GREENWOOD – Connor Lewis and Colby Painter each homered and Dylan Wolchik pitched into the eighth inning as the No. 4 Lander Bearcats beat Peach Belt Conference rival Francis Marion University 12-3 Saturday afternoon at Dolny Stadium.
Lander improved to 18-2 overall and 8-2 in the Peach Belt. The Patriots fell to 9-8, 2-5.
The teams will finish their three-game series Sunday with a double-header beginning at 1 o'clock at Dolny Stadium.
Wolchik (4-0) got the win, allowing two runs on six hits with two walks and eight strikeouts in 7.2 innings of work. Johnny Walker pitched the final 1.1 innings, allowing an unearned run in the ninth.
Spencer Jordan (1-3) took the loss for Francis Marion, allowing five earned runs on seven hits in 2.2 innings. Brandon Stoots and Ben Keane each allowed three runs out of the Patriots bullpen.
Painter was 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBI, Lewis was also 3-for-4 with a homer and three runs scored, Thomas Berry went 3-for-4 with two RBI, Patrick Grady was 2-for-5 with an RBI; Chris Hyatt was 2-fo-4 with two doubles and two runs scored, and Weston Lawing was 1-for-5 with three RBI.
Michael Wilson and Marquis Curry each went 2-for-4 with a homer to lead the Patriots.
Lander took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Erik Lunde was hit by a pitch, Lewis singled, Berry hit an RBI single to right, and Lewis scored on an infield throwing error.
Painter led off the second with a homer over the right-field fence, giving the Bearcats a 3-0 lead. It was his third home run of the season.
Lunde's diving catch at shortstop prevented Francis Marion from scoring in the top of the third after Cole Morris had been hit by a pitch and stole second.
Lewis led off the bottom of the third with his fifth homer of the season, lifting the ball over the right-field fence for a 4-0 lead. Lander added two more runs in the third when Graham Ramos singled, Hyatt smashed an RBI double into the left-field corner, and Painter drilled a run-scoring single to center, chasing Patriots starting pitcher Jordan.
Curry put Francis Marion on the board in the top of the fifth with his second home run of the season, a blast that easily cleared the fence in right center.
Wilson's first homer of the season, also to right center, pulled the Patriots within 6-2 in the sixth.
Lander increased its lead to 7-2 in the bottom of the sixth when Hyatt hit his second double of the game and scored on Painter's single to right.
The Bearcats made it 9-2 in the seventh with Grady singling to right and moving to third on Lewis's hard single off the shortstop's glove that rolled into the outfield. Berry hit a run-scoring double high off the right-field wall, and Lawing had an RBI ground out.
Lander scored three more in the eighth on Grady's run-scoring double and Lawing's two-run single, making it 12-2.
Luke Tollison walked and scored on an error in the ninth.