No. 21 Armstrong Atlantic beats No. 10 Lander on walk-off single by Fritts
SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Armstrong Atlantic State senior left fielder Chris Fritts hit a two-out RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning to give the No. 21-ranked Pirates a 4-3 Peach Belt Conference victory against visiting No. 10 Lander on Sunday afternoon at Pirate Field.
The walk-off victory capped a day of celebration for the Pirates (31-13, 19-10 PBC), who honored head coach Joe Roberts and all current and former Armstrong baseball alumni in pre-game ceremonies before first pitch against the Bearcats (34-14, 19-11 PBC). Coach Roberts was honored for becoming the all-time winningest head coach in NCAA Division II history and Armstrong baseball players and alumni celebrated the 1,500th win in program history.
The crowd was treated to a thrilling contest between the two teams as Lander struck first in the fourth inning on Connor Lewis' RBI single to put the Bearcats up 1-0.
Lander added a run in the top of the fifth inning on a solo home run by Erik Lunde, but the Pirates answered back in the bottom of the fifth inning on an RBI single by Fritts.
A bases-loaded walk drawn by Graham Ramos in the top of the sixth inning gave Lander its largest lead of the game at 3-1, but Chris Zittrouer responded with a two-run double into a stiff wind that hit halfway up the left field fence, knotting the game at 3-all.
The Pirates then won the game in the ninth thanks to some timely hitting by sophomore Joey Lupus, who reached on a one-out single. Will Thomas' sacrifice bunt moved Lupus to second, then Fritts greeted reliever Kyle Tate with an opposite-field shot that carried over the head of Patrick Grady and short-hopped the fence, scoring Lupus with the winning run.
Caleb Woods (6-2) picked up the win in relief for the Pirates with 4 1/3 innings of four-hit, one-run relief, walking two. Chess Malone (8-3) took the loss for the Bearcats, giving up nine hits and four runs in 8 2/3 innings, walking two while striking out seven.
Fritts finished the day 3-for-5 with a pair of RBIs while Zittrouer went 2-for-4 with two RBIs to highlight the Pirates offensively.
Lewis and Chris Hyatt each picked up a pair of hits in the game for Lander.
Armstrong returns to action on Friday hosting Belmont-Abbey.