LaGrange stretched its winning streak to seven games with a sweep of the University of Dallas on Saturday at Cleaveland Field in Williamson Stadium. The Panthers (8-4) won 8-2 in the first game and 18-1 in seven innings in the day's second game.
LC banged out 32 hits in the game, including a season-high 18 in the second game. Rhett Mixon and Joe Ruth each had five hits on the day. E.J. Churchich drove in six runs on threee hits, including a double and his team-leading third home run of the season. Cael Chatham and Jack Layrisson each had three hits and three RBIs in the second game. Layrisson had two triples included in his hits and also scored four runs.
The Panthers got outstanding starting pitching. J.R. Robinson (4-0) allowed two runs in seven innings to pick up the win in Game 1. Robinson scattered six hits, walked one and struck out seven. In the second game, Dalton Brooks surrendered only a first inning run in five innings of work. Brooks struck out a team season-high nine batters. Tyler Harris threw two scoreless innings of relief in the second game.
The Panthers built a 3-0 lead through six innings. Churchich, Layrisson, and Trey Pearce each had sacrifice flies to drive in the runs. The Panthers broke it open in the seventh inning, scoring four runs to chase starter Conrad Voss (3-1). Mixon led off the seventh with a bunt single and came all the way around to score on McKinley Erves' double. Ruth drove in Erves with a base hit, then Churchich capped the inning with a two-run double to left center to make it 7-0.
Robinson sailed through the first seven innings. He was aided by three double plays turned by the Panthers. Robinson left after facing two batters in the eighth. The Crusaders (7-3) avoided the shutout with a hit off reliever Tanner Chafin. Chafin finished the eighth, then threw a scoreless ninth inning to close out the game.
Dallas got a first inning run off Brooks. The Panthers answered by scoring in each of their six at-bats in the game. LC's first six runs and eight overall all came with two outs. In the first, Ruth kept the inning going with a single. Layrisson followed with a triple off the right field fence, scoring on Chatham's base hit for 2-1 lead.
The Panthers built on their lead each inning. They had four runs in the second and three more in the third to make it 9-1. In the fourth, Churchich went deep over the left field fence for a three-run home run. The Panthers added one more run in the inning to make it 13-1.
Chatham's run-scoring single added a run in the fifth. LC tacked on four more runs on just two hits in the sixth for final 18-1 margin. The game was stopped by the 12-run mercy rule after Harris pitched his second scoreless inning in the seventh.
Every starter for the Panthers had at least one hit in the game. In addition to Chatham and Layrisson's three hits each; Mixon, Ruth, and Austin McDade all had two hits. McDade had a double included in his hits.
The two teams close out the weekend series with a single game Sunday beginning at 12 p.m.