Tigerville, SC – The North Greenville University baseball team returned home to host Lenoir Rhyne University in a double header on Saturday. The Crusaders and Bears would split the twin bill with North Greenville taking game one, 17-6, while the Bears earned a 7-3 victory in game two of the day.
In game one, the Bears jumped on the board early with a run in the top of the first inning before the Crusaders tied the game in the third inning on an RBI single from the bat of Allen Staton.
In the fourth inning, Lenoir Rhyne scored two runs on two hits to take a two-run lead until the Crusaders erupted for four runs of their own in the fifth inning to take a two-run lead of their own. The Bears battled back to tie the game in the top of the sixth inning, however the North Greenville bats continued to stay hot as the Crusaders scored five more runs in the sixth, highlighted by a three RBI single by Andrew Lawrence and a two-run home run from Frank Polino gave the Crusaders a five run lead.
However, relief pitching continued to curb the Crusaders’ enthusiasm as Lenoir Rhyne was able to score five runs of their own in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game at 10-10 before North Greenville retook the lead with three runs of their own in the bottom of the inning on a three-run home run by Polino.
Lenoir Rhyne scored one run in the eighth inning and five more in the ninth to give the Bears a three-run edge as the Crusaders headed to the plate for the final time in the game. After Adam Taylor walked and Staton singled to give the Crusaders two base runners, Lawrence stepped up to the plate and blasted a three-run home run to centerfield to tie the game with no outs in the inning. Freshman Wheeler Smith was put into the game to pinch run after a Polino walk and quickly advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Stewart Hunt. After a fly out by Foley George advanced Smith to third, senior John Reinholz laced a double into right center to end the game in walk-off fashion.
Freshman Tyler Wirsu started on the mound for North Greenville, pitching six innings and allowing five runs on six hits while striking out two batters.
Javy Taylor allowed three runs without recording an out before Tim Youtsey pitched 1 2/3 innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on one hit. Staton pitched one inning of relief, allowing five runs on four hits before Hunt earned his first career win after pitching 1/3 of an inning, retiring the only batter he faced.
On offense, Polino finished the game 2-for-6 with two home runs, two runs scored and six RBI, while Lawrence was 3-for-5, including a double and a home run to go with four runs scored and an outstanding eight RBI. Staton finished 4-for-6 at the plate with three runs scored and one RBI, while Taylor was 3-for-4 with three runs scored and RBI of his own. Josh Sealey continued his recent hot streak with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate.
In game two of the doubleheader, North Greenville scored runs in the third, fourth and fifth innings, including a solo home run by Taylor to the opposite field to build a one run lead. However, the Bears scored three runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh to earn the four-run victory on the road.
Taylor led the offense in game two, finishing 2-for-4 with a home run, one run scored and one RBI, while Staton also finished 2-for-4 at the plate. Polino continued his strong day at the plate, finishing 2-for-3, while Reinholz and Tyler Mitchell each finished the game 1-for-3 with an RBI in the second game.
Lawrence was hit with the loss after pitching six innings on the mound, allowing five runs on six hits while striking out five, before Hunt pitched the final inning, allowing two runs on two hits.
North Greenville (2-4, 0-0 in Conference Carolinas) will travel to Wingate, NC on Wednesday, Feb. 13 for a matchup with South Atlantic Conference member Wingate University at 3 p.m.