GREENWOOD – Carson Jones drove in five runs and Ryan Troutman was a winner in his first collegiate appearance on the mound as the Lander Bearcats outlasted No. 20 Mount Olive University, 11-10, in the first game of a double-header Saturday afternoon at Dolny Stadium. The Trojans bounced back to win the second game, 10-1, and claim the three-game series.
Mount Olive (2-1) won the season-opener Friday night in 11 innings before splitting Saturday's double-header which was played with temperatures in the low 40s.
Lander starts the season at 1-2.
Mount Olive's JT Stone had two homers and six RBI in Saturday's opener, two more RBI in the second game, and drove in 11 runs in the series.
Troutman was mainly used as a catcher and some third base in his first two years at Lander. This year, the junior has also made a move to the mound and was called upon in the eighth inning of Saturday's opener with the Bearcats down 9-8.
After Troutman recorded the final out in the eighth, Lander rallied with three runs in the bottom of the inning to take an 11-9 lead. Troutman nailed down the win in the ninth.
Mount Olive took a 3-0 lead in Game 1 on Stone's two-out, two-run single in the third and Trae Sweeting's two-out RBI double in the top of the fourth.
The Bearcats bounced back with two-out damage of their own in the bottom of the fourth, taking a 4-3 lead. After Mike Fitschen and Nathan Schreckengost led off with back-to-back singles, Trojans starting pitcher Braxton Shetley retired the next two batters. But he walked Brice Kirven to load the bases and also walked Bailey Connell to force home Lander's first run of the day. Jones greeted reliever Sam Gucken with a go-ahead, three-run double.
Mount Olive regained a 5-4 lead in the fifth when Stone belted a leadoff homer over the left-field fence, Justin Carroll doubled and Aaron Hedgepath hit an RBI double.
The Trojans increased their advantage to 7-4 in the top of the sixth after Jon Cosme walked and stopped at third on a double by Nate Estes. Stone and Drew Ellis drove home the runs on ground outs.
The Bearcats rallied from a three-run deficit for the second time. Alex Conaway walked to lead off the bottom of the sixth, Kirven singled, and Connell reached on an error to load the bases. Jones and Tyler Lala walked to force home runs, and Colton Yeager hit a game-tying RBI single to right. With the bases still loaded and no one out, Fitschen hit a double play grounder with Yeager being called for sliding out of the baseline (interfering with the throw), therefore the umpire sent Lala back to third base. Schreckengost flew out to end the inning.
Lander took an 8-7 lead in the seventh when Conaway walked and scored on Connell's two-out double into the left field corner.
Mount Olive regained the lead in the top of the eighth on Stone's second home run of the game, a two-out, two-run blast over the right-field fence. Troutman then entered the game, recording the third out of the inning. He was the team's fourth pitcher of the game, following starter Tripper Ergle, Carson Schlegel and Harper Grier.
It was Lander's turn to regain the lead in the bottom of the eighth. Jones led off with the team's first homer of the season, a shot over the left-field fence to tie the game at 9-all. Lala was hit by a pitch, moved to third when Yeager reached second on an error, and Fitschen and Schreckengost followed with sacrifice flies for an 11-9 lead.
Troutman retired the first two batters in the ninth. After Hunter Gore hit a long homer to right to pull the Trojans within 11-10, Troutman recorded the final out on a grounder to third.
Troutman (1-0) was credited with the win. Conrado Skepple (0-1) allowed the three runs in the eighth and took the loss.
Stone was 3-for-5 with two homers and six RBI to lead Mount Olive in Game 1 while Hedgepath went 2-for-5. Jones paced the Bearcats, going 2-for-2 with two walks, a homer and five RBI.
The Trojans opened the Game 2 scoring in the top of the third when Jacob Huntley legged out a double to short left, moved to third on Chris Douglas's sacrifice bunt, and scored on Jose Lopez's ground out to short.
Mount Olive built its lead to 5-0 in the fifth on Sweeting's two-run triple, an RBI single by Estes and an error.
The Trojans put a runner on base in the sixth, but Lander catcher Zack Moore threw out his third would-be base stealer of the series.
In the bottom of the sixth, Moore came through again by breaking up Mount Olive's no-hit bid. German Reyes had pitched three no-hit innings and Ethan Horne two more though they walked a combined six. Steven Worley retired the first batter in the sixth before Moore's clean single to right.
The Trojans added five runs in the seventh on Stone's two-run single and Carroll's three-run homer.
Connell ended Mount Olive's shutout bid with a leadoff homer over the left-field fence in the bottom of the seventh.
Reyes (1-0) was the winning pitcher for the Trojans. JD Cook (0-1) took the loss for Lander, allowing four runs on three hits in 4.1 innings.