Thomas Berry had a walk-off hit in Game 1 and Erik Lunde homered twice in the second game as the No. 2 Lander Bearcats clinched their first-ever Peach Belt Conference regular season baseball championship with a double-header sweep over Armstrong Atlantic State Saturday on Senior Day at Dolny Stadium.
Lander won the first game 8-7 on Berry’s game-winning hit in the bottom of the 10th inning, and the second game 10-4. Cam Hokanson (3-1) was the winning pitcher in relief in both games.
The Bearcats finished the regular season 43-6 overall and 24-6 in the Peach Belt, edging Columbus State for the title. Columbus State swept a double-header against North Georgia Saturday, but Lander’s three-game sweep put them over the top due in part to Columbus’s loss on Friday.
The Bearcats celebrated with a dog pile on the field after left fielder Weston Lawing caught a fly ball for the final out of the night.
Armstrong Atlantic fell to 25-18 overall and finished 15-15 in the PBC.
Both teams will play in the single-elimination Peach Belt Conference Tournament May 10-11 at Roberto Hernandez Stadium on the campus of USC Aiken. The NCAA Division II Southeast Regionals will follow May 15-18, possibly at Dolny Stadium.
Before the game, the Lander senior class was recognized including pitchers who have a combined record of 40-13 with a 3.64 earned run average and 360 strikeouts, and hitters who have totaled 789 hits, 153 doubles, 77 homers, 504 RBI, 387 walks, 157 hit by pitches, 616 runs, a .326 batting average and .450 on-base percentage coming into Saturday’s double-header.