Baseball: Panthers edge Berry 10-9 to improve to 3-0 on season

Baseball: Panthers edge Berry 10-9 to improve to 3-0 on season

MOUNT BERRY, Ga. - LaGrange spoiled Berry's season opener with a 10-9 win Wednesday at Bowdoin Field. The game was originally scheduled to be a home game for the Panthers, but inclement weather forced the location change.

The Panthers (3-0) needed only nine hits in the game, taking advantage of five Viking errors. Blake Butcher and Cain Sauls each homered, while Casey Bell had three hits and RBIs each.

Berry (0-1) put up five runs in the third inning off starter Colin Barrett to wipe out a 2-0 LC lead. Barrett allowed the five runs, only one was earned, in three innings of work.

The Panthers came back in the top of the fourth with seven runs to regain the lead. Bell's two-run single put the Panthers up 6-5. Butcher followed with a two-run home run, then Sauls capped the inning with a solo shot to make it 9-5.

The Vikings came back with a run in each of th fourth and fifth innings off reliever Josh Smith. Jonathan Fleckenstein (1-0) relieved Smith in the fifth.

After Berry tied the game 9-9 in the seventh, the Panthers pushed across the go-ahead run in the top of the eighth. 

James Poropatic's fly ball was misplayed into a three-base error. He scored on Tavin Thompson's second sacrifice fly of the game to give the Panthers a 10-9 lead.

Fleckenstein surrendered a lead-off single in the eighth, then retired the final six batters to seal the win. The senior pitched a career-high 4-1/3 innings, walking one and striking out four in his longest collegiate outing.

The Panthers face Rhodes at the Huntingdon Tournament on Friday at 1 p.m. EST.