Crusader baseball splits opening series
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Crusader baseball splits opening series
Curt Marshall hit a home run in game 2

LAURINBURG, N.C.óSenior starting pitcher B.J. Horne (Hamlet, N.C.) allowed just two hits in six innings of work in a 5-1 season-opening victory for St. Andrews Presbyterian College but North Greenville University was able to survive a 5-4 battle in the nightcap as the two non-conference baseball teams split the pair of seven-inning contests on Saturday afternoon at Scotland High Schoolís McCoy Field.

Junior catcher Kyle Norris (Laurel Hill, N.C.) collected four hits and three RBIís to lead the Knights (1-1) offensively as first year head coach Keith Williams picked up his first win at St. Andrews. A two-run home run by senior Curt Marshall (Rock Hill, S.C.) sparked the Crusaders (1-1) win in the finale.

Horne (1-0) collected his first win of his senior season allowed just two hits, two walks, and one unearned run over six innings. The rightie fanned five Crusaders while senior reliever Travis Lee (Frederick, Md.) preserved the victory with a scoreless seventh inning.

After four scoreless innings, North Greenville scored an unearned run in the top of the fifth on a sophomore Chad Drosieko (Easley, S.C.) sacrifice fly. Sophomore third baseman Charles Weber (Concord, N.C.), who had a great defensive day, made a diving-catch in foul territory to end the inning and keeping the Crusaders from a potentially big frame.

The Knights bounced right back with a five-run outburst in the home half of the fifth. The surge included a Weber RBI-single up the middle and a senior Michael Eastwood (Grantsboro, N.C.) run-producing fielderís choice. Norris capped the rally with a two-run double to left field while also hustling around the bases and scoring on the same play because of a throwing error.

Crusaders junior pitcher Devin Vance (Taylors, S.C.) matched Horne with five strikeouts in the loss but allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits. Freshman Justin Walters (Laurel Hill, N.C.) had two of NGUís three hits in the first game.

In the second game, senior right-hander T.J. Chrusch (Fleetwood, Pa.) gave the Royal Blue and White a chance to win by hurling 4 1/3 solid innings of solid performance in only his third collegiate start. Chrusch registered seven strikeouts for St. Andrews but was pulled in the fifth due to a high pitch count.

The Knights jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first on Norris single that scored junior Ivan Rodriguez (New York, N.Y.) but the Crusaders were able to tie the game up with back-to-back doubles to lead off the fourth by Marshall and freshman Grant Kelley (Morehead City, N.C.).

Marshall followed his double in the fourth with a two-run homer over the 375-foot sign in center field in the fifth to put North Greenville ahead, 3-1. However, a senior Sam Williams (Rockingham, N.C.) single through the left-side of the infield in the sixth plated Eastwood and cut the deficit in half.

The Crusaders took advantage of a fielding error in the seventh and scored two more unearned runs on a sophomore Randy Stegall (Spartanburg, S.C.) single to pull out to a 5-2 lead.

With their backs against the wall, the Knights started a rally in the home half of the seventh with a leadoff walk by sophomore Vince Giunta (Sewell, N.J.) followed by a double by senior Eric Stone (Laurinburg, N.C.). Rodriguez later scored Giunta with a sacrifice fly and Weber reached base as the potential tying run after being hit by a pitch. Eastwood then pulled St. Andrews to within one with an RBI single that scored Stone.

After a stolen base by Eastwood put the would-be tying and scoring runners in scoring position, junior reliever Mark Bordeaux (Sumter, S.C.) finally settled down and forced a groundout as the Crusaders escaped with the 5-4 victory. Bordeaux earned his first save of the season while junior starter Grayson Smith (York, S.C.) was credited with the win.

Norris collected three base knocks in the final game while four different Crusaders had two hits as each team collected 10 hits in the finale. SAPC collected a total of 18 hits on the day but left 10 runners on base.

North Greenville hosts Carson-Newman Tuesday afternoon for a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m.