Crusaders Split Doubleheader with Lions
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
Crusaders Split Doubleheader with Lions
Benjamin goes for complete game victory

TIGERVILLE, SC -- The Crusaders split the Wednesday afternoon doubleheader against Mars Hill College played at North Greenville University. Mars Hill came from behind to steal the victory from the Crusader in the first game 5-2. The Crusaders struck back in the second game behind the pitching of Michael Benjamin and hitting of Dayton Lupton. For the season the Crusaders improve to 2-12 and Mars Hill goes to 10-6.

Game 1 – Mars Hill 5, North Greenville 2

The first game of the doubleheader was a classic pitchers duel. Starters Devin Vance for North Greenville and Eric Stewart for Mars Hill were on top of their games as they went neck-and-neck for the first six innings. Stewart managed to end up the victor though as defensive troubles plagued the Crusaders in the seventh, leading to four runs crossing the plate for Mars Hill, stealing away victory.

Mars Hill led off the scoring in the top of the third inning. After Austin Boehme led off the inning with a bunt back to the pitcher, Matt Oleski drew a walk from Devin Vance. Devin Presnell followed the walk by reaching on an error by North Greenville third baseman Dayton Lupton, bringing Oleski to second. Michael Dobre drove Oleski in from second with a single to left field. With two outs, Corry DiBiase walked to load the bases, but the Crusaders escaped the inning without any more damage as Danny Miller lined out to left field.

North Greenville responded in the bottom half of the third as Lupton singled to right field to start off the inning. Following the sacrifice bunt by Chase Pope and a groundout to third by Chris Harbit, the Crusaders got on the board as Rand Stegall reached on a throwing error by pitcher Stewart, scoring Lupton from second base. The next batter, Josh Hohn, drove a ball into the right-center gap, scoring Stegall. However, Hohn was stranded as Cory Hinton grounded out to third base.

From the fourth inning to the sixth Vance and Stewart swapped putting up zeroes on the scoreboard as the teams combined for two total baserunners.

The game was broken open in the seventh as the Crusaders tried to seal the deal against Mars Hill. In the top of the seventh Daniel Coffey led off the inning for the Lions with a single to left field. Boehme followed with a bunt single, advancing Coffey to second. Oleski followed with Boehme’s bunt, with a sacrifice bunt, moving Coffey and Boehme over to second and third. After Coffey scored on a wild pitch from Vance, Presnell followed with a single, driving in Boehme, making the game 3-2 Mars Hill. Vance’s day ended with the single and he was replaced on the mound by Crusader reliever Mark Bordeaux. After Presnell stole second base, Dobre drove in Boehme on an error by centerfielder Hohn. With two outs, DiBiase reached on an error by the Crusader second baseman, driving in Presnell. Though Mars Hill threatened, the Crusader defense steeled up to close out the inning without another score.

For the Crusaders in the seventh, Stewart went three up and three down as Grant Kelley, Chad Drosieko, and Lupton were unable to reach base.

For the season, Stewart improves to 1-1, while Vance falls to 0-4.

For the game, Mars Hill was led by Michael Dobre (2-4, 2 RBI) and Austin Boehme (2-4)

North Greenville was led by Randy Stegall and Josh Hohn who both went 1-3 with an RBI

Game Two North Greenville 7, Mars Hill 0

The afternoon game was a different story for the Crusaders as they jumped out in front early in the game and cruised to an easy victory behind freshman pitcher Michael Benjamin.

In the second inning, with one out, Chad Drosieko and Dayton Lupton hit back-to-back singles. After Chase Pope reached on an error loading the bases, Chris Harbit and Randy Stegall drove in runs with back-to-back singles off Mars Hill starter Brendan Van Popering. However, the Crusaders were unable to score any more as Josh Hohn hit into a fielder’s choice and Cory Hinton grounded out to third.

The Crusaders added another run in the third inning as Curt Marshall led off the inning with a single. After two outs, which moved Marshall to third, Lupton followed with a single up the middle, driving him in.

The Crusaders blew the game open in the bottom of the fourth and put the game away as they scored four runs. Harbit led off the inning by getting hit by a pitch. He was sacrificed over to second by Stegall and moved to third on a base hit by Hohn. With one out, Hinton singled driving in Harbit, and Marshall followed with a single driving in Hohn. Kelley sacrificed in Hinton with a fly to center. The Crusaders closed out the inning with Lupton driving in Marshall with a base hit.

For the game, Benjamin went the distance, going all seven innings while only giving up four hits and recording four strikeouts.

Mars Hill was led by Brian Williams who went 2-2.

The Crusaders were led by the hot bat of Dayton Lupton who went 3-4 with 2 RBI and a run scored.

The Crusaders are back in action this weekend against Fairmont State for a three game series starting Friday at 1 p.m.