GREENWOOD – The Lander baseball team rallied for six runs in the final three innings, but could not overcome a nine-run deficit as Young Harris handed the Bearcats a 12-9 loss in the Peach Belt Conference opener for both teams on Friday night at Dolny Stadium.
Lander (4-5, 0-1 PBC) trailed 12-3 through five innings before putting up two runs in the sixth and four runs in the seventh. The Mountain Lions (5-4, 1-0 PBC) out hit Lander, 10-9, while Lander committed three errors against YHC's two.
The two teams will play a doubleheader Saturday afternoon beginning at 1:00 p.m. Lander and YHC were originally scheduled to play Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday at 1:00 p.m., but the weekend schedule was changed in anticipation of inclement weather.
Josh Gregory started the Bearcat rally with two outs in the seventh inning, reaching with a single and advancing to third on a pair of wild pitches. Kyle Jenkins brought him home with a single to right field and then scored from first on Bailey Connell's double of the right-centerfield wall.
Trailing by seven, Lander pulled closer with more two-out magic as a Young Harris outfielder overran a Gregory fly ball to left field, allowing Roury Glanton and Carson Jones to race home. Jenkins then plated Gregory with a double to right-centerfield to make the score 12-8. Connell followed with a ground ball to shortstop that was thrown away, allowing Jenkins to score and cut the deficit to three. However, the Bearcats would not be able to pull any closer in the ninth inning.
Alex Moore (2-1) took the loss surrendering six runs on four hits with two walks and two strikeouts in 3.1 innings. YHC's Cameron Williams (3-0) earned the victory after tossing 6.2 innings and allowing five runs on seven hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. McLain Harris picked up his second save of the year with 1.1 innings of relief.
Lander jumped out to a 3-0 lead after two innings on three solo home runs from Mike Fitschen, Nathan Schreckengost, and Carson Jones. Fitschen powered his first career homer over the left field wall in the first inning and Schreckengost followed with a no-doubter over the right field. Jones put Lander up 3-0 with a solo shot to left field. Schreckengost and Jones now have 25 career homers each, four away from tying Thomas Berry's career record.
Young Harris plated two runs in the third inning, four runs in the fourth, and six runs in the fifth. The Mountain Lions have posted double-digit runs in three of their nine games this season.