Two runs were all the Crusaders needed to beat the Wingate Bulldogs 2-1 in Florence, SC. The win is North Greenville's first opening day win since 2014.
North Greenville got off to a quick start when Clark Scolamiero reached base due to a throwing error in the top of the first inning. The error allowed Scolamiero to reach third base on the play. Connor Grant then came through in his first RBI opportunity of the season by grounding out to shortstop.
The bats went silent for the next four and a half innings thanks to dominating performances by starting pitchers Tucker Burgess of North Greenville and Brandon Donahue of Wingate.
In the top of the 6th inning, the Crusaders would strike again, this time with an earned run. With two outs, Taylor McCuen hit a double down the right field line. Head coach Landon Powell decided to pinch run for McCuen with Jackson Muldowney. This move would pay off as a double by Andrew Frazier allowed Muldowney to score with ease to put the Crusaders up 2-0.
Burgess would pitch six shutout innings before being replaced by Blake Hamilton. He finished the game allowing no runs, three hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts.
Wingate would not go quitely, however. In the bottom of the 8th inning with the bases loaded, Colby Barnette's sacrifice fly to left field allowed Reece Daniel to score to break the shutout. However, the run did not seem to startle Hamilton, who finished the game and earned the save.
North Greenville will return to Florence tomorrow for a double-header. Game 1 is scheduled for 11am against the Claflin Panthers. Game 2 against the Francis Marion Patriots will follow afterward.