Third-ranked Lander baseball crushes Crusaders, 17-4

Members of the 2016 Lander baseball team will receive their rings for advancing to the College World Series on April 8th at Dolny Stadium
Members of the 2016 Lander baseball team will receive their rings for advancing to the College World Series on April 8th at Dolny Stadium

GREENWOOD - After a celebratory ring ceremony to commemorate the 2014 Lander baseball team's championship season, the No. 3-ranked Bearcats won their home opener Friday evening when they cruised past North Greenville, 17-4, in a non-conference game at Dolny Stadium.

The Bearcats improve to 3-1 overall, while North Greenville drops to 0-2. The ceremony was in honor of the players who led Lander to the Peach Belt Conference regular-season and tournament championships, along with the Southeast Regional title that gave the Bearcats an automatic berth into the College World Series.

Lander's Joe Mackey (1-0) earned the win on the mound, striking out four, walking one and allowing four earned runs on seven hits in seven complete innings.

North Greenville's Caleb Henley (0-1) took the loss after striking out two, walking four and allowing five earned runs on one hit in one inning of work.

The Crusaders took a 2-0 lead in the second inning on Jay Roberts RBI single and Andrew Locklear's sacrifice fly.

The Bearcats rallied for six runs on two hits in the second inning to take a lead they would never relinquish. Weston Lawing, who reached on a double, got the scoring started when he went home on a North Greenville field error. Zach Daly and John Mangum scored on a bases-loaded walks, Alex Conaway went home after Zach Giczewski got hit by a pitch, Colby Painter drove in Will Jones with a sacrifice fly and Giczewski finalized the scoring on Lawing's RBI single.

Lander stretched the lead to 8-2 in the third after Mangum scored on Giczewski's groundout and Chris Hyatt singled in Jones.

Giczewski stroked a two-run double in the fourth that plated Jones and Mangum for a 10-2 advantage. The scoring continued for Lander in the fifth as Thomas Berry drove in Painter with a groundout to second base.

The Crusaders cut the margin to 11-3 in the sixth on Taylor McCuen's sacrifice fly that plated Wheeler Smith.

Jones put Lander up 14-3 in the sixth after he scored on a Crusader throwing error, then Lawing and Daly added RBI singles that sent Hyatt and Painter home.

Jay Roberts put North Greenville on the scoreboard in the seventh with a solo homerun over the left field fence.

But Lander came back with three runs in the bottom of the inning after Conaway made it 15-4 when he advanced on wild pitch and Reed Gray later crossed the plate on Giczewski's groundout.

For Lander, Lawing batted 4-for-4, with two RBI, Painter 3-for-4 with one RBI, Will Jones 3-for-6 and Giczewski 1-for-4 with five RBI.

Roberts went 3-for-4 with two RBI for the Crusaders.