BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—No. 15 Birmingham-Southern is the 2014 Southern Athletic Association Baseball Champion after defeating No. 26 Rhodes College, 5-0, this afternoon at Striplin Field.
The Panthers move to 35-10 overall and have won five straight postseason games after a 6-1 victory against the Lynx yesterday evening in game one of the title series. Rhodes falls to 32-15.
BSC will find out its NCAA postseason fate this Sunday evening, with the selections for the 2014 NCAA Championship being announced some time after midnight ET on NCAA.com.
The game today was a pitcher's duel through the first four innings before BSC, playing as the visitor, got two runs on the board in the top of the fifth. Freshman Zach Wingate, who reached base after being hit by a pitch, went to second on a single by sophomore Taylor McCracken. A fielder's choice by sophomore Matt Brown put Wingate on third, and Brown and Wingate executed a double steal for the first run of the game. Brown then went to third on a Rhodes throwing error. Senior Evan Grovenstein singled to reach first, and stole second before junior Jacob Mayfield, who was named Tournament MVP, was intentionally walked to load the bases. Junior Wes Kent then drew another walk to bring Brown home and put BSC up 2-0.
The Panthers scored again in the top of the seventh when Mayfield went yard for the sixth time this season to bring in three runs after Brown led off with a double and Grovenstein singled, wrapping up the game's scoring.
Senior Miles Nordgren (8-2) started on the mound and went seven innings, allowing only four hits and two walks with nine strikeouts. Freshman Ryan Gaines and junior David Bourbonnais threw the final two innings, with each picking up one strikeout while giving up no hits in the shutout.
BSC had seven total hits, led by Grovenstein who was 2-5 at the plate. Mayfield led with three RBI and two walks.
Nordgren and junior Blake Stevens, who pitched a complete nine-inning game in yesterday's 6-1 win, joined Mayfield on the All-Tournament Team.