BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - LaGrange and Birmingham-Southern each used big innings as they split the first two games of their NCAA Birmingham Regional on Friday at Striplin Field. Birmingham-Southern won Game 1 15-6 and the Panthers took Game 2 11-7. Games 3 and 4 are Saturday beginning at 2 p.m.
The Panthers led 4-0 before a one hour weather delay at the start of the sixth inning of the second game. Gibson Bittner allowed two hits before the delay. After play resumed, BSC got two runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh to lead 5-4.
LC answered with a seven-run outburst in the bottom of the seventh. McKinley Erves reached on an error to start the inning. Joe Ruth reached on a second straight error, scoring Erves with the tying run. Jack Layrisson, who had a two-run double in the third, singled to drive in Ruth with the go-ahead run. Trey Pearce and Rhett Hollon would each have RBI doubles in the inning. Every Panther in the starting lineup would have at least one hit in the game. Tanner Chafin (3-1) pitched the final three innings to pick up the win.
In the first game, BSC took a 3-0 lead off Austin Fain (6-1). Cael Chatham's RBI double got LC on the board. Layrisson tied the game with a two-run home run and Austin McDade followed with a solo shot to put the Panthers ahead 4-3 after four. The host Panthers answered with nine runs in the bottom of the fifth to go up 12-4. Ruth led LC's 12-hit attack with three hits and scored the run. Layrisson finished with two hits and three RBIs.