Lusignan, Matt White rally No. 32 Lander past Mount Olive

Colby Lusignan (7) gets congratulated by his teammates after hitting a grand slam that helped rally the Bearcats to an 8-6 win over Mount Olive. (Photo by Bob Stoner)
Colby Lusignan (7) gets congratulated by his teammates after hitting a grand slam that helped rally the Bearcats to an 8-6 win over Mount Olive. (Photo by Bob Stoner)

GREENWOOD – Colby Lusignan's grand slam brought Lander back into the game and Matt White hit the go-ahead homer as the Bearcats rallied from a 6-0 deficit to beat Mount Olive 8-6 Sunday afternoon in a battle of ranked teams at Dolny Stadium.

The teams split the season-opening two game series, leaving No. 29 Mount Olive and 32nd ranked Lander both at 1-1.

The Bearcats rallied from six runs down in the bottom of the seventh after Gatlin Minick was hit by a pitch, pinch hitter Will Jones reached on an infield single, and Sage Cornatzer was also hit by a pitch to load the bases.

Lander failed to score Saturday when loading the bases with no one out in the bottom of the seventh in an 8-5 loss. But this time Zach Daly plated a run with a one-out walk, then Lusignan crushed a grand slam off the brick base of the scoreboard, pulling the Bearcats within 6-5.

Lander took its first lead in the bottom of the eighth with a couple of bunts and a bomb. Taylor Kellner hit a leadoff double to right, moved to third on Minick's bunt, and scored the game-tying run on Cornatzer's squeeze bunt up the first-base line.

With two out, Matt White took a 3-0 pitch that he thought was a ball but was called a strike. After tossing his bat and starting to run to first, he came back to the batter's box and turned on a pitch, crushing it to left for a go-ahead two-run homer giving the Bearcats an 8-6 lead.

Mount Olive threatened in the top of the ninth on singles by Joe Koehler and Brett Lang, and Derek Deler was hit by a pitch to load the bases. But Brandon White (1-0) struck David Mayo out swinging to end the game.

Mayo (0-1) gave up White's homer and took the loss.

Mount Olive took a 1-0 lead in the first when Zak Orrison hit a leadoff pop fly to left that was lost in the sun for a double, moved to third on Koehler's grounder to second, and scored on Lang's ground out to short.

Mayo's solo homer off the batter's eye in center gave the Trojans a 2-0 lead in the second.

Mount Olive increased its lead to 4-0 in the third when Orrison reached on an infield single and Lang homered to right.

The Trojans made it 5-0 in the fifth when Orrison singled, stole second, advanced to third when the catcher's throw sailed into center, and scored on the catcher's errant pickoff throw.

Lander starting pitcher Colton Rogers worked five innings, allowing five runs, four earned, with six strikeouts and two walks.

Mount Olive threatened in the top of the sixth on leadoff singles by Deler and Mayo off reliever Harper Grier. After the runners each stole a base, Grier struck out the next batter and the runners held on a ground out to second. Third baseman Cornatzer charged down the line to field a slow roller and throw to first for the final out of the inning.

Trojans starting pitcher Austin Hutchison tossed five shutout innings, allowing three hits while striking out eight and walking two.

Lander attempted to rally in the bottom of the sixth when Lusignan and Thomas Berry led off with walks. But Mount Olive third baseman Deler speared John Mangum's shot down the third-base line, stepped on third for a force, and threw to first for a stellar double play. Kellner flied out to center to end the inning.

Lang reached on an error and scored on Julian Santos's double, making it 6-0 in the top of the seventh.

Lusignan was 2-for-3 with a grand slam for the Bearcats.

Orrison was Mount Olive's leading hitter, going 3-for-5 with three runs scored and finishing 7-for-10 with six runs scored in the two games. Lang was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a homer and three RBI. Mayo went 2-for-5 with a homer.