By Joshua J. Darling, Sports Information Director
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – In an early season titanic tilt, No. 2/3 LaGrange (1-1, 0-0 CCS) surrendered two four-run innings in the first four frames as they dropped a 9-5 decision at No. 4/4 Birmingham-Southern (3-1, 0-0 SAA) in an NCAA Division III baseball game on Saturday, February 18.
Following a scoreless first inning and top of the second, BSC would explode for a four-run bottom of the second with the benefit of just one hit and an error. Those led to four unanswered runs that began with a bases loaded walk and ended with an Andrew Dutton triple to right that cleared the bases.
The Panthers would scratch back a pair of runs in the top of the fourth as they scored on an errant throw and sophomore outfielder Jorge Fragoso singled up the middle to cut the deficit in half. It would not stay that way as Birmingham-Southern used four hits, including RBI doubles from Dutton and Ian Hancock, to break it open at 8-2.
LaGrange would add three more runs over the next two innings, the first loudly off the bat of senior outfielder Rhett Mixon (Loganville, Ga.) who ripped a fifth inning leadoff shot over the fence. A single, wild pitch and fly out then set the stage for junior catcher David Smigelski (Canton, Ga.) to poke a single to left to cut it to 8-4.
They would add another as senior first baseman Matt Eden belted a one out solo shot over the right field fence in the top of the sixth but would come no closer. BSC tacked on an insurance run in the seventh and then closed out the 9-5 victory an inning and a half later.
Dutton delivered a 2-for-5 day to lead the homestanding Panthers but the real story was how he did it, registering a double and a triple to fuel four RBIs. Will Lantis went 2-for-3 with two runs and a pair of RBIs and Hancock finished with a double, two RBIs and a run scored. Joey White started on the hill and threw six innings that saw him give up three earned runs, none of which prevented him from getting the win and moving to 2-0 on the young season.
LaGrange, meanwhile, saw junior shortstop Adam Dorn go 2-for-4 with a pair of runs while Eden and Mixon belted solo shots to anchor the offense. Smigelski added a 2-for-4 day that included an RBI and junior pitcher Dalton Brooks (Sharpsburg, Ga.) went three innings, surrendering seven runs, six earned and striking out four.
The Panthers return to action tomorrow, Sunday, February 19 as they wrap up the BSC Spring Invitational against Millsaps. First pitch is slated for 4:15 p.m.