Tigerville – It wasn’t pretty, but North Greenville University rallied late on Friday evening to take down Conference Carolinas rival Mount Olive 4-3, eliminating the Trojans from postseason play.
Friday’s opener was everything you would expect a postseason baseball game to be with solid pitching, timely hitting, and some fireworks. The Trojans struck first after four innings when Coy Barnett singled in the first run of the game to make it 1-0. NGU starter Michael Giacone worked around another chance for the Trojans to score, coaxing a double-play to end the threat.
NGU’s turn came in the bottom of the fourth when the Crusaders struck for three runs of their own. Lex Tutten’s infield single would do the first bit of damage as it brought home, Jared Williams, to even it at 1-1. Josh Senter would tack up an RBI with a ground-out while Utah Jones would come through with an RBI single to at brought around Tuten to make it 3-1.
The lead didn’t last long though as Mount Olive, which was facing elimination tacked up two more runs to even it at three. The Trojans took advantage of an NGU error to even the tally but stranded a pair of runners as Giacone delivered two more ground-outs to end the threat.
Both teams would put runners on in the coming frames but neither was able to deliver the big hit. The Trojans’ best chance in the second half of the game came in the 8th inning when they put two runners on with one out. Jared Lembcke, the second reliever of the day for the Crusaders showed no panic though, picking up two big outs to leave the UMO runners stranded again.
The eighth inning started with a pop-out for North Greenville but quickly changed direction after a Jack Morris ground-rule double put the Crusaders in business. Morris eventually advanced to third base on Jeremy Whitehead’s single to left field. The eventual winning run came across on the next at-bat when Utah Jones laid down one of the biggest sacrifice bunts of the season for NGU, scoring Morris and giving NGU the 4-3 lead.
The Crusaders stranded Whitehead in the eighth but the run was un-needed as Kipp Rollings entered in the ninth and shut down the Trojans with a ground out, a pop-out and a strikeout which ended the game.
Lembcke would get credit for the game two win as Rollings earned his fifth save of the year. Offensively Jeremy Whitehead was 2-4 while Utah Jones was 1-4 with two RBI. Lex Tuten and, Jared Williams, and Jeff Chandler all finished with a hit and a run scored while Tuten tacked on an RBI.
The Crusaders take on Lincoln Memorial at 8:40, looking to advance to the Championship series unblemished.