NCAA Tournament: Pirates Stay Alive with 3-2 Win over Lander
MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. - Armstrong Atlantic State University sophomore Ethan Bader hurled a 150-pitch complete-game five-hitter to help the No. 7-ranked Pirates stave off elimination at the NCAA Southeast Regional with a 3-2 win over No. 20 Lander on Friday evening at Scarborough Field in Mount Olive, N.C.
With the win, the Pirates (41-15) advance to Saturday's action and will take Catawba at 4:30 p.m. Lander (38-19) will take on the loser Francis Marion/Tusculum, who play later Friday, on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.
Armstrong broke a scoreless tie in the top of the fourth inning with two runs, on an RBI single by Drew Walker and an infield RBI single by Will Thomas.
The Pirates stretched that lead to 3-0 in the seventh on an RBI groundout by John Roberts.
Bader, meanwhile, kept stranding Bearcat runners and pitching out of tough situations. He got out of a two-on, one-out jam in the fourth with a popout and a strikeout, then stranded two more in the sixth with an inning-ending strikeout.
In the ninth, a two-RBI single by Jacob Tisdale brought the Bearcats to within one run, 3-2, with two outs, but Bader induced a popup into shallow left field by Colby Painter to end the game.
Bader collected his third complete game of the year with the win, improving to 12-4 on the season by giving up just five hits and two runs in nine innings of work, walking three while striking out nine. The 12 wins in a season ties him with Chuck Christopher (1985), Bill Gearhart (1988) and Jon Dobyns (2003) for the most wins in a single season in Armstrong baseball history.
Todd Hughson (3-4) took the loss for the Bearcats, giving up three hits and two runs in 5 1/3 innings of work, walking five while striking out four.