Rhodes' eighth-inning grand slam lifts Lynx over Berry to open SAA Championship Series

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Rome, Ga. - Rhodes College baseball plated five runs in the third inning, two in the sixth and four in the eighth to defeat host Berry College Saturday to open the Southern Athletic Association's best-of-three championship series. The 11-7 win is the seventh in a row for the Lynx who were picked seventh in the first week's regional rankings. Berry had been tabbed for fifth in the South. 

Berry scored twice in the second inning but that lead was quickly erased with five runs on five hits. RBI's were tallied from single by Ryan Palermo, triple by Nick Bosma and a sac fly from Zach Liebenson to put the Lynx up 5-2. The Lynx took a five-run advantage after the top half of the sixth but those two runs were eliminated by the Vikings in the bottom half of the inning. 

A two-run home run in the bottom of the seventh cut Rhodes' lead to 7-6, but Palermo came through in the eighth with two outs when he destroyed the ball on a line drive over the right field fence for the grand slam to ultimately give the Lynx the victory. Berry crossed one run in the bottom half of the inning after a throwing error and then had the bases loaded with zero outs. Casey Whitaker stepped to the plate and with the Berry crowd on their feet, hit a bouncer to third base. His teammate on third, thinking it was a line drive to Zac Lange, started heading back to the bag when Lange stepped on the bag and then threw home for the double play. A deep flyout to right center ended the Vikings threat. 

The win puts Rhodes up and in contention to clinch the title at noon ET Sunday on Berry's campus. A win advances them to the NCAA Tournament once again. A loss and the two teams battle it out in a second game later that afternoon. 

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