BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – The No. 2 Birmingham-Southern baseball team came back and defeated Rhodes College 7-6 in dramatic fashion to take the 1-0 lead in the 2017 Southern Athletic Association championship series. The Panthers (36-6) had a walkoff sacrifice fly to end the game in the bottom of the ninth.
Tyler Hamel (Atlanta, Ga./Alpharetta HS) led the team offensively. He went 2-for-3 with a run. Preston White (Memphis, Tenn./Memphis University School) and Jacob Drescher (Auburn, Ala./Auburn HS) each hit home runs to left field on the day. And it was White and Tyler Wise (Birmingham, Ala./Spain Park HS) who earned a team-high two runs each.
Rich Misischia (Dothan, Ala./Regis HS) grabbed the win after striking out two of the three batters he faced in the top of the ninth. He is now 4-0 on the year.
The teams were scoreless through three innings. BSC opened scoring in the bottom of the fourth. Wise led off with single to left center that was followed up by a single from Hamel through the left side. Both came around to score on groundouts.
Drescher then homered to left field to put the Panthers up by three. Rhodes responded in the top of the fifth inning. They plated six runs on five hits to take the lead.
BSC started to rally in the bottom of the sixth. Sam Roberts (Johns Creek, Ga./Blessed Trinity) fought back from an 0-2 count to earn the leadoff walk. White then belted the ball over the left field fence to pull the Panthers within one, 6-5.
Drescher then walked with no outs to represent the tying run. But the next two batters struck out and flew out to end the inning.
White was hit to leadoff the eighth and stole second to move into scoring position. After advancing to third on a groundout, he came across to score the tying run on a wild pitch.
The Panthers held Rhodes scoreless after the fifth to setup the comeback. Wise was hit on a 1-1 count to lead off the ninth. Jack Rhodes (Nashville, Tenn./Montgomery Bell) then came in to pinch hit and worked his count to a walk to push Wise into scoring position.
After four straight pitches, White was walked and Drescher came up to the plate with bases loaded and one out. His sac fly allowed Wise to score the game winner.
The series continues Sunday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m.
Fans can check back on TOURNAMENT CENTRAL for information and updates on the series.