GREENWOOD – Lander's Zach Daly delivered game-winning hits in all three games of their Peach Belt Conference series, including two in a double-header sweep of Armstrong State 3-2 and 8-4 Saturday afternoon at Dolny Stadium. His grand slam in Game 2 lifted the Bearcats to their eighth straight win.
Lander improved to 16-5 overall and 9-3 in the Peach Belt with their third league sweep in four series. The Bearcats won three games in a 24-hour period.
The Pirates fell to 9-9, 4-8.
Daly went 7-for-14 in the three-game series with a homer, two doubles and eight RBI. He had game-winning hits in the eighth inning of Friday's 8-4 win and Saturday's Game 1 victory, and his grand slam in the fourth inning of Game 2 also put the Bearcats ahead to stay.
Lander jumped ahead 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth inning of Game 1 as Matt White beat out an infield single for the team's first hit off JT Phillips and scored on Daly's double into the right-field corner. Daly reached third on Colby Lusignan's fielder's choice as the third baseman made an errant rundown throw, and scored on Thomas Berry's sacrifice fly to right.
Armstrong State pulled within 2-1 in the top of the fifth when Kendrick Thompson drew a leadoff walk, moved to second on Berry Aldridge's single, stopped at third on Chandler Corley's sacrifice bunt, and scored on Stetson Smith's single.
The Pirates tied the game in the top of the seventh when Thompson doubled off the top of the right field wall, moved to third on Aldridge's sacrifice bunt, and scored on Smith's two-out infield single deep into the hole between third and short.
Lander starting pitcher Sam Linn retired Armstrong in order in the top of the eighth, with third baseman Mason Dodd making a nice play from deep behind the third base bag completing a long throw to first for the final out.
The Bearcats took the lead again in the bottom of the eighth on a hit by Daly as they did in the series opener on Friday night. Dodd led off by drawing a walk, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Will Jones, and scored on Daly's two-out single to right.
Linn (3-0) worked the longest outing of his college career and earned the win, allowing two runs on five hits in eight innings. The freshman struck out four and walked one.
Brandon White retired the side in order in the ninth, recording his sixth save of the season.
Armstrong starting pitcher Phillips, who was picked by the Texas Rangers in the 18th round of the MLB draft in 2014, allowed three runs, two earned, on three hits in 7.2 innings of work. Phillips (3-2) took the loss, striking out 10 and walking three.
Daly was Lander's leading hitter in Game 1, going 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI.
Smith was Armstrong's top hitter in the opener, going 2-for-3 with both of his team's RBIs.
Armstrong took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning of Game 2. Phillips and Thompson singled and both scored on Spencer Harvey's double off the glove of diving left fielder Taylor Kellner.
The Bearcats pulled within 2-1 in the bottom of the first when Matt White walked, raced to second on a wild pitch, stopped at third on Daly's grounder to second, and scored on Berry's sacrifice fly to center.
Phillips and Thompson both scored again in the top of the third, increasing the Pirate lead to 4-1. Phillips walked, Thompson singled and each scored when Harvey reached on an error by the third baseman.
White led off the bottom of the third with his sixth homer of the season, a blast over the left field fence that closed the Bearcats within 4-2. Two outs later, Berry launched his fourth home run of the year with a shot to right pulling Lander within 4-3.
Armstrong loaded the bases in the top of the fourth but Harper Grier, who came in to relieve starter J.D. Waite, induced an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
Daly put the Bearcats on top yet again in the bottom of the fourth. Jones singled, pinch hitter Alex Conaway and White walked to load the bases, and Daly followed with a grand slam to right for a 7-4 lead. It was the fifth homer of the season for the former North Carolina Tar Heel.
Lander increased its lead to 8-4 in the seventh when Lusignan reached on an error, moved to second when Berry walked, to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Kellner's sacrifice fly to left.
Grier (3-0) earned the win for Lander after also being credited with Friday's victory. He pitched 5.2 innings of scoreless relief.
Pirates starting pitcher Sid Royal (1-1) took the loss.
Leading hitters for the Bearcats in Game 2 were Daly, 1-for-5 with a homer and four RBI; White, 1-for-3 with a homer and three runs scored; and Berry, 1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI.
Armstrong's leading hitters in Game 2 were Thompson, 2-for-4 with two runs scored; and Harvey, 1-for-4 with two RBI.