Baseball: Panthers set season highs in runs, hits in Game 1; split USA South DH with Piedmont

Baseball: Panthers set season highs in runs, hits in Game 1; split USA South DH with Piedmont

The LaGrange baseball team got to play at Cleaveland Field in Williamson Stadium for the first time this season Sunday. The Panthers (10-7, 2-3 USA South) split a USA South conference doubleheader with Piedmont, winning the first game 14-1, while the Lions (9-5, 2-3 USA South) took the second game 3-1.

Game 1
The Panthers set season highs with the 14 runs and 18 hits off three Piedmont pitchers. Eric Morell improved to 4-1 by going seven innings to get the win. He allowed an unearned run in the first inning and just two hits. Morell walked one and struck out five.

Casey Bell gave the Panthers and Morell a 6-1 cushion in the second inning with a grand slam home run off Piedmont starter Riley Presnell (1-3). The home run was Bell's first collegiate one and the first grand slam since James Hall hit one on April 22, 2013 against Emory.

The Panthers blew the game open with a six-run sixth inning. They added two more runs in the eighth for the 14-1 final.

Bell finished with three hits, three runs scored, and five RBIs. Tavin Thompson also had three hits and scored three times. Chad Pigg drove in three runs with a double and a sacrifice fly. Every Panther starter had at least one hit.

Game 2
The Lions got two runs off starter Ryan Broaderick (2-2) and an unearned run off reliever Jonathan Fleckenstein to earn a split of the twinbill. Ben McCurley (2-0) went five innings to get the win for the Lions, while Josh Thomas pitched a scoreless ninth to pick up his seventh save of the season.

The Lions took a 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the fourth inning. The runs ended a 22-inning scoreless streak for Broaderick, who walked two and struck out six in five innings of work.

The Panthers got a run back in their half of the fourth. Kyle Gutowski's two-out single to right center drove in Blane Swift, who had reached on a one-out infield hit.

The Panthers finished the game with 10 hits. Thompson, Bell, and Swift all had two hits each. Thompson extended his hitting streak to 17 games and is batting a team-leading .439.

The Panthers play nationally-ranked Berry on Tuesday in Thomasville, Ga. at Thomas University.