Tigerville, SC – The Crusaders used late rallies in each game of a doubleheader as the North Greenville University baseball team took both games on the day against West Virginia State University 4-1 and 5-3 on Friday afternoon at Ashmore Field.
In game one, the Crusaders scored the game’s first run in the fourth inning of play when Wade Wyatt Jr. laced a double to centerfield, scoring Frank Polino from second to take an early lead.
The Yellow Jackets fought back to score a run of their own in the top of the seventh inning to tie the game at 1-1 and send the game into extra innings. However, North Greenville put together a rally in the final inning of play, beginning with a leadoff double from Tyler Mitchell.
After the Jackets intentionally walked Adam Taylor, Allen Staton stepped to the plate and belted a three-run homerun over the centerfield fence to end the game and seal the 4-1 victory for North Greenville.
Staff ace Ryan Woodring put together his best performance of the young season, pitching six strong innings, allowing just one run on six hits with three strikeouts. Staton earned the win in game one after pitching the final two innings, allowing just two hits and striking out two batters for his second victory of the year.
Staton also shined at the plate in the first game, finishing 3-for-4 with a homerun, a run scored and three RBI, while Wyatt Jr. was 1-for-2 with a double and an RBI. Taylor was also 1-for-2 in the game with a run scored and Mitchell finished the game 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored.
Game two was just as exciting as the first as West Virginia State jumped on the board early with a run in the top of the second inning before an RBI single from Wheeler Smith tied the game at one run apiece after two full innings of play.
In the top of the third, the Yellow Jackets put up two more runs to take a 3-1 lead early on. However, an RBI single by Andrew Lawrence in the bottom of the frame cut the Jackets lead to just one run.
Both team remained scoreless until the bottom of the sixth inning when North Greenville recorded three runs on four hits to earn its second come-from-behind victory of the day. John Reinholz began the inning with a double before a single by Smith put runners on the corners with no outs. Cuyler McAuliffe advanced to first on a fielder’s choice, scoring Reinholz from third and tying the game at 3-3 with just one out on the board.
Taylor Hollifield then sent a ball to the wall for a double to put runners on second and third, before Adam Taylor tripled to score two more runs to take the 5-3 lead. Tim Youtsey finished the final inning to earn his first career save.
Lawrence began game two on the mound and pitching three innings, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out three. Ian Haley pitched a perfect two innings of relief in his first appearance of the season, while Bradley Scruggs earned his second victory of the week with a hitless inning of work.
Smith was the offensive star in game two, finishing 3-for-3 at the plate with an RBI, while Taylor was 1-for-3 with a triple and two RBI. Polino and Reinholz had identical stat lines as each player finished 1-for-2 with a double and a run scored. Lawrence was 1-for-3 at the plate with an RBI, while Hollifield was also 1-for-3 with a double and two runs scored.
The Crusaders (7-8, 1-2 in Conference Carolinas) will look to the take the series and extend their winning streak to four straight games as they host the Yellow Jackets tomorrow, March 2 at noon in Ashmore Field.