Leading 9-5 heading to the bottom of the ninth, North Greenville received all that they could handle. USC Aiken, ranked third in the nation in NCAA Division II baseball, was able to get the tying run to third base, but the Crusaders were able to record the final out to take the 9-8 victory over the Pacers.
Canaan Cropper took the mound to start the game for the Crusaders while James Lynch started the game for the Pacers.
North Greenville started off the game with a bang as Ryan Brown crushed a three-run home run to right field in the top of the first. USC Aiken responded with a two-run homer of their own to make the score 3-2 heading to the second inning.
With a runner on second in the third inning, Eric Gilbert came through with an RBI single to center field which brought in Ryan Brown to increase the Crusader lead to two.
North Greenville would make more noise in the fourth as Clark Scolamiero scored on a passed ball. Nathaniel Maggio would then hit the second home run of the night for the Crusaders to make the score 7-2 in favor of NGU. Once again, the Pacers would respond with a home run of their own in the same inning.
Going quiet in the fifth and sixth innings, North Greenville was able to add to the lead in the seventh. With two runners in scoring position, Scolamiero connected with a single to center field to bring in Gilbert. With the bases loaded later in the inning, Brown walked to bring in a second run in the inning. USC Aiken would add two runs of their own in the bottom of the inning thanks to a balk with a runner on third and a sacrifice fly, which made the score 9-5 heading into the eighth.
Heading to the bottom of the ninth, Sam Pruitt was called to close the game. Pruitt was able to record two outs, but not before allowing four singles, a walk, and two runs. Head Coach Landon Powell then brought in Scolamiero from center field to take the mound. An RBI single brought the Pacers to within a run. With the tying run at third and the winning run at the plate, a fly out to right field sealed the upset.
North Greenville improves to 12-4 while the third ranked Pacers fall to 12-3. Canaan Cropper received the win and James Lynch received the loss.
The Crusaders return to Tigerville this weekend to face their second conference opponent of the season, the Belmont Abbey Crusaders. First pitch will take place Friday at 3:30 PM.