Story by Zachary Shore, North Greenville University:
With the winner one win away from advancing to the National Championship Final, top-seeded North Greenville scored an NCAA Division II Baseball National Championship record 18 runs and outscored No. 5 Angelo State by a record 15 runs, 18-3, at the USA Baseball National Training Complex on Tuesday night.
The Crusaders advance to the winners’ bracket championship on Thursday, June 9 at 6 p.m. They will face the winner of No. 5 Angelo State and No. 8 West Chester and will have to be beaten twice to not advance. In the other bracket, No. 2 Point Loma won 11-3 over No. 3 Southern Arkansas and will face either them or No. 6 Rollins in their winners’ bracket championship on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.
With junior right-hander Noah Takac nearly unhittable, he allowed just one hit and walked a pair with two strikeouts over five innings, the Crusaders belted 18 hits of their own in the victory. In fact, NGU held a 10-0 lead before the Rams tallied their lone hit off Takac in the fourth.
Ethan Stringer got things started as he drove the eighth pitch of the game over the left centerfield fence for the 1-0 lead. In the second, Pat Monteith led off with a double, Josh Senter singled and Zach Zarra plated Montieth with a sacrifice fly. Cambell Conard followed with a two-run home run to right field for the 4-0 lead. A Cory Bivins single and a Gehrig Octavio double added another run.
The Crusaders were at it again in the fourth as four singles, two walks and a hit-by-pitch plated five runs. Octavio delivered Zarra with a bases loaded sac fly, John Michael Faile brought home two with a single and Senter added two more with a base hit to left for the 10-run lead.
Angelo State scored three runs on one hit in the sixth thanks to three hit-by-pitches and a two-run single. However, North Greenville answered back in a big way with a six run seventh. Octavio singled home a run, Bivins scored on a wild pitch, Faile delivered an RBI groundout and Monteith drove a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall for a two-run home run and a 16-3 lead.
Three consecutive walks in the ninth loaded the bases for the Crusaders who got a run on a Jax Cash infield base hit and another scored on a double play for the record-setting 18th run.
Faile and Conard each tallied three hits with the former driving in three runs and the latter plating two and scoring three times. Monteith and Bivins each added two hits and scored three times while Monteith added two RBIs. Stringer also touched the plate three times while Octavio had two hits and drove in three with a run scored in the win.
NGU used five pitchers in the contest with Dawson Taylor, Thomas Skipper, Nate Roof and Tristen Hudson each making an appearance.
Jordan Williams led the Rams with a run and two RBIs while Angelo State used six pitchers in the loss.