BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Birmingham-Southern baseball team is entering the 2018 Southern Athletic Association Championship Tournament as the No. 4 seed and will travel to Rome, Ga., for the opening round.
Although BSC is not seeded as high in the tournament this season as in the past, that fact has not tampered the expectations of a ninth conference crown under head coach Jan Weisberg.
"Our goal is always to win the SAA tournament," he said. "Our expectations are that we will play well, but it will be a very good weekend of baseball with three of the top teams in the SAA in this bracket.
On BSC's side of the bracket are No. 8 Hendrix, No. 5 Millsaps and the top seed Berry. The Panthers lost their regular season series 2-1 to Hendrix and were swept by Berry back in March, but they won the series against the Majors 2-1.
BSC is 7-4 since that series against Millsaps but have closed the season with six wins in its last seven games. The Panthers are also coming in to the tournament off a road sweep of the third seed Oglethorpe.
"I feel that we are playing as good as we have all season heading into the tournament," Weisberg said. "Our younger players have settled down, our offense is doing well, and we are not beating ourselves as much with giving free bases to our opponents."
In order to get past their side of the bracket and reach the championship game once again, there a few key areas where the Panthers will have to play well.
"We will need to play clean games, minimizing the free bases we give an opponent through walks and errors," Weisberg said. "We will also have to create innings offensively."
BSC's first round opponent is the No. 5 seed Millsaps.
"Millsaps and us have been inconsistent but both have shown that we are more than capable of winning this first bracket," Weisberg said.
And if the Panthers are going to reach the final series, they will likely have to go through the No. 1 seed Berry Vikings to get there.
"Berry has been the most consistent team in the SAA all season long," Weisberg said, "and with home field advantage, we will need to be aggressive and play very well to beat them, which we definitely can."
For the first time in recent memory, Birmingham-Southern enters the SAA Tournament and is not the overwhelming favorite. Weisberg and his Panthers plan to use that to their advantage.
"The past six or seven seasons we have been the hunted going into the conference tournament, and I am very much looking forward to being the hunter this time," Weisberg said.
Birmingham-Southern will face Millsaps in the opening round of the SAA Tournament on Thursday, April 19 at 2:30 p.m. ET.