Tigerville, SC - A complete game shutout by Canaan Cropper and a strong performance by Blake Hamilton led the Crusaders to a much-needed series sweep of the Erskine Flying Fleet. Cropper and Hamilton both received the wins and the Crusaders have moved up to third place in the Conference Carolinas baseball standings.
Game 1 saw Cropper pitch seven innings allowing three runs, eight hits, no walks, and striking out four. Alex Calvert, who was charged with the loss, started the game for Erskine.
North Greenville started the scoring in the third with a 2-RBI single to center field by Nathaniel Maggio.
An additional run was added by NGU in the fourth thanks to a Clark Scolamiero RBI single through the right side to give North Greenville a 3-0 lead.
Erskine tied the game in the top of the fifth due to a 3-run home run to right field by Trevor Wood. The Crusaders responded in the bottom to take the lead back when Andrew Frazier singled down the left field line to bring in a run.
The Crusaders scored an insurance run in the sixth when Scolamiero singled up the middle to bring in Eric Gilbert, who had stolen second base to get into scoring position prior to the hit.
Cropper allowed a leadoff hit in the seventh, but retired the next three batters to end the game and secure the win for NGU with the final score of 5-3.
Game 2 saw another strong pitching performance by the Crusaders. Hamilton pitched 7.1 innings and allowed two earned runs off of four hits. He walked two, struck out seven, and received his fourth win of the season. Zack Bowers, who started the game for the Flying Fleet, was charged with the loss.
A Connor Grant solo shot to left field put NGU on the board in the first.
Erskine was able to tie the game in the fourth with an RBI single down the right field line by Connor Greene. The Crusaders responded with three runs in the fourth by way of an RBI ground-rule double to right center by Andrew Frazier and a 3-run home run to left center by Bennette Hill.
Andrew Meadows added three additional runs for NGU in the seventh with an RBI pinch-hit single to right field that cleared the bases, scoring Maggio, Scolamiero, and Gilbert.
The Flying Fleet began to put up one last fight in the eighth and ninth innings. Chaz Davey connected with a solo home run to left field. In the ninth, a throwing error allowed Greene to score one last run to make the final score 7-3.
At the conclusion of the series, NGU improves to 26-11 and 12-6 in conference play. Erskine fell to 24-12 overall and 13-5 in conference play.
The Crusaders will face the Coker Cobras in Tigerville on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 PM.