Top seeds all win in opening day of SAA Tourney

Birmingham-Southern is in unfamiliar territory
as they are use to hosting one of the two SSA
brackets. They are playing at Berry this weekend.

Birmingham-Southern athletics photo

Jacob Delk hit a bases-clearing, three-RBI triple in the bottom of the eighth inning to seal a 9-4 victory over the Hendrix Warriors in the opening round of the Southern Athletic Association (SAA) tournament on Thursday night. Berry will play Birmingham-Southern, a 9-4 winner over Millsaps. Rhodes found themselves down 2-0 in the Memphis bracket after Sewanee scored two runs before the Lynx tied the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Lynx crossed four in the seventh to lead 6-2 and begin the 2018 SAA Tournament with a victory to improve to 25-13 on the year. Rhodes will face Oglethorpe on Friday. The Storm Petals defeated Centre 2-1 to advance.

Northwestern (Minn.) (8-15, 3-3) put together an outstanding effort at Wade Stadium, as the Eagles nearly completed a sweep of host St. Scholastica (9-6, 3-1). UNW cruised to an 11-4 win in the opener before dropping an extra-inning heartbreaker, 5-4, in game two. Backed by a six-run fourth and Wyatt Morrell's strong outing on the bump, the Eagles knocked off the Saints on their home turf, 11-4. The Eagles plated their four runs in the fifth to take a 4-2 lead before the Saints scratched a run across in the sixth and seventh to knot the game at 4-4 and force extras. CSS then pushed the game-winning run across in the bottom of the 10th to pick up the win.

Benedictine played as the visiting team on their home field but set single game highs for runs scored in a doubleheader sweep of Lakeland to improve to 6-0 in the NACC. The Eagles did most of their damage with two outs as they scored 24 runs, winning 12-0, 12-6.

Penn State Abington earned its eighth consecutive win with a 9-1 victory over Cairn. Abington improves to 17-7 after the win. Sophomore Julio Aira IV led the way for the Nittany Lions going 3-of-4 with two runs scored and three RBI's. On the mound John Matthews picked up the win pitching a complete game. The sophomore only surrendered two hits and one run, while striking out nine batters.

Continuing to roll in CCIW play, North Central College completed the season sweep of Wheaton College, as the offense punished Thunder pitching en route to a 14-2 victory. North Central (15-7, 10-1 CCIW) has now scored double-digit runs in seven of the 10 conference wins, outscoring opponents 125-51 over the course of the first 11 CCIW contests.  The Cardinal offense racked up 16 hits, the 17th-straight game with double-digit hits, while drawing nine walks on the evening.

Bard topped Bates, 13-11, in a non-league matchup. With the win, the Raptors improved 12-13 overall and set their single-season wins mark along the way. The previous record had stood since 2015. The Bobcats of Bates meanwhile, fell to 10-12. While the ending turned out to be more interesting than expected, the Raptors did secure the victory. Ryan Chipman powered Bard with a single, a triple, two runs and four RBIs in the effort. Chris Blake finished with three RBIs.

Junior Devin Warren used his speed to leg out an infield single (advancing to second on an errant throw), stole third and then beat the tag on a fielder's choice RBI grounder in the bottom of the 10th inning to lead the nationally-ranked Southern Maine to a 4-3 extra inning win over Babson at Ed Flaherty Field. Winning two of its three games against regionally-ranked opponents during the week, including the last two consecutively, Southern Maine is now 18-7 overall.  The Huskies, 10-1 in the month of April, are 7-0 at home this season.  Ranked third in the latest New England Intercollegiate Baseball Association (NEIBA) poll, Babson is 21-10 with the loss.

McMurry battled back from an early four-run deficit to cruise past the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, 15-4, at Red Murff Field. The War Hawks improved to 10-22 overall and 5-14 in the American Southwest Conference. The War Hawks out-hit the Cru by a 15-11 margin, led by Matthew Chalk. Chalk went 4-for-5, scored a run and drew a walk. Payton Speck was 2-for-4, with two runs and three RBI.

Senior Ian Luttrell threw seven shutout innings as No. 15 ranked Marietta defeated Washington and Jefferson, 9-2, at Don Schaly Stadium. The Pioneers improves to 20-7 on the season. This marks the 48th consecutive season the Pioneers have won at least 20 games. Washington and Jefferson moves to 19-10-1 overall. Luttrell (3-1) scattered three hits, all singles, and struck out five W& hitters. He walked three. Isaac Danford threw 1.0 inning and allowed two runs on no hits with four walks and two strikeouts. Easton Berry retired all three batters he faced including one strikeout.

Ferrum belted out 12 base hits en route to a 13-2 win over visiting Hampden-Sydney in non-conference action at Panther Field. Ferrum broke a 1-1 stalemate with six runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, then added six runs in the sixth to break the game open. Starter Jacob Holland (4-1) pitched 6.1 innings to get win, allowing one hit, no runs and three walks with nine strikeouts. Tim Ortega went 3-3 with a double, a run and three RBI for the Panthers, while Brandon Roberts and Dominick Claxton had a pair of base hits each. Starter Jimmy Butler (2-3) pitched five innings and absorbed the loss for the Tigers, giving up seven hits, three earned runs and a walk with four strikeouts.