Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Tigerville, S.C.—The North Greenville softball team stepped out of league play on Wednesday, splitting a double dip with Francis Marion of the Peach Belt Conference winning game one 3-1, while dropping game two 5-4 in extra innings.

Game one was very much a pitcher’s duel, as NGU’s Rachel Glazebrook and FMU’s Taylor Luff combined for 18 total strikeouts, allowing only 12 hits between the two. Luff struck out 12 for the Patriots while Glazebrook registeres 6 k’s. Glazebrook however would get the win when the final out was recorded, improving her to 6-2 as a starter.

Neither team was able to scratch a run in the first three innings. NGU mustered just one base runner in the first few, while Francis Marion recorded two base hits, but no runs. The Patriots struck first however in the fourth inning, when Ashley Burney smashed a solo homerun to left field, giving FMU a 1-0 lead. The Patriots put two more runners on in the inning, but Glazebrook worked around the trouble, leaving two FMU runners stranded.

North Greenville’s offense would finally come through in the sixth inning. Cassi Carpenter would record the first RBI for the Crusaders with an infield ground out that scored Glazebrook from third, evening the tally at 1-1. The Crusaders would tack on two more runs in the inning, taking advantage of a Patriot error which allowed two more Crusader runs to cross the plate, giving North Greenville a 3-1 lead.

Francis Marion would threaten damage in the top half of the seventh inning. The Patriots quickly loaded the bases, but the Crusaders picked up three quick outs, on two ground outs to second, and a strikeout, ending the threat, and the game. The Crusaders had several players with one hit, including Cassi Carpenter who was 1-3 with the first North Greenville RBI. Rachel Glazebrook and Tori Freedman were both 1-3 with a run scored, while Megan Johnson was hitless, but led the Crusaders with two RBI’s.

The Crusaders would break out the bats earlier in game two, taking a quick 2-0 lead in the opening frame after retiring the Patriots in order in the top of the inning. Jordan Farmer picked up the big hit in the inning, stroking a two run double into left field, scoring Sarah Armstrong, and Carpenter who reached earlier in the inning on a walk and a fielder’s choice. NGU threatened more damage, but the Patriots escaped further harm, as the Crusaders stranded two.

Francis Marion would get its first runner on base in the second, but failed to advance it past second base, as Glazebrook, on the mound for the second time on Wednesday, worked around the one out single, recording two consecutive outs to end the threat. North Greenville would add some insurance in the second inning, plating two more to take a 4-0. NGU would take a 3-0 lead on a bases loaded wild pitch, scoring Sarah Armstrong from third. The Crusaders would add another run, when a bases loaded walk scored Shayna Finley. Tori Freedman would be credited with the RBI. Francis Marion once again worked around another jam however, as NGU would strand four more base runners.

The Patriots would hold their offense until the fourth inning, when they scored two runs on four hits, to cut into the four run NGU lead. The two run fourth cut the deficit to 4-2. FMU would trail up to the sixth inning when Shelby Mathews evened the score at 4-4, with one swing of the bat. Mathews two run bomb off of Glazebrook, accounted for FMU’s second home run of the day, none more important for the Patriots.

The Crusaders would go scoreless in the sixth, and both teams would be unable to scratch across a run in the seventh, sending the game into extras. FMU would strike first in extras, taking a 5-4 lead on another hit from Mathews, this time giving the Patriots the lead at 5-4. Mathews finished the day with three RBI, on three hits, while also scoring twice.

The Crusaders would have their chance in the bottom half of the inning, even advancing the tying run to third, but would be unable to capitalize on the opportunity. NGU finished the game with just four hits, while the Patriots pounded out nine. Jordan Farmer was the leader at the plate for NGU, going 1-4 with two RBI’s, and a double. Shayna Finley was 1-5 with a run scored, while Tori Freedman was 1-1 with two walks and an RBI.

The loss in game two, to Francis Marion snapped NGU’s seven game win streak. NGU’s overall record after the Wednesday split sits at 11-6. The Crusaders will be back in action on Saturday, when they host Pfeiffer University in the second Conference Carolinas series of the 2014 season. First pitch between the NGU and the Falcons is scheduled for 1pm.