TIGERVILLE, S.C. – The Lander baseball team led into the seventh inning against the nation's top-ranked team on Wednesday night, but allowed four runs over the final three innings in a 8-7 loss to No. 1-ranked North Greenville.
Lander (16-28) grabbed a 4-0 lead in the second inning on a Peter Bocchino grand slam, but the Crusaders (33-9) answered immediately with four runs of their own in the bottom of the inning.
The Bearcats reclaimed the lead in the top of the fourth when Jordan Gibert connected for a solo home run, the first hit of his collegiate career, to put Lander on top 5-4. North Greenville plated three runs in the bottom of the seventh to move ahead, 7-5, but Mike Fitschen led off the top of the eighth with a homer and Carson Jones singled home Roury Glanton to tie the game.
With a runner on first and two outs in the bottom of the eighth, the Crusaders scored the winning run on a dropped fly ball. Lander put runners on second and third with two outs in the top of the ninth, but NGU's Kipp Rollings (4-0) ended the night with a strikeout. Rollings tossed 1.2 scoreless innings of relief to earn the win, while Carson Schlegel (1-3) took the loss for the Bearcats, allowing one unearned run in 1.2 innings of work with two strikeouts.
Lander welcomes USC Aiken for a three-game Peach Belt Conference series beginning on Thursday night at 6:00 p.m.