Baseball: Panthers blank Huntingdon 9-0 in first game of USA South conference series

Baseball: Panthers blank Huntingdon 9-0 in first game of USA South conference series

MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Three pitchers combined on a four-hit shutout as LaGrange beat Huntingdon 9-0 Friday night at Posey Field. The game was the first of a three-game USA South conference series.

The Panthers (11-9, 3-4 USA South) pounded out 14 hits, including three doubles and triples each. The win stopped a three-game losing skid for the Panthers.

Eric Morell, Jonathan Fleckenstein, and Adam DeWitt handed the Hawks (10-8, 2-2 USA South) their second shutout of the season. The Panthers' pitching staff recorded its third shutout of the season.

Morell pitched six innings in raising his season record to 5-1. He gave up three hits, walked four, and struck out six. Morell walked the bases loaded in the first inning, but got out of the jam. He retired the side in order once, while stranding eight Hawk runners.

Fleckenstein pitched two perfect innings, while striking out four. DeWitt pitched around a base hit in the ninth to close out the win.

The Panthers' first four batters combined for nine hits, four runs, and five RBIs. Tavin Thompson had three hits, including a triple. Blake Butcher drove in three runs with a double and a triple. Casey Bell had a double included in his two hits, while Cain Sauls had a pair of singles.

The Panthers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Butcher reached on an error, as Thompson came home for the game's first run. In the fourth, the Panthers added to their lead with three runs. Thompson's two-run single capped the inning.

The Panthers added to their lead in each of the last three innings. Butcher's double drove in a run in the seventh. Joe Pradat had an RBI triple, followed by Keith Sim's double to up the lead to 7-0 in the eighth. The Panthers closed out the scoring in the ninth on Butcher's triple and an RBI single by Chad Pigg for the 9-0 final. 

The two teams resume the series Saturday at 4 p.m. EST.