GREENWOOD – The Lander baseball team held a 4-0 lead through three innings, but fell to to Tusculum, 6-5, at Dolny Stadium on Monday night.
Lander (5-7) had a chance in the bottom of the ninth with runners on the corners and one out, but a strikeout and a flyout to centerfield ended the Bearcats' rally effort as Tusculum (6-7) held on.
The Bearcats took the early lead as Kyle Jenkins drove in Bailey Connell with a sacrifice fly in the first inning. Lander kept the momentum with home runs from Roury Glanton in the second inning and Connell in the third, followed by a Nathan Schreckengost sacrifice fly to push the lead to 3-0.
Tusculum got on the board in the top of the fourth, but Lander answered in the home half on another Jenkins sac fly to make the score 5-2.
A four-run fifth inning from the Pioneers doomed Lander, as the Tusculum bullpen would face the minimum over the next four innings before eluding danger in the ninth to secure the win. After a one-out pinch-hit triple from Drew Luckey, new Pioneer pitcher Christian Cuba issued a walk to Ward Betts before striking out Vincent Addona and inducing a fly out at the centerfield warning track from Connell.
Tusculum's Austin Collins (1-0) allowed one run on two hits in 2.0 innings of relief to earn the win. Nick Foray (0-1) suffered the loss after surrendering two runs on two hits in 0.2 innings. Cuba picked up his third save of the season for the Pioneers.
Lander will return to Peach Belt Conference action this weekend with a home series against UNC Pembroke.