That’s the last time they were above .500, until Tuesday that is.
With their come-from-behind 7-6 victory over the Berry Vikings, the Panthers improved to 10-9, and they’ve won six of their past seven games.
The Vikings scored five runs in the first three innings to go on top 5-2, but the Panthers charged back with three runs in the fourth inning to take the lead.
With the game tied 6-6, the Panthers punched a run across in the seventh to once again claim the lead, and Tyler Brooks made sure the lead would stand up by pitching two scoreless innings to end it.
The Panthers were 2-6 after falling to nationally-ranked Birmingham Southern, but they’re 8-3 since then, and they’re coming off a series win over USA South foe Christopher Newport, which was ranked fifth in NCAA Division III at the time.
“This is a team that buys in and knows our identity,” LaGrange College head coach Kevin Howard said. “We’re going to pitch, we’re going to play good defense, and we have to situational hit.”
The Panthers’ top three starters pitch over the weekends against conference opponents, so freshman Patrick Riley got the starting assignment on Tuesday, and he struggled, giving up three runs in his one inning of work.
Kenneth Strack settled things down a bit, holding the Vikings to three runs (two earned) over four innings, and Henry Jacobs and Brooks didn’t allow a run during their combined four innings.
Jacobs gave up two hits over 1 2/3 innings, and Brooks didn’t surrender a hit and struck out two in 2 1/3 innings.
Brooks came into the game in the seventh with the bases loaded, but he got a strikeout to end the threat.
Brooks then set the Vikings down in order in the eighth and ninth innings, and he retired all seven batters he faced.
At the plate, the Panthers tied their season high for runs, matching the seven runs they scored against Wabash last week.
The Panthers scored single runs in the first three innings before the three-run outburst in the fourth.
Barndon Espinosa led the Panthers with three hits, and Brent Kinsey, Kyle Nerbonne and Keith Sims had two hits apiece.
Kinsey had an RBI double, and Cody Muren and Sims had RBI singles.
In the seventh, Nerbonne jump-started the game-winning rally with a single, and Jim Reed added a bunt single.
After an Espinosa single, Schuck grounded out to drive in the go-ahead run.
LaGrange returns to USA South play this weekend with a three-game series against Ferrum (Va.).