LAKELAND — After multiple lightning delays prolonged the start of Tuesday’s Region 2-A contest, Lanier County used a strong offensive performance from Robert Zirkle to hold off a late-game comeback from Turner County to win 8-5.

Zirkle finished the night 4-for-4, plating two runs and falling just a home run short of the cycle. He got things going at the plate for the Bulldogs in the home half of the first inning, lacing a single through the left side of the infield to put Lanier up 1-0.

The Bulldogs pulled away from that point, scoring six runs through four frames to push the lead to 6-1. But when Walker Bass ran into some trouble on the mound in the fifth, Andrew Patten was called on to shut the door. Despite pitching himself into some trouble, shut the door is exactly what Patten did.

He was erratically effective, striking out five batters in 2 2-3 innings of work. Out of the 11 Turner County batters Patten faced, nine plate appearances ended in a walk or a strikeout. He allowed just one run on one hit.

Justin North and Cade Giddens each had multi-hit nights for Lanier County, which improves to 11-9 (7-6 in the region).

The Bulldogs will hit the road to face Telfair County and Clinch County, before returning home to face Charlton County and finishing the season at Claxton.

Lanier County is currently ranked 18th in the GHSA Class A power rankings, but only the top 16 teams advance to the state playoffs.

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