Connell, Yeager lead Lander past North Georgia

Bailey Connell's grand slam helped lead Lander to a 9-5 win over North Georgia on Friday night (File photo by Joshua S. Kelly)
Bailey Connell's grand slam helped lead Lander to a 9-5 win over North Georgia on Friday night (File photo by Joshua S. Kelly)

GREENWOOD  Bailey Connell hit a first inning grand slam and Colton Yeager drove in two runs on Friday night to lead the Lander baseball team to a 9-5 Peach Belt Conference victory over North Georgia at Dolny Stadium.

Lander improves to 8-9 overall and 3-1 in the PBC, while North Georgia slips to 10-4, (0-1).

The second contest of the three-game series will be played at 2:00 p.m., Saturday, with Game 3 at 1:00 p.m., Sunday.

Lander's JD Waite (1-0) struck out five, walked one and gave up two runs on three hits in five innings of work, while Joseph Whitt earned his fourth save of the season with 2.2 scoreless innings.

North Georgia's Dylan Peppers (1-1) took the loss after striking out two, walking three and allowing five earned runs on three hits in 1.1 innings.

The Nighthawks kicked off the scoring in the first on a solo homer from Connor Hoover, but Lander answered with Connell's grand slam. A two-run single from Yeager in the second stretched the Bearcat lead to 6-1. 

North Georgia cut the deficit to 6-3 entering the bottom of the sixth, but Carson Jones drove a fly ball to the wall that brought home Ryan Troutman to put the Bearcats ahead 7-3. 

Two more Nighthawk runs came across in the seventh on an error and a bases-loaded walk, but Lander closed the door with an RBI single from Conaway in the bottom of the seventh and a wild pitch that brought Alec Dowell home in the eighth. 

With bases loaded and two outs in the ninth, Mangum and Lusignan scored on a North Georgia throwing error, then Mason Dodd and Kellner went home on another Nighthawk miscue to go up 12-0.

For Lander, Connell batted 2-for-3 with two runs scored; Conaway 2-for-4 and Mike Fitschen 2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.