GREENWOOD – The Lander baseball team got seven shutout innings from the bullpen and scored the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning to win its 16th consecutive game over rival Erskine, 4-3, on Wednesday night at Dolny Stadium.
Lander (12-20) has not dropped a game against the Flying Fleet (16-16) since Feb. 16, 2011.
"I was super proud of our guys for fighting through some defensive miscues," said head coach Jason Burke, "battling through some things at the plate, and once we got to our bullpen we threw very well."
The Bearcats jumped out to an early lead as Colton Yeager led off the bottom of the first with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Jenkins. After a single from Mike Fitschen put runners on the corners, Nathan Schreckengost drove a single up the middle to plate Yeager and put Lander up 1-0. A wild pitch allowed Schreckengost to move into scoring postition before Bailey Connell cleared the bases with a double to left field, giving the Bearcats a 3-0 advantage.
Erskine erased the deficit with three runs of their own, all with two outs, in the top of the second to even the score at 3-3. The Flying Fleet threatened to take the lead in the top of the sixth when Justin Fox tried to score from second on a passed ball, but Mike Fitschen applied a diving tag at the plate to keep the score tied.
With two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Bailey Connell walked, Roury Glanton was hit by a pitch, and Landon Dupert drew a free pass to load the bases for Carson Jones. The Bearcat rightfielder was plunked on the arm to bring home the go-ahead run.
Erskine threatened with a leadoff triple in the top of the ninth, but Ryan Troutman (1-0) retired the next three batters to slam the door on the Flying Fleet's rally.
Troutman shut out Erskine over the final 2.0 innings, allowing one hit with five strikeouts. Zach Farmer (3-1) took the loss for the Fleet, allowing one run with two walks in 1.0 inning.
Lander travels to Augusta for a Peach Belt Conference series this weekend.