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.
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.
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.