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February 28, 2012

Late-game rally not enough for No. 23 Panthers against LaGrange

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—The 23rd-ranked Birmingham-Southern baseball team scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to cut the lead to 7-6 but it wasn't enough as the Panthers fell to LaGrange at home, Tuesday evening.

After winning five straight games, BSC falls to 5-4 on the season. LaGrange moves to 4-8.

The Panthers from LaGrange went up early in the game, leading 3-0 after the top of the second inning and holding on to that lead until the bottom of the fourth, when BSC scored twice courtesy of a two-RBI single from sophomore Evan Grovenstein.

LaGrange answered with two runs in the top of the fifth to go up 5-2, and then two more in the top of the seventh to go up 7-2.

BSC began a four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh, scoring on a wild pitch and an RBI single from sophomore Ethan Netherton to cut the LaGrange lead to 7-4. Junior right-hander Blake Yance came in to pitch the last two innings and held LaGrange scoreless in the top of the eighth and ninth while giving up only one hit.

In the bottom of the ninth with a chance to win, junior Bruce Maxwell led off with a double to left field, and freshman David Bourbonnais followed that up with a double to left-center, scoring Maxwell to cut the lead to 7-5. Sophomore Kevin Shelton walked after that on a wild pitch, and Bourbonnais went to third, followed by a sacrifice fly-out from junior Brandon Perry for the first out of the inning to cut the LaGrange lead to 7-6. Grovenstein was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second, but the Panthers weren't able to score again, with the last two outs coming off an infield pop-up and a strikeout.

Maxwell recorded two of BSC's 10 hits, going 2-of-2 at the plate, while Grovenstein led with two RBI. LaGrange had seven hits, led by Doug Scherer with three.

The BSC Panthers struggled bringing runners home, leaving 13 on-base, and also committed four errors.

Sophomore Miles Nordgren started on the mound and took the loss, falling to 0-2 after giving up three hits and two earned runs with one strikeout in the first two innings. Sophomore Ralls Pennington came in for the next four innings, giving up two hits, and freshman Ryan Hawks pitched the seventh, allowing one hit with one strikeout. Yance came in for the final two innings.

BSC is on the road this weekend, traveling to face in-state rival Huntingdon on Saturday, March 3, in a 1 p.m. doubleheader before returning home on Sunday, March 4, for a single 2 p.m. game against the Hawks.