Crusader offense earns baseball team first win of the season
Saturday, February 6, 2016
Crusader offense earns baseball team first win of the season

The Crusader baseball team hit its way into the win column for the first time this season, defeating Lander University in the third game of the series by a score of 11-5.

The bats came alive for North Greenville as the team was able to score 11 runs on 13 hits and was aided by five Lander errors en route to the victory.

Lander opened the scoring in the bottom half of the second inning with a bases loaded walk, followed by a sacrifice fly for the second run. Two batters later, the Bearcats got a third run across after Crusader pitcher Ethan Garner hit a batter with a wild pitch. Garner would end the inning with a strike out and a fly out, leaving the score at 3-0 after two.

The Crusaders responded immediately as the team batted around in the top of the third inning. Shaq Rolle led off the inning with a single to left field and stole second during the next at-bat. After a walk and a strikeout, Tony Davila drove in Rolle with a single to left. Nathaniel Maggio walked and David Houser singled in two more runs for the Crusaders to tie the game at 3-3. Foley George reached on an error to re-load the bases and Wheeler Smith walked, forcing in another run. Lander made a pitching change, but to no avail as Eric Gilbert singled to left field to score two more runs for the Crusaders. Rolle reached base again, this time on a fielder's choice, before Bennette Hill's strikeout ended the inning, putting the Crusaders ahead, 6-3.

Lander got two more runs back in the fourth inning with a two-run homerun before Houser responded with a two run homerun of his own in the bottom half of the inning.

The teams battled back and forth but neither team could score any more runs until the bottom of the eighth, when North Greenville added three runs to its lead to put the game out of reach. Another Lander error put Maggio on base to lead the inning off and he advanced to second on a wild pitch. Houser singled to left and George walked to load the bases as A. Meadows hit a pinch-hit, two run single to advance the Crusader lead to 10-5. Hill later singled to right to add one more run before the inning was over.

John Leopard closed the game out for the Crusaders in the top of the ninth, striking out two Bearcat hitters before forcing a ground out to third base to end the game.

Garner earned the win in the game after throwing 3.2 innings and giving up only two runs, moving him to 1-0 on the season. Leopard earned his first save of the year with his performance. Houser paced the Crusaders at the plate with his 3-5 performance to go along with four RBI's, including a homerun, and three runs scored.

The Crusaders return to the field in just three days to take on Newberry College in Newberry, S.C. First pitch will be thrown at 4 p.m. on February 9.