Saturday, February 21, 2015

Tigerville, S.C.—An eight run first inning from King put North Greenville in a hole in which it couldn't climb out of, as the Tornado earned an 11-9 win over the Crusaders in the rubber game of a three game series, Saturday in Tigerville.

Jae Roberts led NGU with three RBI on Saturday, while Josh Black was 3-5 with three runs scored. Taylor McCuen was 3-4 with a run scored and an RBI while Allen Staton and Wheeler Smith both had two hits and a run scored. Smith also accounted for two of NGU's RBI.

The game Tornado broke the all zeros tie in the first inning scoring eight runs. The big inning chased NGU starter Caleb Henley early as King pounded out four hits off of NGU's big lefty, scoring five runs, four of which were earned. The Tornado scored three more runs in the inning, but stranded one runner as the Crusaders committed two errors.

North Greenville was not left without answers however, as the Crusaders answered back with a big inning of their own. Allen Staton, Wheeler Smith, and Taylor McCuen accounted for consecutive base hits to load the bases with no outs. Jae Roberts would come through with the big hit from the cleanup spot, slapping a three run double into the left field corner. Roberts would later score on a John Leopard single to cut the King lead in half. The final RBI of the inning came from Drew Lipscomb, whose RBI sacrifice fly cut the lead to 8-5.

The two squads then traded runs in the second inning, before King extended its lead to four with another run in the third inning. North Greenville pitching and defense tightened up holding the Tornado scoreless for five innings. NGU's offense took advantage of the King dry spell, adding another run in the fourth inning to cut the lead back down to three runs.

The Crusaders scratched across another run in the fourth inning, and then again in the sixth to pull to within two of the Tornado as King took a 10-8 lead into the final three innings. North Greenville had its chances to score again in the seventh and eighth innings, but came up short, stranding runners in scoring position during both frames.

The Tornado finally found the scoreboard again in the ninth inning, using a two out single to extend the lead to three runs. The Crusaders got the leadoff man aboard in the in the home half of the inning, but were only able to score one run, as the Tornado escaped Tigerville with the first Conference Carolinas series win of the season.

The Crusaders fell to 5-7 overall after Saturday's loss and 1-2 in league play. NGU will step out of Conference on Tuesday to take on Lincoln Memorial University at 2pm at Ashmore Field. NGU will play its second Conference Carolinas series next weekend at Emmanuel College.