Lander baseball tops No. 17 North Georgia, stays alive in post-season hunt

Lander baseball tops No. 17 North Georgia, stays alive in post-season hunt

DAHLONEGA, Ga. – The Lander baseball team stayed alive for a post-season berth as Carson Jones homered twice and the Bearcat bullpen shined in a 7-5 Peach Belt Conference victory over No. 17 ranked North Georgia Saturday afternoon at Bob Stein Stadium.

Lander improved to 18-31 overall and 13-16 in the PBC. The Nighthawks fell to 30-16, 17-9.

The teams will meet again for the Bearcats' regular-season finale Sunday at 1 p.m. in Dahlonega. Lander needs a win on Sunday AND a Georgia Southwestern loss to clinch a berth in the Peach Belt Tournament.

Lander must finish one game ahead of the Hurricanes to clinch the eighth seed. The Bearcats and Georgia Southwestern are tied at 13-16 heading into Sunday, when the Hurricanes host UNC Pembroke after the teams split a double-header on Saturday.

Jones extended his school career home run record to 34, while Roury Glanton, Kyle Jenkins and Colton Yeager also homered for Lander.

Bearcats starting pitcher Davis Cunningham (4-6) collected the win, allowing five runs, four earned, on five hits while walking three and striking out two in five innings.

Ryan Flores, Robbie Hoyt, Bryce Jackson and Ryan Troutman tossed four hitless innings out of the Lander bullpen. Troutman earned his seventh save of the season.

After North Georgia scored an unearned run in the first, the Bearcats took a 2-1 lead in the top of the second. Glanton hit a game-tying opposite-field homer, launching his 13th round-tripper of the season over the right field fence. He is second in the Peach Belt in homers. Bailey Connell singled, advanced to second on Nathan Schreckengost's single, and scored on Zack Moore's double to put Lander on top.

The Nighthawks regained a 3-2 lead in the bottom of the second on Conner Corbitt's two-run homer, his 12th of the season.

Lander tied it in the third when Jenkins belted an opposite-field solo homer, his fourth of the season.

The Bearcats took a 5-3 lead in the fourth when Schreckengost doubled and Jones followed with his 33rd career homer.

The game was tied again in the bottom of the fourth when Jake Arnold's two-run single made it 5-all.

Lander regained the lead at 6-5 when Yeager led off the top of the fifth with a line drive over the left-field wall, his first homer of the year.

That score held all the way to the top of the ninth, when Jones led off with his 34th career homer. The blast over the left-field wall increased the Bearcat lead to 7-5 and gave Jones double-digit home runs in all three of his years at Lander (10 in 2017, 14 in 2018, 10 in 2019).

Troutman retired the Nighthawks in order in the bottom of the ninth to clinch the Bearcat victory.

Yeager led Lander with three hits while Jones, Jenkins, Schreckengost and Glanton had two hits apiece.