Baseball: Panthers hold off Methodist for 10th straight win and third conference series sweep in a row

Baseball: Panthers hold off Methodist for 10th straight win and third conference series sweep in a row

LaGrange held off Methodist 7-6 on Monday at Cleaveland Field in Williamson Stadium. The win completed a three-game sweep of the USA South conference series against the Monarchs.

The Panthers are now 23-10 after their 10th straight win, the longest for the team since the 2005 season. The winning streak is the fourth longest by a Panther team in the NCAA era.

The Panthers improved to 11-4 in USA South play, and moved percentage points ahead of N.C. Wesleyan for second place in the conference standings behind Ferrum. The Panthers have also swept three straight conference series for the first time since 2005.

The Panthers had to overcome an early two-run deficit and five errors Monday. Methodist (16-13, 7-8 USA South) took a 2-0 first inning lead off starter Andrew Weekley (4-1), ending his 22-1/3 innings scoreless streak.

Weekley pitched six innings to get the win. He allowed four runs, three earned, walked none and struck out four.

The Panthers got a run back in their of the first on Cain Sauls' RBI single to center. They took a 4-2 lead in the second on a run-scoring base hit by Jacob Gassert and a two-out two-run double by Tavin Thompson.

After the Monarchs tied the game with two runs in the third, the Panthers built a 6-4 lead with a run in the fourth and another in the fifth. Casey Bell's double to deep center scored Keith Sims from first in the fourth. In the fifth, Blake Butcher doubled to the right field corner and came around to score on Chad Pigg's RBI hit.

Methodist closed the gap with an unearned run off reliever Jonathan Fleckenstein in the seventh. The Panthers got a big insurance run in the eighth.

Sims and Thompson walked with one out in the eighth. Casey Bell's line drive to center was lost in the sun and dropped in for a hit to load the bases. Sauls reached safely after hitting off the leg of reliever Aaron O'Neil as Sims scored to make 7-5.

The Monarchs rallied off Panther closer Adam DeWitt in the ninth. They pushed across a run to cut the Panthers' lead to 7-6 and had the tying run on second with one out. DeWitt closed out the game by retiring the final two batters.

The Panthers host Millsaps in a non-conference doubleheader Tuesday beginning at 2 p.m. Both games are scheduled for 7 innings.