Behind a career game from McKinley Erves and Joe Ruth setting another record; No. 4 LaGrange beat Covenant 11-2 in the USA South Tournament Bracket #2 on Friday at Cleaveland Field in Williamson Stadium. The Panthers (34-6) are the lone unbeaten team in the bracket.
Covenant (22-18) plays William Peace, who eliminated Methodist 14-10, on Saturday at 1 p.m. The winner advances to play LC at 4:30. A win by the Panthers sends them to next weekend's championship series.
Erves had a career-high five hits, scored four runs, and had three RBIs. He came within a home run of hitting for the cycle. Erves has broken the school record for runs in a season with 75, breaking Michael Sims' record of 73 set in 2008.
Joe Ruth broke Danny Little's record of 86 hits in a season set in 1988. Ruth had three hits and drove in another three runs, giving him 77 on the season. Ruth's third hit of the game, a double off the right field fence in the seventh, broke Little's record.
The Panthers finished the game with 22 hits. In two games, the Panthers have scored 38 runs and had 47 hits. Jared Aldridge had three hits, including a double, and had three RBIs. Gabe Pallo also had three hits, while Rhett Mixon had two doubles and scored two runs.
Mixon and Erves opened the game with back-to-back doubles, followed by Ruth's RBI single for a quick 2-0 lead. Aldridge's two-out single scored the third run in the first. The Panthers added three more runs in the second to open a 6-0 lead. Erves had a two-run single in the inning.