Tigerville, S.C.—NGU’s pitching staff recorded 17 strikeouts and the North Greenville offense pounded out 19 hits in two games on Saturday afternoon, helping the Crusaders earn their first two wins of the season, with a 3-2 win, and a 7-5 win over the Hawks of Chowan University.
North Greenville threatened twice to break the game open early in the first game, loading the bases but the Hawks were able to work out of the jams, picking two consecutive outs in the bottom of the first to end the threat, while using a double play and a pop out in the second to escape with no harm done.
Chowan would make NGU pay in the top half of the third, platting the first run of the game on a wild pitch. Courtney Groce would come around to score after reaching base on a North Greenville error, and advancing to third after a sacrifice fly from Liz Hipple. North Greenville would escape further damage though as the Hawks would strand two after a strike out ended the inning.
The Crusaders would finally come through in the home half of the third inning. A Rachel Glazebrook leadoff single would set NGU to tie the game, as pinch runner Christie Reilly would later come around to score after hits from Cassi Carpenter and Tori Freedman. Freedman would get credit for the RBI as the Crusaders evened the run tally at 1-1.
Neither team could muster any more offense until the late innings. Chowan threatened with runners in the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings, but solid pitching snuffed out any rally from the Hawks. North Greenville would take its first lead of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning with one swing of the bat from Sarah Armstrong, who’s single would score both Megan Steading and Megan Jonson, giving NGU a 3-1 lead. No further damage would be done however as the Hawks would pick up two quick outs to end the threat.
Chowan wouldn’t go quietly however, setting NGU up for a second late inning loss in three days. The Hawks would pick up a run on an RBI single from Liz Hipple, which pulled Chowan to within one, with runners on second and third with no outs in the inning. North Greenville would then pick up two quick outs on a popup and strikeout before loading the basses with a hit batter. True to form however, NGU would wiggle out of the jam, and end the threat and the game, as pitcher Rachel Glazebrook would earn her 15th strike out of the game.
Both Tori Freedman and Megan Johnson registered two hits for the Crusaders in game one, while three other players had at least one hit. Johnson, Megan Steading who was 1-2 and Christie Reilly scored a run, and Sarah Armstrong (1-4) led all players with two RBI’s. Rachel Glazebrook continued her solid week on the mound, picking up 15 strikeouts, with two earned runs on seven hits. She offered two walks to Chowan Batters, and hit one.
Chowan would put the first run up on the board, in the second game of the Saturday double header. Tori Cragan would lead the inning off with a walk, and later come around to score after an RBI single from Demi Reynolds, giving Chowan a 1-0 lead, once again to start the game. But like game one, the Hawks would leave runners on base, as the inning ended on a runner interference call. The Hawks finished the day stranding 18 runners
The Crusaders would open up their scoring in the 2nd inning when Morgan Roach tied the game on a solo home run, her second of the season, to even the run total at 1-1. NGU would get one more base runner in the inning, as Christie Reilly would reach base, but the Hawks would limit the run damage to a single score, stranding Reilly on first, ending the Crusader 2nd.
The two offenses would go silent for the next couple of frames before scoring runs in chunks. North Greenville would break the scoreless streak with a two run fourth inning, as Jordan Willingham and Jordan Farmer would pick up RBI’s for the Crusaders. Willingham’s hit during the fourth inning would be her first career hit, and first career RBI. Chowan, finding itself down 3-1 would put together a three run answer, to take a 4-3 lead.
The three run inning from the Hawks would put the Crusaders in a hole, but North Greenville had an answer, in the bat of none other than Jordan Willingham. The Freshman from Raleigh, North Carolina, picked up her first collegiate hit and RBI in the fourth, but her first career home run would be bigger story, as the two run jack gave North Greenville a 5-4 lead. North Greenville would add insurance runs in the fifth, to take a 7-4 lead, when Tori Freedman’s base on balls walked in a run, and Morgan Roach’s ground out would also plate a run for North Greenville.
Chowan had no plan to go quietly however, and planned on making the final inning as interesting as possible. Straight singles would put runners on for Chowan, and Brook Bowen would later come around to score, cutting the NGU lead to just two runs. The Hawks would once again load the bases with two outs, but the drama was halted with a two out pop fly to second base that ended the threat and the game.
The North Greenville offensive attack in game two was led by Jordan Willingham. Willingham was 2-3 from the dish, with two runs scored, three RBI’s and a home run. Shayna Finley Also had two hits for the Crusaders, with a run scored. Morgan Roach continued her very early success, going 1-3 from the plate with two runs scored, two RBI’s and a homerun.
The Crusaders will wrap up a three series home stand on February 14th when they welcome Pikeville College to Tigerville for a Valentine ’s Day double header. First pitch is scheduled for 2pm at Pepsi Softball Field.