Bearcats Ruin Crusader Home Opener In Tigerville
Tigerville, SC – The Crusaders opened up the 2014 portion of their home schedule with a tough 16-9 loss to the Bearcats of #20 Lander University on Friday afternoon at Ashmore Field.
Lander struck first in the third inning, scoring four runs on no hits as an error and two hit batsmen led to the early 4-0 lead until an Allen Staton RBI single put the Crusaders on the board in the bottom of the 3rd inning.
However, the Bearcats struck again in the top of the 4th with a grand slam from first baseman Connor Lewis to gain the seven-run advantage. The Crusaders score twice in the 5th on back-to-back singles from sophomores Foley George and Jessep Polk to make the score 8-3 in favor of the Bearcats after five full innings of play.
The 6th inning of play saw Lander come alive, scoring eight runs on just three hits, highlighted by a grand slam from right fielder Patrick Grady to get the Bearcats on top by 13 runs. North Greenville also came alive in the inning, as Staton crushed a grand slam over the left field fence to cut into the Lander lead, making the score 16-7 after six innings.
North Greenville threatened again in the 9th inning of play as senior Taylor Hollifield and red-shirt sophomore Connor Edwards each recorded RBI singles in the final frame as the Crusaders dropped their home opener.
Red-shirt junior Kelvin Minnig was hit with the loss after allowing eight runs (four earned) on just two hits, striking out one and walking five batters in three innings of work. Freshman Eric Hertel pitched 2 1/3 innings of relief, allowing three runs on two hits with two strikeouts, before relieved by Ben Kramm who allowed three runs on no hits as all three batters faced reached base.
Freshman Patrick Busscher was solid in his first collegiate game, allowing two runs on two hits with two strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings of work, while fellow freshman Matt Eubanks allowed just
one hit in one inning on the mound.
At the plate Staton had his best game of the young season, finishing 4-for-5 with a double, a home run, two runs scored and five RBI. George finished the game 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Polk was 2-for-4 with an RBI of his own.
The Crusaders (1-3, 0-0 Conference Carolinas) will travel to Greenwood, SC tomorrow as they take on Lander in a double-header to finish out the three-game series. First pitch on Saturday in scheduled for 1 p.m.