LaGrange ran its record to 5-0 with a doubleheader sweep of Spalding on Saturday at Cleaveland Field. The Panthers run-ruled the Eagles (0-2) in both games, winning 15-1 in the first game and completing the sweep with a 12-2 second game win.
The second game provided Coach David Kelton his 200th career win, coming in his ninth season with the Panthers. Kelton has guided LC to four consecutive USA South championships and trips to the NCAA Division III tournament.
The Panthers banged out 16 hits and scored in all six of their at-bats in Game 1. Jack Layrisson had four hits, scored two runs, and had four RBIs. Joe Ruth had a double and a triple included in his four hits, while driving in three runs.
The Panthers roughed up Spalding starter Peyton Hood, a preseason All-American. Hood (0-1) gave up six earned runs on seven hits in three innings. Baley Coleman (2-0) got the win for the Panthers. Coleman threw five shutout innings, allowed two hits, walked three and struck out three.
LC got a run in the first inning and another in the second for a 2-0 lead. The Panthers broke the game open with four runs in the third inning, Ruth had a run-scoring triple in the inning. The Panthers continued to build on the lead over the next three innings with nine more runs.
Spalding scored two runs off LC starter Dalton Brooks (2-0) in the fourth inning of the second game for a 2-0 lead. Brooks went 5-1/3 innings, allowing the two runs on two hits, walked four, and struck out six.
The Panthers were limited by Garrett Mathews to two hits over the first three innings and left the bases loaded in the second inning. In the bottom of the fourth, with two outs, Cael Chatham and Rhett Hebert drew back-to-back walks. Jared Aldridge deposited a Matthews' fastball over the left field fence to put LC up 3-2. It was Aldridge's first collegiate home run.
LC went on to get three runs in the fifth, two in the sixth, and closed out the game with a four-run seventh. The Panthers had four sacrifice flies in the game, one short of tying the NCAA Division III game record.
Aldridge added an RBI single in the fifth, finishing with a career-high four RBIs, along with the home run. Ruth had three more hits, including two doubles, scored a run, and had an RBI. In five games, Ruth is batting .565 with nine RBIs. Layrisson had two sacrifice flies in the game and leads the team with 11 RBIs.
The two teams conclude their three-game series Sunday. Game time is 12 p.m.