FLORENCE, S.C. - Zach Daly blasted his game-winning, school-record 21st home run in the ninth inning, and ace closer Brandon White earned his third win of the season Friday afternoon to lead the No. 6-ranked and second-seeded Lander baseball team to a 6-5, lightning-delayed, victory over sixth-seeded University of Montevallo in the second round of pool play in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament at Francis Marion University's Sparrow Stadium.
Lander, which faces third-seeded USC Aiken at 7 p.m. Saturday, improves to 38-12 overall and 2-0 in pool play, while Montevallo drops to 27-25, 1-1 in pool play.
After Saturday's games, the top team in each of the two pools will meet at 1 p.m., Sunday, in the championship game. The winner earns the PBC's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
White, an All-PBC selection who leads the conference in saves with 10, earned the victory on the mound with two strikeouts and no hits in 1.2 scoreless innings. With one out remaining in the game, the contest was delayed for 1 hour, 11 minutes due to lightning. When the players returned to the field, White needed just six pitches to force Dan Parod to pop out to Lander third baseman Mason Dodd to end the game.
The Falcons' Kale Latoree (1-3) suffered the loss after striking out three, walking two and allowing two earned runs on two hits in 4.1 innings.
Daly's solo homer to right field broke a 5-5 tie and the Lander single-season record of 20 he shared with Connor Lewis (2014).
The Falcons took a 2-0 lead in the second inning when Thomas Bradey went home on a passed ball and Tyler Krabbe drove in Chad Wagner with an RBI single to centerfield.
But the Bearcats stormed back to go up 4-2 after Matt White doubled in Mason Dodd in the third inning, then, in the fourth, Alex Conaway's left centerfield double plated John Mangum, Dodd drove in Conaway, then Dodd went home on an error.
Montevallo knotted the game at 4-4 on Daniel Pardo's RBI single in the fifth that scored Jeremy Hyde, and Chase Bryant's sixth-inning double that drove in Krabbe.
Matt White gave the Bearcats the 5-4 lead with a solo homer to left field in the seventh, but Montevallo tied it back up in the eighth on Krabbe's RBI double that sent Matthew Furuto home.
For Lander, Matt White batted 2-for-5 with two RBI, while Dodd went 2-for-3.
For Montevallo, Taylor Walker and Krabbe had two hits apiece.