No. 4 Baseball splits on day two of SAA Championship opening round

David Bourbonnais (photo by Cari Dean)
David Bourbonnais (photo by Cari Dean)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The fifth-seeded Berry Vikings upset top-seeded No. 4 Birmingham-Southern in the first game, 3-2, Saturday before the Panthers rallied to defeat Oglethorpe, 11-3, in the nightcap on day two of the 2015 Southern Athletic Association Baseball Championship.

The Panthers moved to 32-8-1, while the Vikings moved to 23-16-1 and Oglethorpe fell to 26-14. Berry and BSC will face off again tomorrow at noon, with the Panthers needing to defeat the Vikings twice to clinch a berth to the SAA title series against the winner of the Millsaps pod in Jackson, Miss. No. 17 Millsaps and No. 18 Rhodes will face off tomorrow, with the second-seeded host Majors needing to win twice against the third-seeded Lynx to advance to the title series.

The Vikings got on the board quickly, scoring two in the top of the first on a two-RBI double by Ben Jernigan. The Panthers responded in the bottom of the first with an RBI single by senior Jacob Mayfield to cut it to 2-1. BSC tied it up in the bottom of the second on an RBI from senior Casey Lambert, and the tie stood until the top of the eighth when an Alfred Francis RBI single put Berry up 3-2. BSC got the game-tying run to second in the bottom of both the eighth and ninth innings, but were unable to capitalize.

Berry's Ryan O'Connell started and pitched the complete game, giving up seven hits and one earned run with four walks and no strikeouts. Senior Blake Stevens, who was announced as the SAA Pitcher of the Year today, threw eight innings and allowed eight hits and three earned runs with one walk and three strikeouts. Junior Wilson Jamison came in for the final inning.

In the nightcap, the BSC offense got off to a quick start with six runs in the first inning, thanks to RBIs from junior Matt Brown, sophomore Zach Wingate, sophomore Jack Rhodes, and senior David Bourbonnais. Bourbonnais also scored on a passed ball. Another Wingate RBI single in the second put the Panthers up 7-0 before the Petrels added their three runs in the top of the fourth.

An RBI double from senior Jacob Mayfield, and a Bourbonnais two-RBI single in the bottom of the fourth extended the Panthers' lead to 10-3, and BSC added one more in the seventh on an RBI single from freshman Brayden Housel.

BSC recorded 16 hits, with junior Taylor McCracken and sophomore Sam Roberts both going 3-4. Bourbonnais was 2-4 with a game-high four RBIs.

Sophomore Stephen Himic (5-0) started on the mound and threw seven innings, surrendering seven hits and three earned runs with two strikeouts. Freshman Ross James and senior Ben Hession closed out the game.