Baseball: Win streak reaches nine as Panthers sweep Methodist in USA South doubleheader

Baseball: Win streak reaches nine as Panthers sweep Methodist in USA South doubleheader

LaGrange ran its winning streak to nine games with a sweep of Methodist in a USA South doubleheader Sunday at Cleaveland Field in Williamson Stadium.

The Panthers (22-10, 10-4 USA South) came from behind to win the first game 11-8, then had four pitchers combine for a three-hitter in taking the second game 5-1.

The Panthers had to come from four runs down to win the first game. They jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning as Chad Pigg drove in two runs with a bases loaded single, followed by an RBI base hit from Joe Pradat.

Methodist (16-12, 7-7 USA South) came back to tie the game 3-3, but the Panthers got a run in the third to go back up 4-3. The Monarchs chased Panther starter Eric Morell with a five-run fifth inning to take a 8-4 lead.

The Panthers got a run back in their half of the fifth with the aid of a Monarch error to make it 8-5. In the sixth, the Panthers exploded for six runs to retake the lead.

The Panthers loaded the bases in the sixth with no outs. Blake Butcher cleared the bases with a triple to tie the game 8-8. Butcher scored the go-ahead run on a double play, then Keith Sims reached on a two-out throwing error as two more runs came home to give the Panthers an 11-8 lead.

Jonathan Fleckenstein (2-0) got the win in relief of Morell. Blake Schuck came on in the seventh with the bases loaded and struck out two straight batters to end the threat.

Adam DeWitt pitched a scoreless ninth inning to pick up his fourth save. The Monarchs loaded the bases with two outs but DeWitt ended the game on a strike out.

The Panthers had 14 hits in the game. Butcher, Pradat, and Cain Sauls all had three hits. 

Ryan Broaderick went six innings in the second game to run his record to 6-2. Broaderick allowed a run on just two hits. He walked two and struck out eight.

Zach Tatham, Schuck, and DeWitt gave up just one hit in each pitching a scorless inning to close out the game.

The Panthers took a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Sauls' double to right field scored Tavin Thompson, who led off the inning with a single and took second on an error on the play. Casey Bell came home on Butcher's fly out to center to make it 2-0.

Broaderick did not allow a hit through four innings. The Monarchs got their first two hits of the game in the fifth to drive in a run to cut the Panthers' lead in half, 2-1.

A couple of defensive replacements in the eighth inning had big contributions at the plate in the bottom of the inning.

Jackson Patrick, who took over at shortstop, led off the Panthers' eighth with a long double off the left field wall. He moved over to third on a ground out and scored on Sauls' base hit to right for a 3-1 lead. Pigg did not start the game and came on to catch the final two innings. He extended the Panthers' lead to 5-1 with a two-out two-run double to left field.

Sauls had three more hits in the second game, finishing the doubleheader 6-for-8.

The two teams conclude the three-game series Monday at 2 p.m.