Baseball: Walk-off win, big first inning propel Panthers' sweep of Millsaps

Baseball: Walk-off win, big first inning propel Panthers' sweep of Millsaps

LaGrange ran its winning streak to 12 games with a doubleheader sweep of Millsaps on Tuesday at Cleaveland Field in Williamson Stadium.

Keith Sims' base hit in the bottom of the eighth of Game 1 gave the Panthers a 5-4 walk-off win. The Panthers exploded for seven first inning runs and went on to win Game 2 10-2. Both games were scheduled for 7 innings.

The Panthers improved to 25-10 with the two victories over the Majors (16-15). The sweep gave the Panthers a 3-1 season record against the Majors, with three of the four games decided by one run.

The Panthers' 25 wins are second only to top-ranked Texas-Tyler's 26 in Division III. The current 12-game winning streak is tied for the third-longest in the NCAA era by a Panther team.

Millsaps took a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the first game off Austin Brown. The Panthers came back with two runs in the third inning.

Tavin Thompson got a one-out base hit and stole second. Casey Bell followed with a double to drive in Thompson. Bell then stole third and scored on Cain Saul's single to left to put the Panthers up 2-1.

The Majors answered with two runs in the fourth and one more in the sixth to build a 4-2 lead. Brown worked six innings, allowing the four runs, three of those were earned. He walked one and struck out three.

The Panthers rallied in the bottom half of the sixth to tie the game. They loaded the bases with two outs on an infield hit by Blake Butcher, and walks to Blane Swift and Joe Pradat. Jacob Gassert lined a single to left to drive home Butcher and Swift to tie the game 4-4.

Zach Tatham (1-0) worked around a lead off walk and an error to strand the go-ahead run at third in the Majors' half of the eighth inning.

In the bottom of the inning, Pradat singled through the left side with one out. James Poropatic, running for Pradat, stole second and Gassert was intentionally walked. Sims ended the game with a single up the middle as Porpatic came around to score for the 5-4 final.

The Panthers opened the second game by sending 11 batters to the plate in the first inning to take a 7-0 lead. Butcher's RBI double scoring Bell opened the scoring. Swift added a two-run single, followed by run-scoring base hits by Gassert and Sims. Bell, batting for the second time in the inning, drove in the final two runs of the inning with a long single.

The Panthers eventually built a 10-0 lead. Josh Smith (1-1) worked into the sixth inning, allowing just an unearned run on two hits. He walked three and struck out two.

The Panthers host Maryville in a three-game USA South conference series starting Friday at 7 p.m.