs came in the eighth, with senior Casey Lambert and Marino scoring on wild pitches, and another Mayfield sac-fly putting the Panthers up 12-2.

Senior starter Blake Stevens (3-0) went seven innings, striking out 11 Petrel batters while giving up five hits, two earned runs, and two walks. Sophomore Mac Crawford and senior Ben Hession combined for the final two innings, with Hession striking out two of the four batters he faced.

Game two was scoreless through the third inning before Oglethorpe scored twice in the top of the fourth on a sac-fly and a fielder's choice RBI. The Panthers answered in the bottom of the fourth when Mayfield scored on a wild pitch and then sophomore Jack Rhodes hit a deep single to right field to score two runners and put BSC up 3-2. The rest of the seven-inning game was scoreless for both teams.

Sophomore Ryan Gaines (2-0) started on the mound and pitched six innings, giving up six hits and two earned runs with no walks and four strikeouts. Bourbonnais came in for the final inning, striking out all three batters to pick up his first save of the year.

The Panthers wrap up the three-game series tomorrow with a 1 p.m. game at Striplin Field.