Morell fires no-hitter to complete sweep of William Peace for LaGrange

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CARY, N.C. - Junior Eric Morell fired a no-hitter to complete LaGrange's sweep of its USA South doubleheader against William Peace on Saturday at the USA Baseball National Training Center. 

The Panthers (8-13, 8-9 USA South) won the second game 2-0 behind Morell's pitching gem. Zach Tatham threw a complete game in the Panthers' 7-1 first game win.

"Eric did a great job of attacking the strike zone and staying ahead of hitters today," said Coach David Kelton. "This outing was a much needed tone setter for us."

The no-hitter was the team's first since the 2009 season, when four pitchers combined against Rust in a 9-0 win. Morell became the first Panther to throw a complete-game no-hitter since Jeremy Dockins beat Fisk in a seven-inning game in 2004.

Morell (3-4) faced only two batters over the minimum of 27. He walked four and struck out a season-high seven batters, while throwing 122 pitches.

The Panthers backed Morell up with errorless defense and turned a double play. He also picked off a runner to end the seventh.

Morell struck out five of the last six batters he faced, including the side to end the game.

The Panthers had 10 hits in the game. Casey Bell was 3-for-3 with an RBI. Chris LayeJim Reed and Keith Simsall had two hits. Reed had a triple included in his hits. 

Tatham (2-2) got the day started for the Panthers in the first game with his first complete game of the season. He scattered nine hits and the only run he allowed was unearned. Tatham walked only one and struck out four.

The Panthers took a 2-0 lead after four innings, then broke the game open with a four-run fifth. Cain Sauls drove in two runs with a single, Alec Redden had an RBI single and Chad Pigg capped the inning with a double.

The Panthers finished with 13 hits, with all but one in the lineup getting at least a hit. 

"Hopefully, Eric and the team can build on this great win today leading us into the second half of the season," added Kelton. "Getting a no-hitter from a veteran pitcher is a great start."

The two teams conclude their three-game series Sunday.