Baseball: Panthers over power Covenant 14-3 to open USA South series

Photo by Jacob Krzysiak
Photo by Jacob Krzysiak

24th-ranked LaGrange spotted Covenant a first inning lead, then roared back for a 14-3 USA South win Friday night at Cleaveland Field in Williamson Stadium. The Panthers upped their record to 16-6 overall and 9-3 in conference play. The Scots slipped to 10-10 on the season and 4-5 in conference play.

Covenant strung together four straight two-out hits to take a 3-0 lead in the first inning off J.R. Robinson (3-2). Robinson settled down, allowing just two hits over the next five innings. He struck out a season-high 11 and did not walk a batter. Coston Anderson struck out three in two innings, as the Panthers tied a team-season high with 14 strikeouts. Austin Brown pitched a scorless ninth inning.

LC answered the Scots with two runs in the bottom of the first off Matt Reitz (2-3). Joe Ruth reached on a two-out error to keep the inning going. E.J. Churchich got an infield single and Trey Pearce walked to load the bases. Rhett Hollon's opposite field single drove in two runs to make it 3-2.

The Panthers chased Reitz in the second inning. LC scored six runs in the inning, sending 11 batters to the plate. McKinley Erves' two-run double to deep center put LC up 4-3. Ruth followed with a single up the middle to plate two more runs to make it 6-3. Hollon and Liam Carbone added RBI singles each to cap the inning.

LC put the game out of reach with three more runs in the third to take an 11-3 lead. Ruth had a two-run triple to the wall in right center and Churchich followed with an RBI single. The Panthers added single runs in the fourth, sixth, and eighth innings.

The Panthers tied a team season-high with 18 hits. Ruth's four RBIs gave him 27 for the season, tying him for the conference lead. Erves finished the game with three hits and three RBIs. Hollon had two hits and the three RBIs. Judd Moore had two hits and scored two runs.

The two teams close out their three-game series Saturday with a doubleheader starting at 2 p.m.