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No. 15 Panthers take game one of SAA title series with 6-1 victory against No. 26 Rhodes

Blake Stevens (photo by Robert Dean)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—Behind a complete-game performance by junior pitcher Blake Stevens, No. 15 Birmingham-Southern took game one of the Southern Athletic Association Baseball Championship title series against No. 26 Rhodes, 6-1, Monday night at Striplin Field.

The Panthers move to 34-10, while the Lynx fall to 32-14. Game two of the best-of-three series will be played tomorrow at 1:30 p.m., with game three immediately following if Rhodes wins.

The Panthers put three runs on the board in the bottom half of the third inning. With one out, junior Jacob Mayfield hit his fifth home run of the season for the first run of the game. Junior Wes Kent then singled and reached second on a Rhodes error, and junior David Bourbonnais reached on another error. Kent and Bourbonnais stole second and third before senior Jeremy Hatley walked to load the bases. Freshman Zach Wingate then singled through the left side to plate Kent and Bourbonnais and put BSC up 3-0.

Wingate picked up another RBI in the fifth on an infield single to third base, allowing Kent to score after he reached on a single, went to second on a Bourbonnais single, and went to third on a double steal in almost a perfect replay of the third inning.

BSC expanded its lead to 6-0 in the sixth. Sophomore Taylor McCracken led off with a single and went to second on a ground-out. Two straight walks loaded the bases and put McCracken on third before Kent grounded out for the RBI to plate McCracken. Bourbonnais walked before a Rhodes pitching change, and senior Evan Grovenstein scored on a Lynx error, the third of the game.

Rhodes scored its lone run, and the final run of the game for either team, in the top of the seventh on an RBI single from Walker McWherter.

Wingate was 2-3 at the plate with three RBI, while Mayfield and Kent were both 2-4 with a single RBI apiece.

Stevens (8-2) held Rhodes to only one hit through five innings, and scoreless through six, and to only five hits and one run for the entire nine innings. He rung up six Lynx batters with only two walks.