GREENWOOD, S.C. – Lander junior Connor Lewis blasted a three-run homer in the fifth inning and added an RBI double in the sixth to help the fourth-seeded and No. 14 ranked Bearcats defeat fifth-seeded and No. 16 ranked UNC Pembroke, 12-3, in their opening game of the Peach Belt Conference baseball tournament Wednesday evening at Dolny Stadium. (Tournament Website | Bracket)
Lander advances to face the No. 1 USC Aiken/No. 8 Montevallo at 8:30 p.m., Thursday in the winner's bracket.
UNC Pembroke will face the USCA/Montevallo loser at 5 p.m., Thursday, in an elimination game.
Lewis led the Bearcats (35-14) offensively as he finished 2-for-3 at the plate with a homer and a double. Lewis drove in a team-high five runs and scored one run.
Lander starter Dylan Wolchick (10-1) picked up the win on the mound after giving up just three earned runs on 10 hits with three strikeouts and two walks in seven innings.
Max Gagnon, who drove in two runs and scored one run, and Drew Alford paced UNC Pembroke (36-15) offensively with two hits each.
UNC Pembroke starter Dale Innes (6-3) took the loss after giving up five runs, all earned, on three hits with nine walks and three strikeouts.
Innes worked out of a pair of jams in the first three innings. Innes induced a ground ball for a double play with the bases loaded to end the first inning. Innes recorded a strikeout with runners on first and second base to end the third inning.
The Bearcats finally broke the scoreless tie with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a 2-0 lead following a two-run single by Davey.
The Bearcats added three more runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to push their lead to 5-0 following Lewis' three-run shot over the right-field wall.
Lander added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to push its lead to 7-0 following RBI singles by Grady and Lewis.
UNCP cut the deficit to 7-3 with three runs, including a two-run homer by Gagnon, in the top of the seventh inning.
The Bearcats responded with five runs in the bottom half of the frame to extend its lead to 12-3. Lawing sparked the five-run inning with a leadoff solo homer.