Birmingham-Southern's season ends on UW-Whitewater walk-off homer at DIII College World Series

Birmingham-Southern players leave a practice Thursday, May 30, 2024, in Kirtland, Ohio. On Friday, the Panthers will continue an unexpected, uplifting season that has captured hearts across the country by playing in the Division III World Series on the same day the liberal arts college founded on the eve of the Civil War shuts its doors. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The Birmingham-Southern baseball team advanced to the Division III College World Series while the small Alabama college shut down on May 31. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

The storybook season is over for Birmingham-Southern College. Now, the program is finished as well.

Sam Paden hit a home run – his second of the game – in the bottom of the ninth inning to give Wisconsin-Whitewater an 11-10 win in an elimination game at the Division III College World Series. The Warhawks will play Salve Regina on Monday for a chance to go to the tournament semifinals.

Birmingham-Southern became a national curiosity when the baseball team advanced to the DIII World Series, outlasting the life of its actual institution. The private liberal arts college in Birmingham, Alabama with an enrollment of 1,300 students closed on May 31, the same day the Panthers opened tournament play, due to financial difficulties.

UW-Whitewater opened the scoring in the second inning with their outfielders battering Panthers starting pitcher Carter Tyus. Paden and Dominik McVay hit back-to-back home runs, each working 3–1 counts before going deep. The Warhawks added another run on an RBI single from Matt Scolan to build a 3–0 lead.

McVay followed up with an excellent catch in the third, diving onto the warning track in left center field to rob Ty Truett of a leadoff extra-base hit. However, Birmingham-Southern came right back with a two-run shot by Eli Steadman off Jack Hagen to make it a 3–2 ballgame.

In the fourth, Jackson Webster led off with a home run to tie the score. That was the beginning of BSC jumping on Hagen with a double from Ian Hancock, Charlie Banks triple and Jakob Zito single that resulted in two more runs and a 5–3 lead.

Yet the Warhawks punched right back, tying the score on a two-run homer by Scolan. And what turned into a slugfest in an elimination game was on.

Birmingham-Southern exploded for four runs in the fifth inning, started by a catcher’s interference call, three consecutive hits and a hit-by-pitch. That chased reliever Cade Hansen, but Max Huseboe came in to allow an RBI single by Zito.

The Panthers tacked on another run in the sixth for a 10–5 lead, but UW-Whitewater scored runs in the seventh and eighth – both fueled by hits from Scolan – to chip away at the deficit.

That set up first baseman Eli Frank to launch a two-run homer off Hansen McCown to tie the score at 10–10. The Warhawks threatened to take the lead, following up with two straight singles. Andy Thies hit a deep drive to left center, but Steadman caught it at the warning track to end the inning.

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