No. 23 BSC splits with No. 24 Millsaps in SAA action

Blake Stevens (photo by Cari Dean)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—A three-RBI day from junior Jacob Mayfield and 11 strikeouts by junior hurler Blake Stevens lifted the No. 23 Birmingham-Southern baseball team to a 4-1 win over No. 24 Millsaps in game one of the Southern Athletic Association doubleheader Saturday afternoon at Striplin Field. The Panthers dropped game two, 2-1, in seven innings.

The Panthers moved to 10-2 on the season and a 5-1 conference mark. Millsaps is now 9-6 with a 3-2 record in the SAA.

BSC raced out to an early lead in game one with a pair of runs in each of the first two innings. The first four batters of the Panther line up reached base safely as the home team posted an early 2-0 lead after the first inning. Lead-off batter sophomore Taylor McCracken singled to right field and quickly found his way into scoring position by stealing second during senior Evan Grovenstein's at-bat. Grovenstein advanced McCracken to third with a single of his own through the right side. With runners at the corners, Mayfield singled through the left side to score McCracken for his first RBI of the game. Cleanup hitter junior David Bourbonnais followed up with his own single to load the bases for senior Jeremy Hatley. A sac-fly from Hatley wrapped up the inning's scoring for BSC.

McCracken once again jumpstarted the BSC offensive production by getting on base after being hit by a pitch. Grovenstein's double to left field advanced McCracken to third. The pair did not stay on base very long as Mayfield's single in the next at-bat brought both home for the 4-0 lead.

Stevens (3-0) held the Majors scoreless in seven innings of work. He fanned 11, issued only one walk, and spread out four hits in his afternoon. Grovenstein came on in the eighth in one inning of relief to set up closer Bourbonnais, who earned his second save of the season.

In game two, senior starter Miles Nordgren (2-1) took the loss despite yielding only one earned run in his complete game outing. On the afternoon, Nordgren struck out seven, allowed five hits, and gave up only one walk.

BSC's offensive output was limited to a single run in the bottom of the first. Grovenstein singled to center field and was brought home two batters later by a Bourbonnais double to right center. The 1-0 lead held until the fourth when Millsaps posted a run to the game. The Majors broke the tie an inning later with another run that would take the score to the final for the afternoon.

BSC and Millsaps will square off at 1 p.m. on Sunday for the rubber match of the series.