Rhodes advances to the NCAA tournament after 7-6 SAA Championship win over Berry

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Rome, Ga. - Needing just one win to clinch the conference tournament title, Rhodes baseball suffered an 8-7 setback Sunday afternoon before defeating Berry College 7-6 on the road to win their second straight Southern Athletic Association Tournament Championship. The win is the second road title in a row for the Lynx who will advance to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in the last five years. 

In the title game, Rhodes delivered a six-run punch in the first inning after Levi Greenberg hit a grand slam to right field. The next four innings remained scoreless until the Vikings pulled within one with five runs in the sixth inning. Starting pitcher Jacob Dubs tallied seven strikeouts before he was relieved by Carter King in that inning. King earned both outs on K's to end the inning. 

Jacob Telli led off the eighth inning with a double, which triggered a pitching change for Berry. Will Heurtin moved Telli to third on a single who then scored on a sac fly to left from Ryan Palermo for the game-winning RBI. 

Cameron Tinker came in to pitch the bottom of the eighth inning and threw only about four-five pitches to finish Berry one-two-three, all on lineouts and popups. 

Berry threatened a comeback victory in the ninth inning. With runners on first and second, pinch hitter Austin Brooks roped a single up the middle as Zach Liebenson made a great diving play to not only save the ball from going into the outfield, but also holding the lead runner at third. His flip to try and get an out to Heurtin at second was barely late, which loaded the bases with zero outs. The next Viking grounded into a double play, which allowed Berry to cross their final run of the game. A grounder to Liebenson secured Rhodes' victory. 

The win is the first of his career for Dubs, a redshirted freshman from Greensboro, N.C. Nick Bosma picked up his DIII-leading 14th save of the year. Heurtin went two-of-three in the game with Zac Lange going two-of-four. 

Rhodes, who is ranked seventh in the NCAA South regional rankings, will only find out where/who they will draw in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament on May 13th. The NCAA will announce the 2018 Regional fields in a press release online around midnight (11:59 pm) of the 13th.