Rome, Ga. – The North Greenville softball team split a double-header in the first day of the National Christian College Athletic Association Southeastern Regional Tournament on Tuesday, taking a 6-3 decision over third seeded Judson 6-3, followed by a 1-0 loss to tournament host and first seeded Shorter.
Judson took an early lead in game one, striking with the first run of the game in the second inning to take a 1-0 advantage. The Crusaders wouldn’t stay down long however, answering with two runs in the home half of the second frame. Shayna Finley would stat the first RBI of the day with a fly ball to right field, that scored Tori Freedman on a fielding error. Finley would then come around to score on Sarah Armstrong’s single into center field, earning NGU a 2-1 lead.
The Crusaders added two more runs in the fifth inning, taking a 4-1 lead using timely hitting and Judson Miscues. A wild pitch would score Jordan Farmer who led off the inning with a single, while also advancing Megan Johnson to third. Johnson would score on a sacrifice fly from Cassi Carpenter, handing the Crusaders a three run lead with just six outs left to advance to the winners bracket.
The Eagles bounced back with two runs of their own in the sixth inning. Relief pitcher Rachel Glazebrook, who entered in the second, was touched up for two runs, in the frame, using two hits to cut the NGU lead to 4-3. Glazebrook finished the game allowing just two runs on four hits. She struck out 10 while also going 2-3 from the plate with a run scored.
The Crusaders were solid at the plate in game one, pounding out 10 hits with five RBI. Four of the 10 hits for North Greenville came in the home half of the sixth, as NGU extended its lead to 6-3. Consecutive singles from Glazebrook, Finley, and Armstrong would load the bases for Jordan Farmer. Farmer would come through with a two RBI single, scoring Finley and Glazebrook, extending the Crusader lead.
Glazebrook would close the book on the Eagles with a strikeout and two ground outs in the top of the seventh, advancing the Crusaders to Tuesday’s game two. Jordan Farmer led the way for NGU in the first game, going 2-4 at the dish with a game high two RBI. Sarah Armstrong was 3-4 with an RBI, while Shayna Finley was 1-3 with two runs scored and an RBI.
Game two on Tuesday would be more a defensive struggle. The Hawks would pound out six hits, but the NGU defense and starting pitcher Cassi Carpenter would work around Shorter scoring threats for much of the game. The Hawks stranded seven runners in the seven inning contest, five of which were in scoring position. Carpenter finished the game allowing one hit on six hits, striking out four.
The pitching performance for the Hawks was equally impressive, holding North Greenville to one hit, credited to Megan Johnson who was 1-1 with a hit-by-pitch. Christina Ezell struck out seven Crusaders in a complete game shutout. The Crusaders were able to muster just three base runners, one on Johnson’s hit by pitch, and one in the seventh as Morgan Roach reached on a Hawks’ fielding error.
The difference maker for Shorter came in the home half of the sixth inning. Erica Bynum would break a 0-0 tie with one swing, lifting a Carpenter offering over the leftfield fence, to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead. North Greenville would look to answer in the top of the seventh, but would strand one runner.
The loss to the Hawks puts NGU one game away from elimination. The Crusaders will look to win three games on Wednesday, with the first game starting at 11am. The Crusaders will take on Judson again, this time in an elimination game. Live Stats for Saturday are available HERE.