Greenwood, SC – The North Greenville University offense exploded in the first game of a double header with Lander University as the Bearcats and Crusaders split a Saturday twin bill with NGU winning game one 18-15 in 10 innings and Lander earning an 8-1 victory in game two on Saturday afternoon.
In game one, the Crusaders opened the game with two runs in the first inning of play as an RBI single by Allen Staton and an RBI double by Andrew Lawrence gave the team a two run lead early on. Lander scored a run in the bottom of the inning and three more in the second to take a 4-2 lead. However, the Crusaders put four runs on the board in the top of the third inning, highlighted by a two- RBI triple from redshirt junior John Reinholz to claim a 6-4 lead.
North Greenville’s lead held until the bottom of the fifth inning when Lander put three runs on the board to go ahead by one run until the Crusaders pulled ahead in the top of the sixth on a two-RBI triple, this time from the bat of senior Adam Taylor. However, Lander’s offense erupted in the bottom of the inning to the tune of six runs on just three hits to make the score 13-9 in the favor of the Bearcats.
The Crusaders used three runs in the eighth inning and three runs in the ninth to take a 15-13 lead, but the Bearcats scored two more runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at 15 runs apiece and forced extra innings.
In the top of the 10th inning, redshirt sophomore Josh Sealey reached on an error and freshman Drew Lipscomb drew a one-out walk before junior Taylor Hollifield drove in the eventual winning run with an RBI double to center field. After Lipscomb was thrown out at home, A. Taylor drove in two more runs with an RBI double to build the lead to 18-15, a score that would stand after the Bearcats were shut down in the final half of the frame.
A. Taylor led the offense in the first game, finishing 3-for-6, including a double and a triple, with three runs scored and five RBI. Staton also recorded three hits in the game, including two doubles, while also driving in five RBI of his own. Lawrence finished the game a solid 3-for-5 with a double and two RBI, while Reinhoz, Hollifield, and senior Frank Polino all recorded RBIs in the game.
Lawrence was given the start on the mound and pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits while recording five strikeouts. Freshman Javy Taylor pitched 3 2/3 innings in his first college game, allowing six runs (two earned) on just three hits as he also walked four batters. Staton earned the victory after pitching the final two innings of the game for his first win of the young season.
In the final game of the three-game series, Lander’s bats continued to stay hot as the Bearcats scored four runs in the second and eight runs overall on nine hits to claim the 8-1 victory. North Greenville’s lone run came in the ninth inning as A. Taylor scored on an error by the Lander shortstop.
Hollifield and Lawrence both finished game two 2-for-4 at the plate, while A. Taylor and Sealey went 1-for-3 and Staton finished 1-for-4 in the game.
Freshman Tyler Wirsu was credited with the loss in his first collegiate game as he struggled with control over four innings on the mound, allowing five runs (one earned) on four hits, while walking four batters and hitting four others with three strikeouts. Fellow freshman Erik Markwat and redshirt freshman Tim Youtsey combined to pitch the final four innings of the game.
The Crusaders (1-2, 0-0 in Conference Carolinas) will play the third and final game of a three-game road trip as they travel to Hickory, NC for a matchup with South Atlantic Conference member Lenoir Rhyne University on Friday, Feb. 8 beginning at 3 p.m.