AIKEN, S.C. — The Lander baseball team carried the momentum they gained at the plate on Friday into Saturday's crucial Peach Belt Conference doubleheader with Augusta, exploding for 17 runs on 19 hits as they cruised to a 17-4 victory in game one. The Jaguars still found a way to clinch the three-game PBC series, however, earning a 7-2 win in the second game at Roberto Hernandez Stadium.
The Bearcats finish PBC play with an 11-13 mark and sit at 20-27 overall. Augusta holds a 19-24 overall record and is 10-14 in conference action.
Lander had runners on base in every inning and scored runs in seven of nine frames during the first matchup, while starter Cameron Tekker went the distance on the mound and allowed just one earned run on six hits to earn the victory.
Tekker (5-1) fanned four batters and walked none over his nine innings of work. Jaguars' starter Will Thompson (2-3) took the loss for Augusta as he was lit up for seven runs and seven hits during just 1.2 innings on the mound.
Lander struck in the top of the first inning as Bailey Connell launched his 10th home run of the season. Thompson retired the first two Lander batters, but Nathan Schreckengost kept the inning alive with a two-out double down the right field line and came around to score on Connell's shot to center field.
The two-out magic continued for the Bearcats, who busted the game wide open in the second frame, scoring five runs on five hits to claim a 7-0 advantage. Colton Yeager laced a two-out single to center field, driving in Mason Dodd for the first run of the inning. Yeager scored from second on an RBI single up the middle by Alex Conaway, who later came home on an error by Augusta catcher Brent Alford. Dowell knocked in the final two runs by ripping a double to right field, plating Schreckengost and Connell to give Lander firm control of the contest.
Lander tallied two more runs in the third, with Reed Gray stroking a double to left-center field to leadoff the inning. Ryan Troutman then drew a walk, putting two runners on base for Yeager, who promptly blasted a two-RBI double to the gap in right-center field to extend the Bearcats' lead to 9-0.
The Jaguars broke up Tekker's no-hit bid in the fourth inning, scoring two unearned runs on two hits to cut their deficit to 9-2. Cody Lanford and Tyler Roberts each singled to leadoff the frame, both coming around to score on ground balls to second base. Jamal Cummings picked up an RBI in the inning for Augusta.
The Bearcats responded in the fifth, adding an unearned run on two hits to stretch their advantage to eight runs. Yeager got it going with a single to center and advanced to third on a single by Schreckengost. Yeager then scored on a throwing error by Roberts, giving Lander a 10-2 lead.
Lander plated two more in the seventh to claim a double-digit advantage as Conaway led off the frame with a single through the left side of the infield. Schreckengost and Dowell both walked to load the bases for Carson Jones, who picked up his first RBI of the afternoon when he was hit by Augusta reliever Matthew Kuhlenber. The Jaguars' southpaw struggled with his control, also hitting Gray with a pitch during the next at-bat to bring Schreckengost home.
Augusta trimmed its deficit to 12-4 in the seventh, with Cole Janousek reaching on an error by Yeager and coming around to score on a two-run homer by Jake Bogosian.
The Bearcats weren't done at the plate though, adding four more runs in the eighth to take a 16-4 lead. Connell and Conaway both scored on a sharp double to center field by Dowell, who came home on an RBI single by Jones. Gray then reached on a throwing error by Janousek, allowing Jones to score from first.
Lander finished off the rout when Conaway doubled down the left field line in the ninth to plate Troutman.
Cody Pugh (5-0) picked up the win for Augusta in the second matchup of the day, giving up just two runs and seven hits over nine innings. He struck out nine batters and only walked one.
Tripper Ergle (1-4) took the loss for Lander, allowing two runs on two hits through 1.1 innings.
Dodd drove in the lone runs for the Bearcats, pacing Lander with three hits and a run scored.
Augusta struck first in round two, with Davis Murray slapping a single through the right side of the infield to plate Carrington Evans and give the Jaguars a 1-0 lead in the second inning.
The Bearcats responded in the third, scoring two runs on three hits to claim a 2-1 advantage. Gray led off the frame with a single and was promptly driven in when Mason Dodd blasted his 10th long ball of the season over the left field fence.
The Jaguars evened the contest in the bottom of the frame as Lanford scored on a wild pitch by Lander starter Garrett Lovorn.
Augusta tallied two more runs in the fifth to reclaim the lead, with Cummings scoring on a single by Janousek, who then scored on a wild pitch by Ergle to give the Jaguars a 4-2 advantage.
The Jaguars expanded upon their lead in the sixth, plating two runs on two hits to give themselves a four-run cushion. Roberts ripped a double to center to leadoff the inning and came around to score on a triple by Cummings, who then came home on a throwing error by Dowell.
Augusta notched an insurance run in the eighth when pinch-hitter Chance Warnock singled to right field before being plated on a triple by Evans, increasing the Bearcats' deficit to 7-2.