Winning weekend for Panthers
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
In a showdown between two of the USA South’s top teams, it was the LaGrange College Panthers taking two-of-three from visiting Pfeiffer University.
After the teams split the first two games of the series, the Panthers eased to a 13-5 victory on Sunday afternoon at Cleaveland Field in Williamson Stadium.
Pfeiffer came into the series having won 10 consecutive games, and it had surged to the top of the conference standings.
The Falcons met their match over the weekend, though.
LaGrange College won the series opener 7-6 on a walk-off hit by Jack Larysisson, and Pfeiffer bounced back to win Saturday’s game 9-5.
In the rubber game on Sunday, the Panthers were ahead 7-0 after four innings, and they basically ended any hope of a Falcons’ comeback by scoring six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning.
Pfeiffer (22-6 overall) fell to 13-5 in the USA South.
LaGrange College (24-9 overall) improved to 15-5 in the USA South, and it will complete its conference schedule with three home games against William Peace.
They’ll play a single game on Friday at 7 p.m., and a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 5 p.m.
After that, it’ll be time for the Panthers to begin their pursuit of a third consecutive USA South tournament championship.
Here’s a look back at LaGrange College’s three games with Pfeiffer
LAGRANGE COLLEGE 13,
The Panthers battered the Falcons to win the series.
Catcher Austin McDade hit his first collegiate home run, a solo shot in the fourth inning, and he had two hits and two RBIs.
Trey Pearce capped a big individual series with four hits, including three home runs, and he drove in two runs.
McKinley Erves had a triple, and he finished with two hits and two RBIs.
Joe Ruth, EJ Churchich and Rhett Hollon each had a hit and an RBI, and Jack Layrisson had an RBI.
Austin Fain was the starting pitcher, and he threw 4 1/3 innings and gave up one run on five hits.
Gibson Bittner worked the next two innings and was the winning pitcher to improve to 6-3, and he gave up two hits and two runs.
After Tanner Chafin pitched one inning, Spencer Douches threw 1 2/3 scoreless innings to finish it.
LAGRANGE COLLEGE 5
McKinley Erves and EJ Churchich each had four hits, but it was Pfeiffer taking the 9-5 win to even the series.
Erves and Churchich each had an RBI, and Erves had a double and scored two runs.
Joe Ruth had three hits and two RBIs, Braden Shealy had a triple and an RBI, and Cael Chatham and Jack Layrisson each had a hit.
Richie Post was the starting pitcher, and he struggled, giving up 10 hits and seven runs.
Spencer Douches and Anthony Elias combined for 2 2/3 scoreless innings, and Austin pitched the final 1 1/3 innings and allowed two runs.
LAGRANGE COLLEGE 7
Jack Layrisson’s RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning brought Cael Chatham home with the game-winning run.
Chatham led off the inning with a walk, and Joe Ruth was intentionally walked to put two men on before Layrisson came through with the game-winner.
The Panthers trailed 6-0 in the third inning, and they rallied to tie it before winning in extra innings.
Trey Pearce had three hits and three RBIs, McKinley Erves had two hits and an RBI, Chatham had two doubles and the walk that jump-started the game-winning rally, and Joe Ruth and Judd Moore each had a hit.
Tanner Chafin and Gibson Bittner did outstanding work in relief for the Panthers.
JR Robinson started, and he allowed five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Chafin held Pfeiffer scoreless in his three innings on the mound, and Bittner got the win after throwing 2 2/3 scoreless innings, and he only gave up one hit.