Greeneville, Tenn. – Senior pitcher Devin Vance (Taylors, SC) pitched a strong game, but gave up five walks and five earned runs in five innings of work as 12th ranked Tusculum edged North Greenville University 5-1 in the first game of a doubleheader.
The Pioneers pulled away from NGU late in the second game to win 11-5.
Vance limited the hard-hitting Pioneers to eight hits in his bid to win his fifth straight game. However, Tusculum squeezed out runs in four innings and the Pioneer’s Taylor Rakes tossed a four-hitter at the Crusaders. Freshman Cory Matheson led NGU with a 2-3 performance in game one and he drove in the only run with a single down the leftfield line in the third inning.
In the second game, freshman Drew Provence, who had primarily been used as a reliever by NGU Head Coach Travis Henson, started his first college game. Provence quieted the hot Pioneer bats and North Greenville took a 3-1 lead into the bottom of the fifth inning. Provence allowed only three earned runs, but tired, and the Crusaders could not contain one of the nation’s top NCAA II hitting clubs. Tusculum erupted for six runs in the bottom of the fifth and four in the 6th to put the game out of reach.
Matheson had another strong game going 2-5 in the second contest, Tyler Callicutt was also 2-5 and Anthony Foulk was 2-3 with an RBI. NGU had 14 men left on base in the game.
Randy Stegall also managed to reach base six of eight times against Tusculum.
Coach Henson noted that the Crusaders competed hard against a very good Tusculum team. “We have shown a lot of improvement on offense,” the first year mentor said. “Devin Vance pitched a great first game but just had a little bit of control problems. We also decided to start Drew Provence in game two and he had a lead heading into the late innings, so we were proud of his effort. We also made some very good defensive plays, so we’ve show some poise in some tough spots.”
North Greenville’s next game will be Tuesday, April 21 at Mars Hill for a 3:00 p.m. contest.