COLUMBUS, Ga. – Colby Painter’s solo home run over the right field wall in the eighth inning Thursday night led the No. 30 Lander baseball team to a 6-5 victory in the second round of the Peach Belt Conference Baseball Tournament at Golden Park.
Lander (36-16), the fourth seed in the East Division, will meet the USC Aiken/Montevallo winner at 4 p.m., Friday. The Bearcats’ 36 wins is a single-season, school record, while the victory also marks the furthest a Lander team has ever advanced in the PBC Tournament.
Columbus State (30-22), the third seed in the West, drops to the loser’s bracket and will face Francis Marion, a 12-2 winner over Georgia College, at 12:30 Friday.
Lander’s Ross Davis (3-3) earned the win in relief as he struck out seven, walked one and allowed just two hits in 5.2 innings pitched.
CSU’s Drew Dades (4-3) took the loss after striking out two, walking two and allowing one earned run on one hit in 1.1 innings.
The Bearcats jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning when Ian Harvey led off with a single and later scored on a Columbus State error, and Jordan Owen’s RBI single plated AJ Nunziato.
After cutting the margin to 2-1 in the bottom of the inning when Cyle Rasmus scored from third on a double play, CSU knotted the game at 2-all in the third inning when Navarro Hall walked, stole second, advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored when Brett Teschner’s pop fly landed in the middle of three Lander players.
The Bearcats got back on top at 3-2 in the fourth when Jeff May, who walked and advanced to second on a wild pitch, later scored on a Columbus fielding error.
The Cougars took their first lead of the game at 5-3 in the fourth. Seth Corbitt doubled, moved to third on Rasmus’s bunt single and scored on a fielder’s choice, then Cameron’s Scott’s RBI single plated Hall and J.D. Pullen.
Patrick Grady’s fifth inning homerun over the left field wall – his sixth of the season – cut the Cougar lead to 5-4 in the fifth, then the Bearcats tied the game at 5-all in the seventh on Kevin Childs’ bases-loaded walk.
For Lander, Grady batted 2-for-3 and Nunziato went 2-for-5.
For the Cougars, Corbitt went 2-for-3, and Teschner and Scott both batted 2-for-5.