LaGrange College baseball players killed in car accident hours after winning conference title

·2 min read

Two college baseball players were among three people killed in a car accident in Georgia on Saturday, hours after their team won the conference championship.

Stephen Bartolotta, 18, and Jacob Brown, 19, were freshman pitchers for the Division III LaGrange College Panthers in west Georgia and died in the car accident, Troup County Coroner Erin Hackley confirmed to USA TODAY. The third victim was 24-year-old Rico Dunn of LaGrange.

The deaths came hours after LaGrange College defeated North Carolina Wesleyan 10-7 on Saturday to win a best-of-three series and its fifth consecutive USA South Tournament championship. With the win, the Panthers got an automatic bid into the NCAA Division III Baseball Tournament.

Bartolotta and Brown had just been celebrating with their team when they were traveling eastbound on Roanoke Road in LaGrange. Around 9:15 p.m., Brown, who was driving the vehicle, attempted to pass a vehicle, crossed the double yellow line and hit Dunn's pickup truck head on.

WSB-TV Atlanta reported Dunn had celebrated his sister’s birthday hours before the crash.

Bartolotta and Brown were pronounced dead at the scene, while Dunn was taken to a local hospital, where he died early Sunday morning.

"I am deeply saddened to make you aware that we have suffered the loss of two students last night. Baseball players Stephen Bartolotta and Jacob Brown were both killed in a tragic car accident," LaGrange College Susanna Baxter said in a statement on Sunday.

"Coming on the heels of the team's conference championship win yesterday, this news hits our baseball players especially hard. There simply are no words."

Brown pitched in Saturday's game and was credited with a win. He pitched 2 1/3 innings, allowed three runs on five hits and had one strikeout.

The Panthers are scheduled to play Centenary College of Louisiana in a best-of-five series in the regional round of the tournament, beginning on Friday.

Follow Jordan Mendoza on Twitter: @jordan_mendoza5.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: LaGrange College pitchers die in car accident after title win

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