YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – Weston Lawing hit a grand slam, Erik Lunde homered twice, and Graham Ramos broke Game 2 open with a late three-run homer as the No. 13 Lander Bearcats swept a Peach Belt Conference baseball double-header at Young Harris College Saturday afternoon. Lander won the first game 7-3 and the nightcap, 9-6.
The Bearcats improved to 12-1 overall and 4-1 in the Peach Belt. The Mountain Lions fell to 6-7, 0-2.
The teams will play Game 3 of their series Sunday at Young Harris.
The Bearcats exploded for six runs in the top of the third inning of Game 1 on two hits and four walks. Chris Hyatt walked, moved to second when Thomas Bess walked and scored the first run of the afternoon on Lunde's double. Patrick Grady walked, Connor Lewis drove in a run when he reached on a fielder's choice, Thomas Berry walked to load the bases, and Lawing followed with a grand slam. It was Lawing's first homer of the season.
Young Harris scored twice in the bottom of the third when Spencer Thomas was hit by a pitch, Zach Odom and Josh Rudnik singled, and Jack Morrow hit a two-run single, pulling the hosts within 6-2.
Lunde hit a leadoff homer in the seventh inning, increasing Lander's lead to 7-2.
Odom homered in the bottom of the seventh, pulling the Mountain Lions within 7-3. But that would be the final run of the game.
Dylan Wolchick (3-0) got the complete-game win for the Bearcats, allowing three runs on eight hits while striking out four and walking two.
Lunde was Lander's leading hitter in Game 1, going 3-for-5 with a homer, two RBI and two runs scored.
Taking the loss for Young Harris was Cody Beck, who pitched well in all but the third inning. He allowed seven runs on six hits while walking six and striking out four in eight innings. Four of the walks and six of the runs came in the third.
The Mountain Lions took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning of Game 2 on Morrow's run-scoring double.
Lander took a 2-1 lead in the second when Berry walked and Colby Painter belted a two-run homer.
The Bearcats increased their lead to 5-1 in the third when Bess singled, Lunde smacked his second home run of the day, Grady doubled, and Lewis hit an RBI single.
Lander added a run in the fourth when Ramos tripled and scored when Bess reached on a fielder's choice, increasing the lead to 6-1.
Odom hit an RBI double and Rudnik plated a run with a fielder's choice as Young Harris pulled within 6-3 in the bottom of the fourth.
The Mountain Lions continued to chip away, closing within 6-4 in the sixth when Thomas singled, stole second, and scored on Rudnik's single.
Lander broke the game open with three runs in the top of the eighth. Lewis singled, Painter drew a two-out walk, and Ramos belted a three-run homer for a 9-4 lead. It was Lander's fifth home run of the day.
Rudnik's two-run double pulled Young Harris within 9-6 in the bottom of the eighth but was left stranded at second with one out.
Taylor Alvarez (3-1) was the winning pitcher for the Bearcats, allowing four runs on seven hits in 5.2 innings. He struck out four and walked three. Kyle Tate, Tyler Broome and Brandon White finished up. Tate got Lander out of a jam in the sixth, Broome stranded a runner in scoring position in the eighth, and White retired the side in order in the ninth for his third save of the season.
Ramos was Lander's top hitter in Game 2, going 2-for-4 with a triple, homer, 3 RBI and two runs scored. Grady and Lewis each went 2-for-5.