COLUMBUS, Ga. - The No. 25 Lander baseball team took another step closer to earning its fifth Peach Belt Conference sweep of the season Saturday after the No. 25 Bearcats upset No. 7 Columbus State, 14-5, in the second game of their series at Burger King Stadium at Ragsdale Field.
In winning their 15th straight game, Lander improves to 23-5 overall and 14-3 in the PBC. Columbus State slips to 20-7, 8-3.
The Cougars' Albert Harless (3-1) took the loss after allowing five earned runs on eight hits in 2.2 innings.
Lander struck big early in the first inning by taking a 3-0 lead when Zach Daly stroked a two-run homer -- his seventh of the season, and was followed by Alex Conaway's RBI single that scored Thomas Berry.
After Columbus cut the margin to 3-1 in the second on Mike McClellan's solo homer, Lander stretched its lead to 5-1 in the third after Colby Lusignan scored on Taylor Kellner's double-play groundout, and Conaway drove in Berry.
The Cougars used its three-run fourth inning to make it 5-4 on consecutive RBI singles by Grant Berry, Ryan Ihle and Lake Hart. But Lander responded with a pair of runs in the fifth on Mason Dodd's two-run RBI single that plated Kellner and Berry to go back up 7-4.
Matt Nettles' solo homer in the fifth for the Cougars trimmed the margin to two runs, but Lander retaliated with Thomas Berry's two-run shot to right field -- his sixth of the year, that extended the Bearcat lead to 9-5 in the sixth.
Lander had its biggest inning of the evening in the seventh when the Bearcats put up four runs on Dodd's two-run RBI single, Will Jones' RBI double and Lusignan's RBI single to take a 13-5 advantage.
The Bearcats finalized the scoring in the ninth when Lusignan drove in Matt White with a right field single.
For Lander, Lusignan batted 4-for-5 with two RBI and Dodd went 3-for-4 with four RBI. McLellan and Hart had three hits a piece for the Cougars.