Greenville, SC – After a controversial ninth inning call that should’ve ended the game, the North Greenville University baseball team’s recent woes continued with a 10-9 loss in 11 innings to Southern Wesleyan University at Fluor Field at the West End.
North Greenville began the game on fire from the start, scoring three runs through the first four innings while freshman Tyler Wirsu had a no-hit bid broken up in the fourth. The Crusaders scored early with one run in the top of the first on an RBI single from Andrew Lawrence before an RBI single from Cuyler McAuliffe and a sacrifice fly by John Reinholz drove in two more runs in the fourth inning to gain a 3-0 lead.
The North Greenville offense continued to roll scoring two more runs in the seventh inning on an RBI triple from Allen Staton and a sacrifice fly by Lawrence to build a five-run lead before Southern Wesleyan scored two in the bottom of the inning to cut into the Crusader lead.
McAuliffe recorded another RBI with a double in the eighth inning, followed by a two-RBI single by Staton and another RBI by Lawrence to extend the lead to 9-2 in favor of North Greenville. SWU scored two more run in the bottom of the inning to cut the Crusader lead to five runs heading into the final inning of play.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, the Warriors fought back beginning with three straight walks loaded the bases. After Joe Taylor scored on a pass ball, Michael Hyman singled in a run to bring the score to 9-6 in favor of North Greenville. Andrew Howard followed with an RBI single of his own to cut the Crusaders lead to two runs before a ground out put runners on second and third with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
SWU’s Matt Arant stepped to the plate and grounded out to shortstop to end the game. However, the call was overturned by the home plate umpire, scoring a run for the Warriors and bringing the game within one run. Clint Clymer singled to tie the game at nine runs apiece and send the game into extra innings.
After a scoreless tenth inning, Southern Wesleyan loaded the bases before Stephen Wyatt hit an RBI single to end the game and give the Warriors the one-run victory.
Wirsu started on the mound for North Greenville and had his best outing of the season, pitching four innings and allowing just one hit while striking out two batters. Bradley Scruggs continued his consistency on the mound, pitching 1 1/3 innings of relief, allowing just two hits, while Tim Youtsey struggled over 2/3 of an inning of work, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits.
Brandon Poole saw action in two innings of relief, allowing two runs (one earned) and Bo Lucas faced just two batters in the game, walking both, and allowing two runs (one earned) in the game. Staton was hit with the loss after allowing four runs (two earned) on five hits with four strikeouts over the final two innings.
Adam Taylor led the Crusader offense with a 2-for-5 performance, including a triple and two runs scored, while Staton finished the game 2-for-4 with a triple of his own, one run scored and three RBI. Reinholz was also 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored and an RBI as McAuliffe recorded two hits of his own, including a double with a run scored and two RBI.
The Crusaders (9-12, 2-4 in conference) will have just one day off before beginning a three-game series with Conference Carolinas member Limestone College on Friday, March 15 at 2 p.m. in Gaffney, SC.