LaGrange College baseball sweeps USA South series from Berea

Published 1:51 pm Monday, March 21, 2022

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LaGrange completed a weekend sweep of its USA South series with Berea in a twinbill Sunday at Cleaveland Field in Williamson Stadium. The Panthers run-ruled the Mountaineers (2-14) in both games, winning 14-2 in seven innings in Game 1 and 21-9 in eight innings in the second game.

The 12th-ranked Panthers ran their winning streak to eight games and their overall record to 17-1 and conference mark to 3-0. LC outscored Berea 47-11 in the three games. The Panthers set season highs for runs scored and hits (23) in the second game.

The Panthers’ first four batters in the lineup combined for 14 hits, 13 runs, and 13 RBIs in Game 2. Jack Layrisson had two doubles and a home run included in his four hits. He had four RBIs and is tied for the conference lead with 29. Joe Ruth also had four hits, including a double, and drove in three runs. Ruth is second to Layrisson with 27 RBIs. McKinley Erves had three hits, including a double, and scored three runs. He has scored a conference-leading 33 runs. Adam Dorn reached four times on three hits and a walk.

Layrisson staked the Panthers to a 4-1 lead in the first inning with a long three-run home run to center field. Berea came back with a run in the third and four more in the fourth to take a 6-4 lead.

LC took the lead for good with a six-run fifth inning to go up 10-6. The Mountaineers stayed close with two runs in the seventh to cut LC’s lead to 11-9. The Panthers answered with seven runs in the bottom of the seventh and three more in the eighth to end the game on the 12-run rule. Ruth had a two-run double in the seventh uprising. The game ended when Layrisson came home on a wild pitch for the 21-9 final.

Jack Richards, the second of three pitchers for the Panthers, got the win. Richards (3-0) gave up an unearned run in 2-1/3 innings of work. He walked one and struck out two.

In Game 1, Berea took a 2-1 lead with two runs in the second off LC starter Dalton Brooks. Brooks (3-0) got an inning-ending double play to get out of the jam. He retired the last 12 batters he faced. In six innings, he allowed the two runs, did not walk a batter, and struck out five.

The Panthers needed only 12 hits, taking advantage of nine walks issued by Mountaineer pitching. LC had five doubles and two triples in the game. Layrisson had a double and a triple with three RBIs. Parker Hughes had a double included in his two hits and drove in three runs. Erves had a triple and scored three times.

In the three-game series, Layrisson batted .692 (9-for-13) with three doubles, two triples, a home run and 10 RBIs. He had a 1.462 slugging percentage and a .688 on-base percentage. Erves went 5-for-8 (.625) and scored 10 runs. Ruth was 8-for-14 (.571) with two doubles, a home run, and nine RBIs.

The Panthers play at Birmingham-Southern on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Birmingham-Southern is currently ranked No. 3 in the Top 25 poll.