Greenwood, SC – The early season struggles continued for the North Greenville University baseball team as they were swept in a double header by the Bearcats of Lander University, losing game one 9-3 and dropping a close game two 7-6 on Saturday afternoon.
The Crusaders struck first in game one as junior Allen Staton drove in a run in the 1st inning to give North Greenville the early lead before the Bearcats score three runs in the 2nd inning and four runs in the 4th inning for a 7-1 lead.
North Greenville looked to mount a comeback in the 8th inning on a two-run home run from redshirt sophomore Jessep Polk until Lander score its final two runs in the bottom of the inning to take a 9-3 victory in game one.
Polk finished the game 1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI, while redshirt junior Stephen Cantrell was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
Redshirt junior Matt Laurens was hit with his second straight loss after allowing seven runs (three earned) on six hits with four strikeouts in 4 1/3 innings of work. Freshman Patrick Busscher pitched the final 3 2/3 innings of relief, allowing two runs on three hits, striking out four batters of his own.
Game two saw the Crusaders strike first once again as Staton drove in his second RBI of the day on a single, scoring Polk from second in the 1st inning.
North Greenville extended its lead in the top of the 3rd, beginning with a triple from sophomore Drew Lipscomb who was driven in on an RBI double by Cantrell. Polk followed with an RBI double of his own before being driven in by sophomore Foley George to make the score 4-0 in favor of the Crusaders.
Lander was able to score two runs of their own in the bottom of the 3rd, before RBI doubles by George and freshman Chuck Lawing in the 5th put the Crusaders 6-2. The Bearcats scored once more in the bottom of the inning to cut the Crusader lead down to three runs.
Three more runs by Lander in the 7th inning tied the game at 6-6 until an RBI triple in the bottom of the 9th gave the Bearcats the 7-6 comeback victory at home.
Polk once again led the team at the plate, finishing 3-for-4 with two doubles, an RBI and three runs scored. Staton was 2-for-4 with an RBI of his own, while George was also 2-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored.
On the mound, Staton pitched 6 1/3 innings in his first start of the season, allowing three runs on six hits with a career-high nine strikeouts. Freshman Eric Hertel cameon for 1/3 of an inning of relief as he allowed three runs on no hits as he struggled with his command. Senior Ryan Woodring took the loss, allowing just one run on four hits with three strikeouts in two innings of relief.
The Crusaders (1-5, 0-0 Conference Carolinas) hit the field again on Tuesday, Feb. 11 when they travel to Anderson, SC for a matchup with Anderson University at 3 p.m.