LAGRANGE, Ga. -- A three-run fifth inning and a strong start from Zach Tatham lifted host LaGrange past the Covenant baseball team 6-2 on Friday evening in game one of a three-game USA South series at Cleaveland Field.
The loss is the fifth straight for Covenant (6-6, 3-4 USA South). LaGrange improves to 4-8 overall and 4-6 in league play.
Covenant took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning. Back-to-back singles from Will Carlton and Caleb Bloye set up the Scots with runners on the corners and one out. Bloye would be picked off at first, but Alex Kerr came through with an infield single with two outs giving Covenant the lead.
LaGrange rallied for three runs in the fifth off Covenant starter Garrett Kriston, who was looking sharp through the first four innings. The Panthers loaded the bases with no outs after a leadoff double was followed by a single and a walk. Keith Sims lofted a sacrifice fly to center field and two batters later Ty Edwards produced a run-scoring single to give the Panthers a 3-1 lead.
LaGrange added a run in the sixth on an Alec Redden RBI single and single runs in the seventh and eighth innings to go ahead 6-1. Covenant scratched across a run in the ninth as Kerr led off with a single and Ryan Reilly doubled followed by a KC Simons RBI groundout. LaGrange reliever Blake Schuck would halt the damage from there as he got the final out of the inning to secure the victory.
Kerr and Simons each went 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Bloye also recorded a pair of hits. Kriston (2-2) lasted seven innings allowing four earned runs on six hits with eight strikeouts.
Tatham (1-1) allowed one run on six hits in seven innings of work for the Panthers. Schuck threw the final two innings. Sims had one hit, but produced two RBIs while Redden finished 2-for-4 with an RBI.
The two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday with first pitch of game one set for 1 p.m.