AUGUSTA, Ga. – The fifth-ranked Lander baseball team is off to its best start in the 16-year history of the program Saturday after defeating Augusta State, 14-9 in the opener and 11-5 in the nightcap, and sweeping their Peach Belt Conference three-game series at Olmsted Park.
The Bearcats improve to 21-4 overall and 13-2 in the PBC, while ASU drops to 9-17, 3-9. Lander downed the Jags, 7-1, in Friday's first game.
In the first game, Lander's Chase Malone earned the win after striking out five, walking two and allowing five earned runs on eight hits in 7.2 innings pitched.
ASU's Kip Custer (5-2) took the loss, striking out two, walking one and allowing seven earned runs on nine hits in six innings pitched.
The Bearcats took a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning when Connor Lewis' RBI single plated Chris Hyatt, Colby Painter's sacrifice fly sent Patrick Grady home and Jeff May's run-scoring single up the middle scored Lewis. Lander stretched the lead to 4-0 in the fifth after Ian Harvey scored on Hyatt's groundout.
The Jags cut the lead to 4-3 in the fifth on Lance Mangrum's fielder's choice, Nate Crown's RBI single and JD Sabo's sacrifice fly.
ASU mustered up one run in their half of the inning when Justin Mee, who led off with a doubled, scored on a Lander error.
The Bearcats went up 9-4 in the seventh as Hyatt went home on a passed ball and Lawing's groundout plated Grady.
The Jags cut it to 9-6 in the bottom of the seventh on Hunter Boose's RBI double and Mee's run-scoring single.
Lander added one run in the eighth when Harvey singled, stole second, then scored on an error. The Bearcats added their final four runs in the ninth when Grady scored on a wild pitch, and May stroked a three-run homer to left field.
For Lander, Lewis, May and Poole all went 2-for-5.
For Augusta, Mee batted 3-for-5 and Crown 2-for-4.
In the second game, Lander's Logan Pemberton remained unbeaten at 6-0 after walking three, and allowing two earned runs on four hits in six innings of action.
ASU's Dylan Wall (2-2) suffered the loss after striking out four, walking two and allowing three earned runs on six hits in 6.1 innings of work.
Lander and ASU were tied at 1-1 in the fourth as the Bearcats scored when Grady went home on Lawing's RBI single and the Jags' Bryson Stack had a sacrifice fly.
Lander took a 3-1 lead in the fifth on Ian Harvey's two-run homer, but Augusta added a run of their own in the sixth on Mangrum's sacrifice fly.
The Bearcats added two runs each in the seventh and eighth innings after Lawing's RBI double plated Grady and Hyatt, then Grady doubled in Harvey, and Lewis' sacrifice fly plated Hyatt.
Augusta State came up with three runs to cut the Lander lead to 7-5 in the eighth as Seth Foster and Mee scored on an error and Mangrum drove in Logan South with a double to left field.
Lander wrapped up the scoring with four runs in the ninth on two-RBI singles by Jacob Tisdale and Lewis.
For Lander, Harvey batted 3-for-4, Lawing 2-for-4, and Lewis and Poole 2-for-5.
For Augusta, Seth Foster went 3-for-4.