Three in a row! Panthers win third straight SCAC East Division title

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—With a 7-5 win over Oglethorpe today, the No. 9 Birmingham-Southern baseball team clinched its third straight SCAC East Division title.

The Panthers move to 28-8 overall and 12-3 in the conference; the Stormy Petrels fall to 17-18 overall and 6-8 in the SCAC.

BSC scored first in the bottom of the first inning with one run courtesy of an RBI single from sophomore Bruce Maxwell. OU tied it up in the top of the second, and the score remained knotted at 1-1 until the bottom of the fifth, when senior Brandon Ricco hit a three-run bomb over the left field fence to put the Panthers up 4-1. BSC scored twice more in the bottom of the sixth on RBI from seniors Drew Leachman and Sam Hill to go up 6-1.

In the top of the seventh, the Petrels were able to score four runs to cut the lead to 6-5. The Panthers added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, and held Oglethorpe scoreless for the rest of the game to clinch the victory for the division title.

Leachman was 3-of-4 at the plate for the Panthers, while Ricco led with four RBI. BSC recorded nine hits overall, while OU had 11. Four different Petrels recorded two hits apiece.

Freshman Lewis Hammond (2-0) started on the mound and got the win, throwing six innings and giving up seven hits and one earned run with two strikeouts. Senior Clay Jones came in and closed, allowing four hits and four earned runs with four strikeouts in three innings. Sam Briend (2-4) started and took the loss for OU, giving up five hits and four earned runs with six strikeouts.

The Panthers wrap up the season next weekend with a road game against Huntingdon, Friday, and a home doubleheader, also against Huntingdon, on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Striplin Field. It will be Senior Day for BSC's 16 members of the 2011 senior class.