The LaGrange Panthers baseball team opened the NCAA Division III South Regional on Thursday with a 7-1 victory over Otterbein College.
LaGrange got some help from two Northgate graduates as pitcher Jonathan Fleckenstein recorded the final out from the mound.
Ryan Broaderick and Blake Butcher led LaGrange, which is ranked No. 1 in the most recent NCAA Division III poll to the win.
Broaderick went 8-2/3 innings to up his record to 9-0. He allowed the one run on six hits, walked four and struck out eight.
Butcher drove in the first four runs for the Panthers. He had an RBI double in the first, drove in a run with a groundout in the third, then had a bases-loaded single in the fifth to bring home two more runs.
Former Northgate baseball player James Poropatic picked up two hits.
The Panthers (39-4) will play the Rowan-Emory winner on Friday at 6 p.m. Otterbein (31-13) faces Salisbury in an elimination game Friday at 11 a.m.
The Panthers put the game out of reach with a three-run seventh inning. Casey Bell drove in the first run with a sacrifice bunt. Billy Peatross capped the inning with a two-out two-run single to make it 7-0.
Otterbein avoided the shutout on Christian Chiero's one-out double in the ninth.
Broaderick struck out pinch-hitter Pat Birrer before giving way to Fleckenstein, who got Mitch Stotler to fly out to end the game.
The Panthers finished with 11 hits.