Baseball: Panthers top Covenant 6-3 in USA South opener

Baseball: Panthers top Covenant 6-3 in USA South opener

LaGrange opened its USA South schedule with a 6-3 win over Covenant on Friday at Cleaveland Field in Williamson Stadium.

The Panthers (10-1, 1-0 USA South) got three hits that included two triples and three RBIs from center fielder James Poropatic and outstanding relief pitching from Austin Brown.

Ryan Broaderick started for LaGrange and went five innings. He gave up three runs, only two were earned, seven hits, walked one and struck out three.

Brown (1-0) pitched the final four innings to get the win. He allowed only two hits, did not walk a batter and struck out six.

Poropatic gave the Panthers a 2-0 lead in the fourth inning. Blane Swift walked with one out and moved over to third on Joe Pradat's single to center. Poropatic followed with a line drive to center that rolled all the way to the wall for a standup triple as Swift and Pradat scored easily.

Covenant (5-5, 0-1 USA South) came back with three runs in the top of the fifth to go up 3-2. It remainined that until the bottom of the sixth.

Swift led off the inning with a single, stole second, and moved over to third on Pradat's sacrifice bunt. Poropatic followed with a shot to right center for his second triple to tie the game.

With two outs, Casey Bell reached on an error as Poropatic came home with the go ahead run. After loading the bases, the Panthers picked up two more runs on a wild pitch and a passed ball for a 6-3 lead.

Brown gave up back-to-back two out singles in the top of the seventh. He retired the final seven batters he faced, striking out four of the last six batters.

The two teams play a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 1 p.m.