Belmont, N.C. – North Greenville and Belmont Abbey turned in a heavyweight slugfest on Saturday afternoon, splitting a league double-header 5-4 and 14-13.
The Crusaders earned the 5-4 win in game one to even the series at a game each. Foley George got things started with a three-run blast in the first inning to give NGU a 3-0 lead. The score would remain until Abbey evened it at 3-3 in the fourth inning with a three-run homer of its own.
The two teams traded runs in the fifth inning to make the score 4-4. David Houser would earn an RBI with a single that scored Nathaniel Maggio who reached base with a one out double. BAC used an RBI single to tie the score in the home half of the fifth frame.
Maggio’s third hit of the day would be the biggest, a solo home run to right center field giving NGU the 5-4 advantage. John Leopard would lock up his league leading eighth save of the season in the seventh, working around a leadoff single with a ground-ball out and two strike-outs to secure NGU’s 15th Conference Carolinas win of the season.
Maggio finished game one 3-4 with two runs scored and an RBI. George was 2-4 with three RBI while David Houser was 1-3 with an RBI. Tucker Moring earned his first win after throwing one inning of shutout baseball.
Each team absorbed body blows in game two as they battled for the leagues top spot. The Crusaders took a 2-0 lead after three innings but a three-run third would give Belmont Abbey the advantage. David Houser would knock a solo home run in the first while Jessep Polk plated a run with a batted ball in the third.
North Greenville responded to the Abbey three-run frame with a big fourth inning. A Bennette Hilldouble would score Josh Black to even the tally at three while Maggio’s second homer of the day would plate Hill and give NGU a 5-3 lead.
Abbey would answer the challenge with a seven run fourth inning to take a 10-5 advantage. The Crusaders used a grand slam sandwiched between a two-RBI double and a solo homerun to take their biggest lead of the series.
North Greenville would go scoreless in the fifth but would piece together a seven-run inning of its own in the sixth. Jessep Polk would deliver the big blow in the inning with a single that platted two-runs while David Houser and Andrew Frazier would also account for an RBI.
The 12-10 lead would be erased in the home half of the sixth as Abbey scored three more runs to take a 13-12 lead. North Greenville evened the score at 13 in the eighth on Josh Black’s RBI single that scored Houser.
Abbey would deliver the final blow in the ninth inning with a leadoff home run that earned the Crusaders the rubber game win and first place in Conference Carolinas.
NGU pounded out 15-hits in the game two loss led by Bennette Hill and Jessep Polk who were both 3-4. Polk finished with a game high three RBI and a run scored while Hill had an RBI and two runs scored. Houser was 2-4 with two runs and two RBI while Josh Black was 2-5 with two runs scored.
North Greenville falls to 27-11 overall and 15-3 in league play. The series loss to Belmont Abbey is the firs conference series loss of the season for NGU. The Crusaders will host Francis Marion University on April 5th at 6pm.