LaGrange beat visiting Birmingham-Southern to open the 2019 season Friday at Cleaveland Field at Williamson Stadium. The Panthers snapped a nine-game losing streak to BSC dating back to the 2012 season.
Freshman outfielder Joe Ruth had two hits, including a triple, and drove in three runs to lead LC's 9-hit attack. First baseman Trey Pearce also had two hits. Rhett Hollon and Austin McDade each had a double.
Junior Richie Post (1-0) pitched into the sixth inning to get the win. Post gave up both BSC runs, only one was earned, while scattering six hits. Tanner Chafin, Spencer Douches, and Michael Menheart combined for 3-1/3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing two hits.
Sophomore Jack Layrisson, making his first start at third base, had six assists in the game. He started both double plays turned by the Panthers in the game.
LC grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first inning off Jake Cook (0-1), the Southern Athletic Association Pitcher of the Year last seaso. Christ West's ground out brought in McKinley Erves with the first run of the season. Pearce followed with a two-out single to score Layrisson with the second run. Five of the Panthers' seven runs came with two outs.
Ruth drove in two runs with a bases-loaded single in the fourth and McDade's RBI double in the fifth put LC up 5-1. In the sixth, Ruth tripled to right center to drive in Erves and later scored on a base hit by West to make it 7-2.
The two teams play a doubleheader Saturday in Birmingham. The Panthers host Emory on Tuesday at 5 p.m.