Burlington, N.C.—The North Greenville Baseball Team made program history on Monday afternoon, knocking off Pfeiffer University 10-4 to earn the program's first ever Conference Carolinas Baseball Championship.
The Crusaders set the tone for this tournament in Thursday night's opening round. A 14-8 comeback win over Mount Olive lit the fuse that would carry NGU to a Conference Carolinas title. The Crusaders would go on to upset first, fourth and third seeds in the tournament to advance to Monday's Championship game and a rematch with Pfeiffer.
North Greenville won each of its first three games in the tournament in comeback fashion, and Monday would be no different. The Falcons jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning as they looked to force a winner take all championship game later in the day.
North Greenville responded as it has from game one, except the Crusaders made their comeback bid earlier than the tournament usual. Josh Black would come around to score North Greenville's first run of the game on a Foley George single to even the score at 1-1. NGU extended the lead to two runs the very next batter, as Drew Lipscomb would plate two runners on a single to center field. George and Jae Roberts would come around to score to give the Crusaders a 3-1 lead. Shaquille Rolle would also get in on the action with a base hit to score Lipscomb in his first at bat, capping the Crusader's four run first.
The Falcons would chip away at the lead scoring single runs in the second and third innings, but would struggle to find the big hits down the stretch, leaving the bases loaded in the second inning and a single runner in the third. The Falcons would strand ten total runners after pounding out ten hits and coaxing three walks.
North Greenville clung to a one run lead until the fourth inning. Jae Roberts would put NGU back up by two runs with an RBI single before Allen Staton delivered a bases clearing triple to extend the lead to four runs. Black and Roberts would come around to score extending the advantage to 7-3.
Staton would come up big again in the seventh inning with a two run home run to give the Crusaders a more comfortable 9-3 lead. The home run was the 29th of his career, setting a new career record for the North Greenville baseball program. Josh Black would plate NGU's tenth run of the game in the eighth inning with an RBI single down the left field line to score Shaquille Rolle, sending the Crusaders to the ninth with a seven run lead.
The Falcons loaded the bases in the ninth inning but would score just one run after Adam Boghosian settled in to record three consecutive outs including two strikeouts to shutdown the Pfeiffer offense and earn North Greenville their first ever Conference Carolinas baseball title.
The top of North Greenville's lineup won the day for the Crusaders, accounting for seven of NGU's nine hits, and seven of ten RBI. Allen Staton was 2-3 with a run scored and four RBI to lead all hitters while Josh Black and Jae Roberts also accounted for two hits each.
North Greenville pitchers Hunter Dilworth and John Leopard along with outfielders Jae Roberts and Shaquille Rolle, and second baseman Andrew Locklear were named to the All-Tournament team. Outfielder Jae Roberts earned a second recognition collegecting the tournament's most valuable player. The win moves the Crusaders into uncharted territory, as the program's first trip to the NCAA Southeast Regional. The Crusaders will learn their fate on May 10th during the NCAA Division II selection show. Regionals will be played May 14-17 at a location that will be announced on a later date.