Hornets beat Panthers, move to winner’s bracket in NCAA regional

For the second time in as many nights, a senior left-hander delivered a strong starting performance on the mound for Shenandoah University’s baseball team as the Hornets picked up a 6-2 win over Birmingham-Southern on Thursday in the NCAA South Regional at William R. Bowdoin Field.

Darrell Thompson, a 2012 Sherando High School graduate, allowed two unearned runs over 7 2/3 innings to improve his record to 3-0 in NCAA Regional starts over his career. Thompson (6-2), who retired 14 straight at one point during Thursday’s game, surrendered three hits and three walks while striking out seven before turning the ball over to Ryan Mossman, who recorded the final four outs for his fifth save.

“I got a little heavy at the end, but I was really in a groove tonight,” Thompson was quoted in a press release from the school.

“Once I got through the first, I felt really comfortable. My changeup was my money pitch tonight – it had a bunch of movement.”

The win over Birmingham-Southern sends Shenandoah (33-10) into an 11 a.m. winner’s bracket championship Friday against Emory (Georgia). The winner of that game will be one game from the regional championship.

After B-SC (38-12) scored two unearned runs in the first, the Hornets took the lead for good with three runs on three hits and a Panthers error in the fourth.

Abel Arocho led off the rally with a single to right and advanced to third on a Jake Loew double into the gap in right-center.

Following a John Wilt walk, Arocho and Loew both came home on Lew Johnson’s single to center, with Loew scoring as a result of a Sam Roberts fielding error in center.

Luke Nussman then gave the Hornets the lead by plating Wilt, who had advanced to third on the error, with a groundout to second.

Nussman had the big shot in the sixth, driving a 1-2 fastball over the right field fence for a three-run home run, the first of his career.

The offense was more than enough for Thompson and Mossman, who allowed just three runners into scoring position after giving up the two runs in the first.

“We overcame some adversity at the start,” Hornets head coach Kevin Anderson said.

“I thought Darrell pitched outstanding – he threw three pitches for strikes and really took away Birmingham-Southern’s running game. I don’t think he gave up a hit after the first inning.”

Birmingham-Southern starter Stephen Himic (8-4) allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits and three walks in six innings.