Baseball: Panthers top Piedmont 5-2 to open USA South Tournament

Baseball: Panthers top Piedmont 5-2 to open USA South Tournament

Top-seeded LaGrange opened the USA South Tournament on Wednesday with a 5-2 win over Piedmont at Cleaveland Field in Williamson Stadium.

The Panthers, ranked third nationally, improved to 32-4 on the season. They will play the Maryville-Huntingdon winner Thursday at 10 a.m. at West Point Park in West Point, Ga.

Ryan Broaderick started and went six innings to raise his record to 8-0. He pitched out of bases loaded one-out jam in the fourth and stranded runners on second and third in the sixth. Broaderick allowed a run on five hits, walked four and struck out five. Jonathan Fleckenstein closed out the game to earn his third save. He gave up an unearned run in the ninth in three innings of work.

Blane Swift paced the Panthers' 10-hit attack with three hits including two doubles. Tavin Thompson had two doubles, a run scored, and an RBI.

Piedmont (17-18), seeded eighth, took a 1-0 lead in the third on Wes Snyder's RBI single. The Panthers answered with two runs in their half of the third.

James Poropatic singled with one out and went to third on Thompson's double to right center. Casey Bell's sacrifice bunt scored Poropatic to tie the game. Blake Butcher's two-out single scored Thompson to make it 2-1.

After Broaderick escaped a bases loaded jam in the fourth, the Panthers came back with three runs in the bottom of the inning. Chad Pigg's sacrifice bunt brought in the first run, while Joe Pradat and Thompson had RBI doubles.