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Panthers open with home loss

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

For the first time in 11 months, it was game day for the LaGrange College Panthers.

LaGrange College’s baseball team was 17 games into the 2020 season when everything was shut down because of COVID-19.

On Wednesday afternoon at Cleaveland Field at Phil Williamson Stadium, LaGrange College made its 2021 debut against a familiar opponent, Birmingham Southern.

Birmingham Southern, which beat LaGrange College in a hard-fought series in the NCAA tournament in 2019, plated five runs in the fourth inning on the way to a 6-3 victory.

It was the first of four consecutive home games to open the season for the Panthers.

LaGrange College and USA South foe Maryville College will play a single game on Saturday at 6 p.m., and a doubleheader on Sunday starting at noon.

In Wednesday’s game, Birmingham Southern took control with five runs in the top of the fifth inning, and it made that lead stand up.

Trailing 6-1, the Panthers pushed two runs across in the bottom of the seventh inning, but they couldn’t get any closer.

EJ Churchich had two hits for the Panthers, and he drove in two runs in the seventh inning with a base hit.

Junior McKinley Erves, the Panthers’ leading hitter last season, had two hits with a double and a run scored.

Judd Moore had an RBI single in the fourth inning, and he also walked and scored a run.

Joe Ruth walked four times and scored a run, and Trey Pearce and Jack Layrisson each reached on walks.

J.R. Robinson got the start for the Panthers, and he gave up five runs on seven hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Dalton Brooks, Baley Coleman and Spencer Douches combined for 5 1/3 shutout innings in relief.

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