WEST POINT, Ga. - No. 23 LaGrange outlasted Greensboro 9-7 in the USA South Tournament opener for both teams Thursday. The Panthers (27-9) will face Methodist in the winners' bracket at 10 a.m. on Friday at Cleaveland Field. Greensboro (18-17) plays Maryville in an elimination game Friday.
LC had 12 hits in the game. Cael Chatham and McKinley Erves each had three hits and scored two runs. Judd Moore had a pair of hits and two RBIs. Austin McDade's two-run home run highlighted a four-run fifth inning that put the Panthers ahead to stay.
E.J. Churchich's two-run single in the first staked the Panthers to a 2-0 lead. The Pride came back with three runs in the top of the second off starter J.R. Robinson to take the lead. LC came back with three runs in its half of the third to go up 5-3. Moore had a two-run hit and Jack Layrisson added a run-scoring single in the inning. Tyler Price greeted reliever Gibson Bittner (7-3) in the fourth with a two-run home run to tie the game 5-5.
The Panthers answered once again, scoring four times in the fifth. Joe Ruth and Churchich reached on errors to start the inning. Trey Pearce drove in both runners with a base hit to break the tie. Two outs later, McDade hit his second home run of the season to make it 9-5. Greensboro got a run in the seventh and another in the ninth for the 9-7 final. Tanner Chaffin pitched the final two innings to pick up his fifth save of the season.