GREENWOOD – Joe Koehler hit a tie-breaking homer in the seventh inning and relief pitcher Dario Santangelo escaped a bases-loaded, nobody out jam in the bottom half of the same inning as Mount Olive beat Lander 8-5 in the baseball season opener between two ranked teams Saturday afternoon at Dolny Stadium.
The No. 29 ranked Mount Olive Trojans are 1-0 while the 32nd ranked Bearcats are 0-1. The teams meet again Sunday at 1 o'clock at Dolny Stadium.
John Mangum delivered Lander's first run of the season, leading off the bottom of the second with a solo homer over the right-field wall. Taylor Kellner followed with a double to right center and scored when pitcher Bruce Zimmerman made an errant throw on Gatlin Minick's bunt single. Minick moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Matt White's single to left, making it 3-0.
The Trojans jumped ahead 4-3 in the top of the fifth when David Mayo hit a leadoff double, followed by Jack Sherrill's RBI double, Ricky Surum reaching on a fielder's choice, and RBI singles by Zak Orrison, Koehler and Julian Santos.
Lander's Mason Dodd tied the game at 4-all with a two-out solo homer to right center in the sixth.
Mount Olive regained a 6-4 lead in the top of the seventh when Orrison doubled and Koehler blasted a two-run homer to right.
Trojans reliever Santangelo came through in the bottom of the seventh, replacing Brighton Hudson with the bases loaded and nobody out. White had reached on an infield single, Zach Daly walked and Colby Lusignan was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Santangelo struck out the first batter he faced, then induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
The Trojans added two in the ninth when Duke Hill was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, and Derek Deler hit a sacrifice fly.
White hit a solo homer in the bottom of the ninth for Lander. Daly walked and Lusignan was hit by a pitch to bring the tying runner to the plate but Mount Olive escaped further damage.
White was the Bearcats' leading hitter, going 3-for-5 with a homer and two RBI while Lusignan was 3-for-3 while reaching base all five times; he was hit by a pitch twice.
Orrison was 4-for-5 with an RBI and three runs scored for Mount Olive, Koehler went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBI; while Santos and Deler each had two hits.
Bearcats starting pitcher Will Jones (0-1) worked six innings, allowing six runs on 10 hits with six strikeouts and one walk.
Hudson (1-0) was the winning pitcher for the Trojans while Santangelo got his first save.