North Greenville ended its Tampa trip with an 11-5 loss to the #2 ranked Tampa Spartans. Down 4-1, the Crusaders tied the game in the 5th inning, but Tampa put the game out of reach with a seven run 7th inning. Tucker Burgess was charged with the loss.
Innings 1-3 (2-1 TU)
Burgess began his outing on a good note, retiring the first three Spartan hitters in a three up, three down top of the 1st. With two runners on with two outs in the bottom of the inning, Michael Neustifter came through with an RBI single down the left field line to score Utah Jones. Tampa responded in the top of the 2nd with two solo home runs to take a 2-1 lead. NGU went quiet in the bottom of the inning, going three up, three down. Burgess pitched another 1-2-3 inning in the top of the 3rd. North Greenville was able to get a runner on base in the bottom of the inning, but a double play retired the side.
Innings 4-6 (4-4 Tied)
UT added another run in the top of the 4th with its third solo home run of the game followed by a three up three down inning for the Crusaders. The Spartans scored their fourth run in the top of the 5th with an RBI sacrifice bunt. NGU broke through in the bottom of the inning with three runs including an RBI single by Jared Williams, Sean Parsons scoring due to a passed ball, and Williams cioming around to score due to a throwing error. Both teams would go three up, three down with the Crusaders hitting into another inning-ending double play.
Innings 7-9 (11-5 TU)
Tampa led off the 7th with yet another solo home run. Three consecutive base hits would follow including an RBI. Burgess was then relieved by Brent Herlong, but the Spartans continued to hit well, scoring five additional runs in the inning. Williams would get a base hit, but the Crusaders would otherwise go quiet in the bottom of the inning. Grayson Hickert took over the mound for NGU to begin the 8th, and would allow just one base hit in the inning. After Adam Sasser and Neustifter hit singles, Jeffrey Chandler knocked in Sasser with a sacrifice fly. Daniel Kight pitched a three up, three down 9th inning. Pinch hitters Elvin Rosa and Palmer Sapp were both hit by a pitch to get on base in the bottom of the inning, but were unable to come around to score.
Michael Neustifter recorded 2 hits and an RBI.
Jared Williams also put up 2 hits and an RBI. He also came around to score a run.
Grayson Hickert and Daniel Kight both pitched scoreless innings.
The Crusaders will play at home for the first time in 2019 on Friday, February 8th against the Newberry Wolves.