AASU takes two from Lander
Pirates knock Bearcats out of first place in PBC East
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Drew Walker's RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning gave No. 16-ranked Armstrong Atlantic State a 2-1 win, earning the Pirates a Peach Belt Conference doubleheader sweep of visiting Lander and a series sweep of the Bearcats. Armstrong won Sunday's first game, 10-4.
With the wins, the Pirates (21-4, 5-1 PBC) knock Lander (15-12, 5-3 PBC) out of first place in the PBC's East Division while taking over first place themselves.
In game one, the Pirates took a quick 1-0 lead on an RBI single by John Roberts. Armstrong then recorded a pair of four-run innings - in the fourth and sixth innings - to build a 9-0 lead. Roberts had a two-run single in the fourth inning and Clayton Miller had a two-run triple in the sixth.
Lander battled back with three runs in the seventh inning, keyed by a two-run single from A.J. Nunziato, but Armstrong added an insurance run in the eighth on a bases-loaded walk to Josh Purvis.
The Bearcats made the Pirates nervous in the ninth, scoring a run on an RBI single by Robert Skinner and loading the bases, but Travis Morris entered the game and struck out Jordan Owens to end the ballgame and give the Pirates the 10-4 win.
Chandler Hall (5-1) hurled seven innings of four-hit, three-run ball, walking six and striking out five to pick up the win for Armstrong. Chris Thomas (4-2) took the loss for the Bearcats, giving up seven hits and seven runs - five earned - in 5 1/3 innings, walking two and striking out four.
Game two was a tight affair as both the Pirates' Scott Strickland and the Bearcats' Brandon Farquhar held the offenses in check through seven innings. Armstrong pushed across a run in the first inning on an RBI groundout by Roberts, while Lander pushed one across in the fifth inning on an RBI single by Kevin Childs.
In the top of the eighth inning, Lander put the first two batters on, but Morris came out of the bullpen and retired three in a row - two by strikeouts - to end the Bearcat threat.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, the Pirates took a 2-1 lead. Drew Walker singled to right field and Josh Heath headed to the plate. The throw from right fielder Patrick Grady reached the plate and catcher Jeff May's swipe tag missed Heath, but Heath missed the plate. As Heath scrambled back to touch the plate, the ball popped out of May's glove, allowing Heath to tag between May's legs for the go-ahead run.
In the ninth, Morris gave up just one walk in retiring the side and picking up the win. He improved to 2-0 on the season with two innings of no-hit ball, striking out three. Strickland was strong for the Pirates with seven innings of six-hit, one-run ball, walking five and striking out 10.
Farquhar (2-1) took the loss for the Bearcats in game two, giving up seven hits and two runs in eight innings of work, walking two and striking out four.
Roberts led the Pirates in the doubleheader by going 5-for-8 with five RBIs, including a double, while extending his current hitting streak to 15 games. Mike Barnhill and Clayton Miller each had three hits in the doubleheader.
Lander was led by A.J. Nunziato's three hits and two RBIs in the doubleheader, as well as Skinner's three hits.