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Lander knocks off No. 2 Tampa to open Steinbrenner Field Spring Classic

Lander knocks off No. 2 Tampa to open Steinbrenner Field Spring Classic

TAMPA, Fla. – The Lander baseball team scored three runs in the seventh inning and got 3.1 perfect innings from the bullpen as the Bearcats opened the season with a 6-2 victory over No. 2-ranked Tampa at the Steinbrenner Field Spring Classic on Friday afternoon.

The Bearcats (1-0) handed Tampa (0-1) its first season-opening loss since 2013 as Lander's staff limited the Spartans to just five hits on the day. Colton Yeager and Josh Gregory each drove in two runs for Lander and Roury Glanton homered in his first at-bat as a Bearcat. 

Lander took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Glanton, a transfer from Georgia Southern, took Tampa starter Kevin Pimentel (0-1) deep to left field. The Bearcats plated two more runs in the bottom of the fifth as Gregory singled home Bailey Connell. After advancing to second on a passed ball, Gregory came home on a Spartan error to put Lander up 3-0. 

Bearcat starter Alex Moore (1-0) held Tampa off the board until the top of the sixth, when the Spartans struck for two runs and sent the tying run to the plate with two outs. Ryan Flores entered and got the inning-ending strikeout to keep Lander ahead. 

Needing insurance runs, the Bearcats added three in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, Connell singled and scored on an ensuing double from Gregory. After Ward Betts reached on an intentional walk, both runners moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Yeager then delivered a single up the middle to push Lander's lead to 6-2.

Tampa had no answers for the Bearcat bullpen as Robbie Hoyt and Marshall Thompson sat down all nine batters they faced to seal the win. 

Moore earned the win for Lander, allowing two runs on five hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 5.2 innings. Pimentel was tagged with the loss after giving up three runs on six hits in 5.0 innings.

Lander continues its opening weekend on Saturday, facing No. 9-ranked North Greenville at 12:00 p.m. and No. 19-ranked Mount Olive at 4:00 p.m.