No. 17 Pirates Sweep DH At No. 9 Lander, Take PBC Series
GREENWOOD, S.C. - The No. 17-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State University baseball squad swept a Peach Belt Conference doubleheader from host and No. 9-ranked Lander on Sunday, winning 11-8 and 7-3 to take the weekend series from the Bearcats in Greenwood, S.C.
With the wins, the Pirates improve to 23-9 overall and 10-8 in the Peach Belt Conference, while Lander slides to 25-10 overall and 12-6 in the league.
In game one, big innings for both teams resulted in a back-and-forth affair that wasn't decided until the Pirates put up four runs in the top of the seventh inning, erasing an 8-7 deficit for the 11-8 win.
Lander struck first with a three-run second inning, keyed by Jacob Tisdale's two-run single, to take a 3-0 lead. Armstrong responded with a pair of runs in the top of the third on an error and an R.J. Dennard RBI double to make the score 3-2.
The Pirates would take their first lead of the day with a five-run fourth inning, chasing Lander starter Brandon Miller. A two-run Drew Walker home run, followed by a Zach Taylor RBI single, a squeeze bunt RBI by Alex Frederick and an RBI single by John Roberts would make it a 7-3 Armstrong advantage.
Lander struck back with four runs in the bottom of the fourth on an error, a two-run double by Tisdale and an RBI double by A.J. Nunziato, tying the score at 7-all.
The Bearcats reclaimed the lead in the sixth on another RBI double by Nunziato, but Armstrong would take the lead for good with four in the seventh on a Mike Barnhill RBI single, an RBI single by Casey Maloney, an error and an RBI single by Frederick.
Scott Strickland (6-1) would then retire the last nine batters he faced for the complete-game victory for the Pirates. Strickland gave up 10 hits and eight runs - seven earned - in nine innings, walking three while striking out seven.
Patrick Grady (1-3) took the loss for the Bearcats, giving up three hits and four runs in 2 1/3 innings pitched, walking two while striking out three.
In game two, Ethan Bader limited Lander to five hits and three runs in eight innings, walking seven while striking out nine to notch his PBC-leading seventh win of the year in the 7-3 victory.
Armstrong built a 5-0 lead over the first five innings on a two-run single by Dennard in the first inning, an RBI groundout by Barnhill in the second, a Cody Powell RBI double in the third and an RBI groundout by Frederick in the fifth.
Lander answered with a three-run frame in the bottom of the fifth, keyed by a two-RBI single by Jordan Owens, then in the bottom of the sixth, a lightning delay halted play for 30 minutes.
When play resumed, the Pirates tacked on single runs in the seventh, on a sacrifice fly by Frederick, and in the eighth, on a Roberts RBI single. Bader kept the Bearcats off the scoreboard the rest of the way, giving way to Chess Malone, who worked a scoreless ninth.
Bader improved to 7-3 with the win while Ross Davis (1-2) took the loss for the Bearcats, giving up six hits and six runs - five earned - in 6 1/3 innings pitched, walking three while striking out four.
Maloney led the Pirates at the plate in the doubleheader with a 5-for-10 day with four runs scored, while Barnhill went 3-for-6 with four runs scored.
Nunziato went 4-for-9 with three RBIs to pace the Bearcats offensively in the two games.
Armstrong returns to action on Tuesday, April 3, visiting Newberry for a 6:00 p.m. contest with the Wolves in Newberry, S.C.