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April 7, 2013

No. 20 Panthers sweep Rhodes with 7-5 Sunday win

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.--The 20th-ranked Birmingham-Southern baseball team completed the series sweep of Rhodes College with a 7-5 victory Sunday afternoon at Striplin Field.

The Panthers move to 24-8 overall and 14-1 atop the Southern Athletic Association standings with their eighth-straight win, while the Lynx fall to 17-15 overall and 8-7 in conference play.

Sophomore Tanner McGill got the Panthers on the board in the bottom of the first inning with an RBI single up the middle to bring junior Evan Grovenstein across the plate. BSC scored twice more in the bottom of the second, as freshman Taylor McCracken RBI singled down the right-field line to plate sophomore Zach Wagner, and then stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a Rhodes error to put the Panthers up 3-0.

The Lynx tied things up in the top of the third with a walked-in run followed by an RBI ground-out and an RBI single.

Wagner put the Panthers back in the lead in the bottom of the third, doubling to right-center to plate senior Brandon Perry and junior Jeremy Hatley.

Rhodes scored on an error in the top of the fourth to cut the lead to 5-4, and that score would stand until the bottom of the sixth, when sophomore Jacob Mayfield sent a ball over the left-field fence to bring in two runs and put BSC up 7-4.

The Lynx put up one more run in the top of the seventh on an RBI single, but were shut out in the final two innings by senior Blake Yance, who came in and got his 10th save of the year, retiring six of the eight batters he faced to end the game.

The Panthers had 12 hits, led by Mayfield who was 3-5 with two RBI. Rhodes recorded six total hits.

Junior Miles Nordgren picked up the win on the mound to move to 5-0 on the year. He threw 4.1 innings after relieving freshman starter Kyle Royalty, who gave up one hit with two strikeouts over the first 2.1 innings. Nordgren allowed three hits with three strikeouts. Sophomore David Bourbonnais also saw action, facing one batter and getting a strikeout, before Yance came in for the close.

BSC is on the road this week, facing out-of-conference foe Covenant College on Tuesday in Lookout Mountain, Ga., and then traveling to face Millsaps for a conference series in Jackson, Miss., Friday through Sunday. The Panthers will return home to close out the regular season Friday, April 19, through Sunday, April 21, hosting Berry College at Striplin Field.

The Panthers will also have a chance to host the first round of the 2013 SAA Championship, April 26-28, if they end up as one of the top two seeds in the tournament. The highest seed remaining will then host the conference finals, May 4-6.