BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The Birmingham-Southern baseball team faces off against LaGrange College in the 2019 NCAA Championship Regional starting Friday, May 17.
The No. 15 Birmingham-Southern Panthers (34-11) come into the regional against the No. 14 LaGrange Panthers (30-9) on an 11-game winning streak, including a 5-0 run through the Southern Athletic Association Tournament on the way to the first conference tournament title since 2016.
BSC's last loss came in the first game of the Centre series back on April 13.
LaGrange, the USA South Tournament champion, is on a seven-game winning streak and has not lost since early April.
The NCAA Regional series between the two Panther teams will not be the first time the squads have met this season. In fact, for one side, the season will end to the same team it started against. BSC and LaGrange opened up their respective seasons pitted against one another in a three-game series in early February.
BSC lost the opening series of the regular season to then No. 24 LaGrange, falling 7-2 and 5-2 in the first two games before earning the 4-1 win in the series finale. Since the last meeting, Birmingham-Southern has compiled a 33-9 record, gone 4-2 against ranked opponents and finished ahead of the rival Panthers in the NCAA South Region rankings.
To get past LaGrange this weekend, Birmingham-Southern will look to the student-athletes who have produced at a high level all season, including all-conference first team position players like sophomore outfielder and lead-off hitter Cole Steadman (Birmingham, Ala./Briarwood Christian), who leads the team in batting average and total hits; senior Tyler Hamel (Atlanta, Ga./Alpharetta HS), who leads the team with seven home runs; and senior Tyler Wise (Birmingham, Ala./Spain Park HS), who is hitting .326 and has a team-high 42 RBI.
On the mound, BSC will look to starters Jake Cook (Oxford, Ala./Oxford HS), John Michael Shirley (Mobile, Ala./UMS-Wright Prep) and Andy Hammond (Oxford, Ala./Oxford HS), who have a combined for an 18-6 record and 3.03 ERA in 215.2 innings pitched this season.
BSC can also look to strength in the bullpen, which is anchored by the 2019 SAA Pitcher of the Year and team leader in wins and saves, senior southpaw Richie Misischia (Dothan, Ala./Regis HS), and All-SAA Honorable Mention Hanan Mauldin (Florence, Ala./Florence HS).
The NCAA Regional matchup this weekend is a best-of-five game series with the first two games played at Striplin Field on Friday afternoon starting at 1 p.m. BSC will be the home team in game one. The second game will start 50 minutes after the conclusion of the first game with LaGrange assuming the role of home team.
Saturday's games will follow the same schedule with game three beginning at 1 p.m. Game four, if necessary, will be played 50 minutes after the conclusion of game three.
Game five, if necessary, will be played on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.
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