ATLANTA, Ga. - Joe Ruth's career game carried second-ranked LaGrange past Oglethorpe 20-9 on Tuesday night at Hermance Stadium. The Panthers (25-3) avenged a 9-7 loss to the Stormy Petrels (16-15) on March 29.
Ruth set a new NCAA-era school game record with three home runs and tied the NCAA-era school record with eight RBIs. He tied his career best with five hits: the three home runs, along with a double and a triple. Ruth recorded his 200th career hit with a home run to lead off the eighth inning. He raised his season batting average to .463, with six home runs and 50 RBIs, all team bests. Ruth is the first Panther to have 50 RBIs in a season since Blake Butcher had 50 in 2017.
The Panthers smashed a new team game record with six home runs. In addition to Ruth's three home runs, Jared Aldridge, Cael Chatham, and Rhett Hebert also went deep. The Panthers had 18 hits in the game, 13 for extra bases. The 20 runs marked the 17th time the Panthers have scored in double figures this season.
Ruth's first home run, a two-run shot to right center put LC up 5-2 in the second inning. Oglethorpe came back with a run in its half of the second and four more in the fourth to take a 7-5 lead.
The Panthers retook the lead for good with a three-run fifth inning. Hebert's two-out two-run single gave LC an 8-7 lead. The Panthers outscored the Stormy Petrels 15-2 the rest of the way.
Ruth hit a three-run home run in the sixth to up the lead to 11-7 and then hit his third of the game to lead off the eighth inning. Chatham added a solo home run later in the eighth inning to make it 14-7.
Hebert led off the ninth with his first collegiate home run. Ruth capped his night with an RBI triple and came home on Chatham's double. Aldridge capped the six-run inning with a three-run home run down the left field line. It was his third home run of the season.
Hayden Stone allowed three runs in two innings in his first start of the season. Jacob Brown picked up the win after surrendering four runs in two innings. Tanner Chafin gave up an unearned run on three hits in four innings of work. Ethan Kramer allowed an unearned run in the ninth inning.
The Panthers are scheduled to start a three-game USA South series with Piedmont on Thursday at Cleaveland Field in Williamson Stadium. Game time is 7 p.m.