SU roundup: Hornets set to face Birmingham-Southern in NCAA regionals

Daily Staff Report – sports@nvdaily.com

DEMOREST, Ga. — After a day off due to rain in north Georgia, the No. 13/16 Shenandoah University baseball team returns to the diamond Friday morning for its second round game of the Demorest Regional.

Shenandoah, the top seed in the regional, takes on third-seed Birmingham-Southern in what will be an elimination game for the Panthers.

Regardless of the outcome, the game will be the first of two that the Hornets play on the day. Should SU win over B-SC, the Hornets will take on the winner of the Bridgewater/Emory game for the right to advance to the championship.

If Shenandoah loses to Birmingham-Southern, coach Kevin Anderson’s club will be in an elimination contest at 5 p.m.

SU is now 32-9 on the season after downing Covenant (Ga.) 11-3 in the opening game of the regional Wednesday afternoon.

The Hornets banged out 17 hits in the victory, including four each from Nos. 1 and 2 hitters Corbin Lucas and Billy Arens.

Michael Paul, who entered the game leading the team in hitting and second in the nation in RBIs, had three hits and two runs batted in.

Paul is now seven RBIs from the SU school record set by Jeremy Schutt in 2000.

Senior Vince Claudio (7-1) is the expected starting pitcher Friday morning. Claudio has a 3.72 ERA and 53 strikeouts in 55 2/3 innings pitched.

Birmingham-Southern, the Southern Athletic Association champion, comes into the game with a 35-11 record.

The Panthers and Hornets have never met in any sport and have three common opponents: Bridgewater, Covenant and Hampden-Sydney, this season.

SU is 6-3 against those three opponents (3-0 vs H-SC, 2-3 vs BC and 1-0 vs CC) while B-SC is 2-2 (0-1 vs H-SC, 0-1 vs BC and 2-0 vs CC).

The Panthers are hitting .287 as a team and have five pitchers with at least four wins each.

By virtue of a coin flip, Shenandoah will be the visitors and B-SC the home team.