Birmingham-Southern stays alive in DIII College World Series with 9–7 walk-off win

The Panthers looked done before a 3-run rally in the eighth inning

The Birmingham-Southern College baseball team kept its improbable story alive in thrilling fashion. The Panthers live to play on at least one more game in the Division III College World Series at Eastlake, Ohio.

First baseman Jackson Webster hit a two-run home run, his second of the game, in the bottom of the ninth to give BSC a 9–7 comeback walk-off win over Randolph-Macon on Saturday. The Panthers will play on Sunday with another chance to extend their season to Monday's semifinals.

The Panthers faced the end to their season Saturday evening, at risk of going home in the double-elimination tournament after losing Friday night's opener to Salve Regina.

"Home" is a complicated concept for Birmingham-Southern because the Alabama college permanently closed its doors Friday due to financial woes. The baseball team playing on past the demise of its school has made the Panthers and their postseason run a national curiosity.

Unlike Friday evening's game, when the electricity went out beforehand at Classic Park, compelling Birmingham-Southern and Salve Regina to sing the national anthem themselves on the field, the Panthers turned on their power early.

The Panthers jumped out to a 3–0 lead in the first inning on a two-run home run by Webster off Yellow Jackets pitcher Drew Ramos. Two batters later, right fielder Charlie Banks hit a solo shot.

The lead was extended to 4-0 in the third inning.

Facing elimination, Randolph-Macon coach Ray Hedrick pulled Ramos after his rough first inning and brought in William Wian. The sophomore struck out four batters in two innings, but allowed another BCS run in the third on an RBI double by Banks.

The Yellow Jackets broke through against BSC starter Josh Leerssen in the fifth with an RBI triple by right fielder Eli Brooks. Second baseman Jordan Hill then drove in Brooks to cut BSC's lead to 4-2.

In the seventh, Randolph-Mason brought the go-ahead run to the plate after Leerssen hit Matt Myers and Grayson Bush with pitches to put them on base. But Brooks helped BSC out by popping up a bunt attempt. Leerssen then struck out Hill before being relieved by Hansen McCown.

However, McCown gave up a RBI single to Jon Quici and an infield single by Carter Schmitt that drove in the tying run.

Randolph-Mason kept rolling in the eighth. Outfielder Myles Webb led off with a single and eventually moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt from Chaz Harvey and a wild pitch. Myers drove in Webb with a single to give the Yellow Jackets a 5–4 lead.

Jacob Fields relieved Leerssen and subsequently allowed a single to Bush. He then lost command of his pitches and gave up two consecutive runs on wild pitches, increasing Randolph-Mason's lead to 7–4. BSC coach Jan Weisberg stuck with Fields, but the right-hander walked Hill and Quici before being removed from the game for left-hander Charlie Horne.

However, Birmingham-Southern just couldn't let its postseason end. Facing reliever Sam Slevin, the Panthers scored two runs after two consecutive one-out singles by Ian Hancock and Banks. Both runners were driven in on a triple by Jakob Zito to make the score 7–6. Ty Truett then laid down a suicide squeeze bunt to the first-base side, but Zito was thrown out at home.

Truett still ended up scoring the game-tying run after stealing second base and coming home on a single from Grant Morgan. BSC had a chance to take the lead after a single by Parker Ladd, but Yellow Jackets reliever Michael Shanahan struck out Eli Steadman looking to maintain the 7–7 tie.

Horne then pitched a scoreless top of the ninth to set up Webster's ninth-inning heroics.

With the win, the Panthers will face the loser of Saturday night's matchup between Salve Regina and Wisconsin-Whitewater on Sunday at 3 p.m. ET in another elimination game. If Birmingham-Southern wins, their postseason will continue Monday.