Baseball: Butcher, Morell lead Panthers past No. 7 Emory 5-0

Baseball: Butcher, Morell lead Panthers past No. 7 Emory 5-0

Senior Eric Morell pitched a complete game, while junior Blake Butcher hit a home run and drove in three runs as LaGrange blanked No. 7 Emory 5-0 on Saturday at Chappell Park.

The Panthers have now won seven straight games, improving to 20-10 on the season. Emory is now 20-7.

Morell (7-1) gave up nine hits, walked one, and struck out nine in getting his first complete game of the season. He preserved the shutout in the ninth by working out of a bases loaded jam. Morell recorded 141 pitches in the game.

Butcher backed Morell's pitching by going 3-for-5, including his team-leading seventh home run of the season and the three RBIs. 

"Morell pitched a great game from start to finish. He set the tone and our guys fed off him," said Coach David Kelton. "We were able to get some key hits that produced some big runs and that was all Morell needed. This was a huge win for us and the program. Our guys are playing confident baseball and I could not be more proud of them.

The Panthers got an unearned run off Hans Hansen (5-1) in the second inning. Chad Pigg ended up on second after an error with two outs. Joe Pradat followed with a base hit up the middle to drive in Pigg for a 1-0 lead.

Butcher led off the sixth with his home run over the left field fence to make it 2-0. In the seventh, Casey Bell's two-out triple scored Keith Sims. Butcher followed with a single to up the Panthers' lead to 4-0. He added an RBI single in the ninth for the Panthers' final run.

The Panthers host Methodist in a USA South series next weekend. The teams play a doubleheader Saturday, followed by a single game Sunday.