GREENWOOD – The Lander baseball team rode Nathan Schreckengost's three-run homer and survived UNC Pembroke's five-run rally in the ninth, clinching a Peach Belt Conference series victory by beating the Braves 7-6 Saturday afternoon at Dolny Stadium.
The Bearcats improved to 7-7 overall, 3-2 in the PBC. The Braves fell to 6-6, 1-4.
The teams will complete their series Sunday at 1 p.m. at Dolny Stadium.
Lander won Friday's series opener 10-4 after scoring seven runs in the first inning. The Bearcats entered Saturday's game having outscored its opponents 49-10 in the first three innings this season, and that trend would continue.
Lander again took a lead in the first inning, scoring three times. Ward Betts reached on an error, Mike Fitschen singled, and Schreckengost launched a three-run homer to left. It was his 26th career homer for the Bearcats, three shy of the program record.
Betts walked and scored on Fitschen's single for a 4-0 lead in the third. The Bearcats thus increased their advantage to 53-10 in the first three innings this season.
Lander added three runs in the fourth to make it 7-0. Kyle Jenkins walked, moved to second on Josh Gregory's single and scored on Bailey Connell's two-out double. Gregory and Connell scored when the UNC Pembroke catcher made an errant throw trying to pick Gregory off third base.
The Braves ended Cunningham's shutout bid in the seventh when Connor Grainger walked, advanced to second on a ground out, and scored on Dawson Painter's double.
UNC Pembroke threw a major scare into the Bearcats in the ninth by scoring five runs before recording an out. Ethan Baucom doubled, Grainger singled and Luke Jackson hit an RBI single, chasing Cunningham from the game.
Brennen Hogan hit a two-run single off Bearcats reliever Zach Pellegrino, cutting the Braves deficit to 7-4. The next hitter Painter walked, and Lander brought in Ellard from the bullpen.
Jarratt Mobley greeted Ellard with a two-run double, but Vincent Addona's relay throw nabbed Mobley at third. Ellard recorded a ground out to the pitcher and induced the final out on a grounder to shortstop Addona for the first save of his Lander career.
Cunningham allowed four runs on six hits while walking three and striking out seven.
UNC Pembroke starting pitcher Davis Hurd (0-2) took the loss.