GREENWOOD – The Lander baseball team got key contributions from seniors Joseph Whitt, Peter Bocchino, Ryan Troutman, and Carson Jones as the Bearcats knocked off USC Aiken, 5-4, on Senior Day at Dolny Stadium.
"It was definitely an emotional day for these guys," said head coach Jason Burke. "For them to get a win the last time they play at Dolny, which is obviously a very special place to all of us, it was huge."
Lander (17-30, 12-15 PBC) grabbed the lead in the second inning when Bocchino singled to left field, bringing home Bailey Connell to put the Bearcats up 1-0. One inning later, Jones extended the lead by blasting his third home run of the weekend and the 32nd of his career to make it a 2-0 game.
USC Aiken (24-18, 14-10) pushed across three runs in the top of the fourth, but Bocchino struck again in the bottom of the inning, crushing a solo homer to right-centerfield to tie the game at 3-3. Zack Moore put Lander back on top in the bottom of the fifth, roping an RBI double into left field to score Vincent Addona.
Joseph Whitt, who scattered eight hits in 7.0 innings, struck out three in the top of the seventh, bringing his strikeout total to six on the day. Lander then picked up a crucial insurance run on a second home run from Bocchino in the bottom of the seventh as the Bearcats built a 5-3 advantage.
The Bearcats brought Troutman out of the bullpen in the eighth as the Pacers pulled within one. However, the Bearcat closer struck out the final batter of the inning with runners on second and third. USC Aiken put the tying run on first in the top of the ninth, but Troutman notched his third strikeout of the day to seal the win.
Whitt (6-3) retired nine of the final 11 batters he faced, while Troutman earned his third save of the year. Garvin Alston, Jr. (4-5) allowed four runs on nine hits in 4.1 innings, taking the loss for the Pacers.
Lander begins a three-game series at North Georgia on Friday night.