Tigerville, SC – With the sun shining down on Ashmore Field, the North Greenville University baseball team was on fire at the plate, crushing five home runs en route to a 15-4 victory over the Lions of Mars Hill College on Tuesday afternoon.
The Crusaders built an early lead with a four-run first inning, thanks to a solo home run from Taylor Hollifield and a three-run home run from Tyler Mitchell to take a 4-0 advantage.
North Greenville again put up four runs, this time in the third inning of play. Frank Polino began the scoring with an RBI single before a two-run home run by Mitchell, his second of the day, cleared the bases and put North Greenville ahead by seven runs. Josh Sealey walked, followed by a double from Jessep Polk to put two runners on with just one out. A sacrifice fly from Wade Wyatt Jr. drove in Sealey from third to put the Crusaders ahead 8-0 after three full innings.
Mars Hills’s Matt Mayo sent a solo home run over the fence to put the Lions on the board in the fourth inning, but the Crusader offense continued to dominate.
In the bottom of the fourth, North Greenville plated five more runs, including a two-RBI single from Polk and a two-run home run from Adam Taylor, to build the lead to 13-1 after four.
Mayo homered again in the sixth, another solo shot, before an RBI double from Andy Runion made the score 13-3 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning.
A two-run home run from Allen Staton in the seventh put the Crusaders ahead 15-3 before the Lions scored one more run in ninth to make the final count 15-4 in favor of North Greenville.
Freshman Javy Taylor turned in another quality performance, pitching six full innings, allowing just two runs on seven hits and striking out two batters in the game. Cuyler McAuliffe, the Crusaders' every day third baseman, pitched two innings of relief and allowed just one run on to hits in his first appearance on the mound. Colby Tollison finished the game, allowing one run on two hits with a strikeout in one inning of work.
At the plate, Staton led the team with a 2-for-5 performance, including his eighth home run of the season, with two runs scored and two RBI. Taylor was 2-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBI, while Mitchell was 2-for-4 with two home runs, three runs scored and five RBI.
Hollifield also recorded two hits in the game with a home run, a run scored and an RBI and Polk finished the game 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored and two RBI. Sealey was 1-for-2 on the day with two runs socred as Polino was also 1-for-2 with three runs scored and an RBI of his own.
The Crusaders (12-22, 4-11 in Conference Carolinas) and Lions will play the second game of a home-and-home series tomorrow, April 2 in Mars Hill, NC at 3 p.m.