No. 20 LaGrange came back from a 6-0 deficit to defeat USA South leader Pfeiffer 7-6 in 10 innings Friday night at Cleaveland Field in Williamson Stadium. Jack Layrisson's two-out single gave the Panthers (23-8, 14-4 USA South) the walk-off victory in their first ever meeting with Pfeiffer (21-5, 12-4 USA South), who saw its 10-game winning streak end.
Pfeiffer led 6-0 heading to the bottom of the third. LC got three runs in its half of the third to cut the Falcons' lead in half. Layrisson reached on a two-out error with the bases loaded to bring in the first run of the inninng. Trey Pearce followed with a hard shot off the glove of third baseman Blake Winebarger to bring in two runs to make it 6-3.
The Panthers got a run in the fifth and another in the sixth to make it 6-5. Joe Ruth led off the fourth with a single and scored on Pearce's two-out double to right. In the sixth, Cael Chatham came home on a balk. Chatham had two doubles in the game to run his hitting streak to 15 games. In the eighth, pinch-hitter Judd Moore opened the inning with a base hit. He moved over to third on a sacrifice bunt and ground out. McKinley Erves greeted reliever Bryce Marsh with a triple to right to drive in Moore with the tying run.
Chatham started the 10th for LC with a walk and moved up to second on a wild pitch. Ruth was intentionally walked with one out. Both runners moved up when pinch-hitter Chris West grounded out. Layrisson followed with a hard hit grounder off the glove of second baseman Ira Dorin to score Chatham with the winning run. It was almost five years to the day the last time the Panthers rallied from a 6-0 hole. On April 6, 2014, the Panthers trailed Piedmont 6-0 in the third before winning 12-7 in 12 innings.
The two pitching staffs combined for 24 strikeouts and 17 walks in the game. J.R. Robinson started and pitched into the fifth, allowing six runs, five earned. Tanner Chafin relieved Robinson and allowed only one hit in three innings of work. Gibson Bittner (5-3) came on for Chafin in the eighth with one out. Bittner went the final 2-2/3 innings to pick up the win. He gave up one hit, walked three, and struck out three.
The two teams resume the series Saturday. The game time has been changed to 12 p.m.