Baseball: Panthers' USA South Tournament run ends with loss to Huntingdon

Baseball: Panthers' USA South Tournament run ends with loss to Huntingdon

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. - LaGrange's run in the USA South Tournament came to an end Saturday with a 6-2 loss to Huntingdon in Fleming Stadium.

The Panthers (30-13) had defeated N.C. Wesleyan 7-3 earlier in the day for their third straight tournament win. Both of the Panthers' two losses in the tournament came against Huntingdon (22-17).

Junior Josh Smith gave the Panthers a strong pitching performance in the day's first game. Smith pitched 6-1/3 innings, allowing two runs,  but only one was earned. He walked three and struck out four. 

The Panthers built a 3-0 lead with two runs in the third inning and another in the sixth. Cain Sauls had a two-out two-run single in the third. Chad Pigg's infield hit accounted for the third run.

The Bishops cut the Panthers' lead to 3-2 in the seventh. Jonathan Fleckenstein relieved Smith with one out. After a groundout produced a run, Justin DiSanto singled to right to drive in another run. But right fielder Blane Swift threw DiSanto out at second trying to stretch the hit into a double for the third out.

With the help of two Bishop errors on one play, the Panthers came back with three runs in the eighth to go up 6-2. Sauls drove in his third run of the game with a double to make it 4-2. With Sauls on second and Blake Butcher on first, Pigg flied out to deep center. Sauls tagged up and moved over to third and scored when the throw to the infield got away. Butcher came all the way around from first as the result of another throwing error on the play.

The Panthers pushed across an unearned in the ninth to go up 7-3. Fleckenstein closed out the game with a scoreless ninth inning.

In the final game, Huntingdon built a 6-0 lead through four innings. The Panthers got their runs on a sacrifice fly by Jacob Gassert in the fifth, and the other in the eighth when Tavin Thompson scored on a wild pitch.