Ward's walkoff HR gives Lander PBC split with CSU

Dariean Ward's 8th-inning home run gave Lander a 6-3 win over Columbus State in game one of Friday's doubleheader (Photo by Joshua S. Kelly)
Dariean Ward's 8th-inning home run gave Lander a 6-3 win over Columbus State in game one of Friday's doubleheader (Photo by Joshua S. Kelly)

GREENWOOD – Dariean Ward delivered a pinch-hit, three-run walkoff homer in the eighth inning of game one on Friday night to give Lander a split in a Peach Belt Conference doubleheader against Columbus State at Doug Spears Field. The Bearcats won the first game, 6-3, and dropped the second, 6-4.

Lander improves to 12-22 overall and 4-8 in the PBC, while Columbus State moves to 18-14-1, (6-2).

In the first game, McKenzi Ferguson improved to 7-10 on the season after striking out eight, walking three and allowing just two hits in 4.2 innings of relief.

The Cougars' Sydney Barker (1-2) took the loss after striking out one and surrendering three runs on two hits in an inning of relief. 

Columbus State scored first on an RBI double from Elizabeth Perdue in the top of the first inning, then pushed the lead to 2-0 when Kia Smith scored on an error in the third. 

Lander answered in the bottom of the third when Halie Sorrow singled and was replaced on the bases by Casey Wooten. A sacrifice bunt from Casey Kent moved Wooten to second and Reychel Webster singled to put runners on the corner. Webster then worked herself into a rundown between first and second that allowed Wooten to score from third. 

Lee Anne Rees scored on a fielder's choice in the top of the fourth to increase the Cougar lead to 3-1. 

Lander rallied in the bottom of the seventh as Brianna Surrento launched a solo homer to lead off the inning. After a groundout, Chandler Carey homered to tied the score at 3-3 and force extra innings. 

Kent was hit by a pitch to lead off the Bearcat eighth and Webster followed with a single. After Destiny Clyde advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt, Dariean Ward came off the bench to deliver a pinch-hit, three-run walkoff homer to give Lander the win.

Webster and Carey had two hits apiece for the Bearcats.

In the second game, the Cougars' Peyton Sorrells (7-2) was awarded the win after striking out three and allowing two runs on seven hits in three innings pitched. Darby Demarest picked up her first save of the season with six strikeouts, one walk and one run on one hit in 2.2 innings of relief.

Leadoff hitter Keeli Waugh gave Columbus State a quick 1-0 lead when she belted a solo home run in the first inning. The Cougars' extended the lead to 2-0 later in the inning on a sacrifice fly from Perdue. 

Home runs from Halie Sorrow in the second inning and Madision Moore in the third tied the game at 2-2, but a bases-loaded walk and a two-run single from Mitchell put Columbus State up 6-2 in the fifth. 

Carey doubled home Casey Wooten in the bottom of the fifth and homered in the seventh to cap the scoring.