Wilson, N.C.—The North Greenville baseball team continued its inaugural trip through the Conference Carolinas tournament on Friday evening with second upset win, this time a 9-8 triumph over the 4th seeded King Tornado.
King got the best of NGU in the regular season, sweeping a three game series, but the Crusaders were poised to ensure a tournament win over the Tornado was in the books.
North Greenville struck first scoring 3 runs in the home half of the 1st inning. Derek Fulmer started the scoring with a run scoring Double. Fulmer now has 22 doubles on the season, and two in the tournament. David Frazier and Andrew Lawrence both collected RBI’s in the frame to give NGU a 3-0 lead.
King cut NGU’s lead to 3-1 in the top of the second. Josh Huffman, who led off the inning with a single, would advance to third after an NGU fielding error, and a base on balls. He would later score on a wild pitch. The Crusaders would escape the inning without further damage. North Greenville finished the day with 3 errors, which led to 2 unearned runs for King.
NGU’s starter Andrew Lawrence kept King in check until the 5th inning when the Tornado busted out 5 runs on 4 hits and an NGU error. Lawrence’s day would come to a close after 5 complete innings. He gave up 6 runs (4 earned) and struck out 4. King added 2 more runs in the 6th and took a commanding 8-3 lead into the 7th.
King looked to be in control heading into the home half of the 7th inning, but the 5th seeded Crusaders finally broke through to take their second lead of the game. A 1 out double from Markus Duckworth was the spark that lit an offensive inferno for NGU. North Greenville would go on to score 6 runs on 4 hits and 1 King error. The big winner for NGU in the inning was a run scoring double from senior shortstop David Frazier that scored Allen Staton and Anthony Foulk. Frank Polino also came through with a base knock that platted two more NGU runs.
The Crusaders would strand a runner, but the harm was done as NGU regained a 1 run lead with 2 innings left to play. King threatened to tie the game in the top of the 8th. Shane Timberlake, who led the inning off with a single, advance to 3rd, but the Tornado would leave runners on the corners. The Crusaders failed to add insurance runs in the bottom of the 8th. King however failed to score in the top of the 9th. Freshmen of the Year Allen Staton would slam the door on King in the inning retiring them in order.
At the plate, offensive leader Derek Fulmer who went 2-3 with 1 RBI and 2 runs scored once again led the Crusaders. He also had a double. Markus Duckworth (1-4) and Allen Staton (1-2) also charted 2 RBI. Staton walked 3 times.
The Crusaders are now 1 of just 2 unbeaten teams in the tournament. The other unheated team in the tournament is the 1st seeded Mount Olive Trojans. The Trojans are also the #3 ranked team in all of NCAA Division II baseball. The Crusaders secured a meeting with the Trojans on Saturday. Mount Olive swept the Crusaders exactly a week ago. The first pitch between NGU and Mount Olive is scheduled for 11am Saturday morning.