Panthers split doubleheader
Published 11:36 pm Wednesday, April 3, 2019
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
They ran out of time.
Trailing by five runs in Wednesday’s home game against Millsaps, the LaGrange College Panthers pushed three runs across in the bottom of the seventh inning and had the tying runs on base.
Millsaps pitcher Jackson Russo got a strikeout and a groundout to end the threat, though, as LaGrange College fell 7-5 in the second game of the doubleheader.
LaGrange College won the opener 5-0, but it was unable to complete the sweep against a Millsaps team that competed gamely despite its 6-22 record.
LaGrange College, which is ranked 20th in this week’s D3baseball.com poll, fell to 22-8.
While the first game went nine innings, the second game was shortened to seven innings as agreed upon by the coaches beforehand.
“If we had two more innings, we might have pulled it out,” LaGrange College head coach David Kelton said. “But we didn’t deserve to win that game as sloppy as we played. We
played lackadaisical all day long, and that’s what happens.”
LaGrange College had an early 2-0 lead in game two, but Millsaps took the lead with five runs in the top of the second inning.
The Panthers, after scoring two runs in the first inning, didn’t cross home plate again until the seventh inning.
“We didn’t play good. We didn’t play crisp,” Kelton said. “Like I told the guys, we’re on spring-break mode right now, and that’s how they played. No energy, very little effort, bad approaches at the plate. But this is what you get. It’ll be a lesson for these guys to learn from. It doesn’t matter how good you think are, or what your ranking is, if you don’t show up and play you’ll get beat. You’ve got to move on.”
LaGrange College returns to USA South competition with a three-game home series against Pfeiffer.
They’ll play single games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Pfeiffer is in first place in the conference with a 12-3 record, although it is ineligible for the USA South title because it just became a Division III school and is in a probationary period.
LaGrange College, which has won back-to-back USA South tournament titles, is 13-4 in the conference.
In game one on Wednesday, Gibson Bittner and Tanner Chafin combined for the five-hit shutout as LaGrange College won 5-0.
Bittner started and worked around five hits to throw five shutout innings, and he had seven strikeouts.
Chafin threw four hitless and scoreless innings to get the save.
McKinley Erves and Jack Layrisson had two hits apiece, and they each had a triple.
Trey Pearce had a hit and two RBIs, Joe Ruth had a hit and an RBI, leadoff hitter Cael Chatham had a hit and a walk, and Rhett Hollon drove in a run.
The Panthers scored single runs in the first, fourth and seventh innings, and two runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Game two started out well for the Panthers, who took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on a two-run double by Trey Pearce.
Millsaps took over from there, and it led 7-2 when LaGrange College came to bat in the bottom of the seventh.
The Panthers, after scuffling offensively for much of the game, found their footing.
Pearce and Hollon had RBI singles, and Layrisson scored on a wild pitch.
With men on second and third and one out, Jackson Russo entered the game in relief of Ryan Erwin, and he got the final two outs to secure the hard-earned save.
Pearce had two hits and three RBIs for the Panthers, and Erves had two hits and two runs scored.
Hollon had a hit and an RBI, and Dawson Weaver had a single and two walks.
Michael Menheart was the Panthers’ starting pitcher, and he gave up five runs, all in the second inning.
Coston Anderson pitched four innings and held Millsaps scoreless after allowing two runs in the third inning.
Anthony Elias pitched a scoreless seventh inning.
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