No. 18 Pacific Lutheran tops No. 7 Birmingham-Southern in NCAA South Regional, 7-2

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DEMOREST, Ga.—On day two of the NCAA South Regional in Demorest, Ga., No. 18 Pacific Lutheran picked up seven runs over two innings to defeat No. 7 Birmingham-Southern, 7-2, Thursday evening at Loudermilk Field.

BSC fell to 35-11-1, while Pacific Lutheran moved to 32-12.

The second-seeded Lutes used a three-run third and a four-run fifth to fuel the 7-2 win over the third-seeded Panthers, putting the game out of reach fairly early, as PLU starter Kyle Rossman (6-4, 2.49) did not allow a hit or a runner to reach scoring position until the fourth inning. Even then, after loading the bases on two hits and walk, he struck out the next batter after running the count full, and retired the side by inducing a fly out to right.

The Lutes' offense gave Rossman more than enough breathing room, piling on nine hits in the win. Landon Packard broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third with a bases loaded sacrifice fly. Collin Nilson immediately followed with a run-scoring double, his team-leading 15th double and 42nd RBI of the season. Thompson's RBI fielder's choice groundout put Pacific Lutheran up 3-0.

Two innings later, Pacific Lutheran again put pressure on Birmingham-Southern starter Ryan Gaines(7-5, 3.30). The Lutes loaded the bags with two outs for Thompson, who cleared the bases with one swing of the bat with a double. He then scampered home on an error to run the lead to 7-0.

With Gaines out of the game, the Panthers bullpen did little to slow down Pacific Lutheran. However, they wriggled out of a bases loaded jam in the sixth, walking three straight batters to load the bases once again. A pop up to short ended the threat.

Again Birmingham-Southern escaped further damage after putting runners on second and third with just one out in the seventh. A strikeout and groundout sent the game into the eighth.

Rossman appeared to hit a wall in the eighth, as he labored through the frame and was scarred by a two-run double by Nathan Qualls, his first double of the year. Rossman finished with eight innings, two earned runs, six hits, six walks and eight strikeouts.

Thompson paced the Pacific Lutheran offense with four RBI, while Nilson added three hits and an RBI. Frank Airey had two hits and two runs, while four others also chipped in with hits.

Qualls, Zach Wingate and Jacob Mayfield had two hits each for Birmingham-Southern, who suffered its first loss of the South Regional. Birmingham-Southern takes on top-seeded Rhodes in an elimination game Friday at 12 p.m. EDT. Pacific Lutheran will then play the winner of that game at 7 p.m.