Waite pitched six-plus strong innings, Andrew Reardon and Brandon White dominated out of the bullpen, and Will Jones and Gatlin Minick drove in two runs apiece as the Bearcats eliminated the University of Southern Indiana at the NCAA Division II Baseball National Championships at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.
Minick also made a key play in the field to keep LU on top.
Lander improved to 44-15 on the season and will face No. 1 Millersville Thursday at 7 p.m. Millersville (52-5) is 2-0 in the tournament while the Bearcats are 2-1 and must win to keep their championship hopes alive.
The Screaming Eagles of Southern Indiana, who beat Lander two years ago on their way to the national championship, saw their season end at 38-21.
Waite (6-2) allowed only two runs on 10 hits in 6.1 innings, striking out two and walking none. Reardon pitched 1.1 innings of hitless relief, striking out one. White dominated in the ninth for his 14th save, striking out the side, all swinging.
The Bearcats broke a 1-1 tie with three runs in the fourth, two driven in by the freshman Minick.
In Lander's opening game in Cary on Saturday night, Minick and Jones teamed together for a walk-off win over the University of Southern Missouri. Minick drew a leadoff walk, moved up on a wild pitch, and a Mason Dodd ground out, and scored on a Jones single over a drawn-in outfield, scoring Minick with the winning run at 1:15 Sunday morning.
But the Bearcats lost on Tuesday to Nova Southeastern, dropping them into the loser's bracket.
Lander took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second Wednesday when Thomas Berry drew a leadoff walk on a full count, moved to second on John Mangum's sacrifice bunt, and scored when Jones hit a two-out single to right on an 0-2 pitch.
Southern Indiana tied it with a run in the third when Drake McNamara singled and scored on Andrew Cope's double.
The Bearcats took the lead for good when USI starting pitcher Chase Partain (3-1) hit Berry and Mangum with pitches to start the top of the fourth. Taylor Kellner sacrificed both runners over, Jones hit another run-scoring single to right, and Minick added a two-out, two-run single to right for a 4-1 lead.
Hamilton Carr doubled and scored on Kyle Kempf's single, pulling the Screaming Eagles within 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth.
That would be the game's final run. But it wouldn't be easy. USI threatened in the bottom of the seventh when Joe Redburn hit a leadoff single up the middle, followed by Carr's bunt single to the pitcher. Waite committed a throwing error on the play, pushing Redburn to third. But Carr was thrown out at second on the play when right fielder Minick connected with shortstop Matt White. Reardon replaced Waite on the mound, struck Kyle Niemeier out looking and retired Kempf on a ground out to short.
Reardon retired the side in order in the eighth and White put USI away in the ninth.
Jones led Lander at the plate, going 2-for-4 with two RBI. Berry was 0-for-2 but scored twice.
Hamilton was 3-for-4 for Southern Indiana while Kempf and McNamara had two hits apiece.