Friday, February 6, 2015

Tigerville, S.C.—The North Greenville softball team opened the 2015 season with a Friday split with Chowan, earning a 6-1 win in game one, followed by an extra inning 6-5 loss in game two.

It was the 2015 home opener for the Crusaders, but Chowan did the first damage on the scoreboard in the second inning. A leadoff double got things going for the Hawks, as Cassie Carpenter faced her first trouble of the day. Courtney Diamond would come around to score on Chowan's next at bat, as a single to right center made the score 1-0 in favor of the Hawks. Carpenter would work her way out of the jam though, leaving the bases loaded and holding the deficit to just one run.

North Greenville would score its first run of the season in the home half of the second. Starter Cassie Carpenter would even the tally at 1-1 with one swing, looping a fastball over the left center field wall, giving her, her first RBI and first homer of the season. It was NGU's only hit of the inning, but sparked the NGU offense as the teams worked through the later innings.

NGU would put together back-to-back scoring innings in the third and fourth, as the Crusaders inched close to their first win of the 2015 season. Shayna Finley and Morgan Roach both picked up an RBI on singles in the third, while Jordan Willingham made her first collegiate homer count, smashing a line drive screamer over the left field wall, scoring three runs, and extending NGU's lead to 6-1.

The Crusaders would outhit the Hawks, 6-1 in the first game, two of which were homeruns. Willingham finished with two hits and led NGU with three RBI, while Carpenter, Roach, Jordan Farmer, and Finley all had one hit. Carpenter pitched a complete game for the Crusaders, allowing one run, while striking out nine and walking five.


Box Score

Both offenses got off to a quick start in game two, combining for five runs in the first two innings. The Hawks did their early damage in the opening frame, scoring two runs on three hits. NGU aided the Chowan rally with an error that led to a run. NGU erased the 2-0 deficit in the 2nd with a three run burst to take a 3-2 lead. NGU once again used the long ball to do the damage, as freshmen Taylor Wilson connected for a three run blast, scoring Megan Johnson and Jordan Farmer who reached on a base hit and a walk to lead off the inning.

The bats would go silent for the most part until the seventh inning as neither team was able to plate a run. The Hawks could only muster five more hits during the middle innings, while stranding seven runners. The Crusaders struggled a little more at the dish with just two hits, while stranding four runners.

The game picked up in the seventh when the Hawks evened the tally at three. Consecutive singles got the rally started for Chowan, before the game tying run scored on a passed ball after runners advanced a base on a sacrifice bunt. Freshmen relief pitcher Avery Callahan would work around any other runs, but NGU failed to score in the bottom of the seventh, sending the game into extras.

The Hawks seemed to break the game open in their half of the bonus inning, as a three run blast, their only homerun of the day gave them their first lead of the game at 6-3. Callahan avoided further runs from Chowan, as the inning ended after a Hawk runner left the bag early attempting to steal.

NGU would have to scrape off the rust in the bottom of the eighth. The Crusaders would be down to their final out before threatening. NGU would plate two runs on a Chowan fielding error to cut the lead to 6-5. The Crusaders rally would end however on a strikeout, as NGU dropped to 1-1 on the season after the Friday split.

Taylor Wilson's 2-3 second game would lead NGU on offense, including her first RBI's as well as her first career homer. Megan Johnson, Finley, Roach, and Haley Gray also had hits. The Crusaders will welcome Tusculum College to Tigerville on Saturday for a non-conference double-header starting at 1pm.