Baseball: Swift's bat helps Panthers survive elimination in USA South Tournament

Baseball: Swift's bat helps Panthers survive elimination in USA South Tournament

WILSON, N.C. - Blane Swift's bat helped LaGrange survive two elimination games Friday at the USA South tournament in Fleming Stadium.

Swift drove in the go-ahead run in the Panthers' come-from-behind 6-5 win over Averett in the second game of the day. Earlier, He had four hits and drove in three runs in an 11-0 win against Covenant. In the two games, Swift was 7-for-9 with a triple, five RBIs, and scored three runs.

The Panthers improved to 29-12 with the two wins. They will face either Ferrum or N.C. Wesleyan on Saturday at 3 p.m.

The Panthers took a 4-1 lead into the eighth inning against Averett. The Cougars (20-17) rallied for four runs off starter Andrew Weekley to take a 5-4 lead. Blake Schuck (2-0) relieved Weekley and gave up a hit before getting the final two outs of the inning.

The Panthers answered with a rally of their own in the bottom of the inning. Tavin Thompson walked to lead off the inning and moved up to second on Casey Bell's sacrifice.

Cain Sauls followed with game-tying double to left center as Thompson came around to score. After Blake Butcher was hit by a pitch, and with two outs, Swift delivered his go-ahead RBI single to drive in Sauls for a 6-5 lead.

Schuck retired the side in order in the ninth, striking out the first two batters. He struck out four in a 1-1/3 inning stint.

The Panthers had little trouble in downing Covenant (20-17). Ryan Broaderick improved to 8-2 with six shutout innings. In two starts this season against the Scots, Broaderick threw 15 scoreless innings and allowed only six hits. Jonathan Fleckenstein threw two innings and Zach Tatham completed the shutout with a scoreless ninth.