Tigerville, SC – A ninth inning rally fell a few runs short as the North Greenville University baseball team dropped a high-scoring 14-10 contest to in-state rival Southern Wesleyan University at Ashmore Field on Tuesday afternoon.
The Warriors offense heated up from the start, scoring five runs on four hits in the first inning of play, before North Greenville’s Tyler Mitchell hit his fifth home run of the season, a two-run shot over the left field wall, in the bottom of the inning to bring the Crusaders within three runs.
Southern Wesleyan scored one more run in the third inning to ahead 6-2, until the Crusaders put three runs of their own on the board in the fifth inning of play.
After Cuyler McAuliffe scored from third base on a pass ball, Mitchell drove in Drew Lipscomb with an RBI single before Allen Staton capped off the scoring with an RBI double of his own, making the score 6-5 in favor of Southern Wesleyan after five full innings.
However, the Warriors put eight runs on the board over the sixth through eighth innings of play to build an almost insurmountable nine run lead heading into the final inning of play.
The Crusaders would remain resilient despite the large deficit and put together a five-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning.
With one out in the inning, Lipscomb singled followed by a walk and a single by Jessep Polk and Mitchell to load the bases. Adam Taylor, Staton and Andrew Lawrence each used an RBI single to bring home three runs before Wheeler Smith drew a bases loaded walk to bring home the fourth run of the inning. Josh Sealey ended the scoring with a sacrifice fly before the Warriors ended the threat and the game.
Freshman Javy Taylor had a solid performance from the mound despite the five-run first inning of work. The right-hander pitched five complete innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on five hits and striking out four batters in the loss.
Erik Markwat allowed four runs on four hits in his only inning of work, while Aaron Gates pitched 1 1/3 innings of relief, allowing four runs (one earned) on four hits with two strikeouts. Griffin Spires pitched the final 1 2/3 innings of work, allowing just one hit in his appearance.
On offense, Mitchell led the team going 3-for-5 from the plate, including a home run, with three runs scored and three RBI, while Staton was 2-for-5 with a double, one run scored and two RBI. Taylor also recorded two hits in the game with one run scored and one RBI, while Lawrence, Smith and Sealey each recorded an RBI of their own.
The Crusaders (9-11, 2-4 in Conference Carolinas) and Warriors will square off again tomorrow, March 13 as the two teams travel down the road to play at Fluor Field, home of the Greenville Drive, in Greenville, SC. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.