TIGERVILLE, S.C. – Lander erased a three-run deficit over the final two innings, but a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning gave North Greenville the win in a wild series opener at Ashmore Field on Thursday afternoon.
Lander fell to 1-4 overall, while the Crusaders improved to 3-2 on the year.
North Greenville cut the lead in half in the bottom of the frame when Bearcat starter Jacob Childress was called for a balk, bringing home Clark Scolamiero from third. NGU took the lead with a four-run sixth inning.
Trailing 5-2 in the eighth, Dowell drove in his second run of the afternoon on an RBI single and Conaway followed with a groundout that brought the Bearcats within a run. With two outs and the tying run and Dowell third, Carson Jones beat out a bouncing grounder to tie the game.
NGU retook the lead in the bottom of the eighth on a single from Andrew Frazier, but Lander answered in the top of the ninth as Nathan Schreckengost blasted a pinch-hit leadoff homer to even the score at 6-6.
After a single from Scolamiero to begin the bottom of the ninth, Connor Grant launched a two-run homer off Robbie Hoyt to give the Crusaders the win.
Grant (1-0), who came in from right field to pitch in the top of the ninth, was the winning pitcher for the Crusaders, after allowing one run on one hit and walking one in 1.0 inning.
Hoyt (0-1) took the loss for Lander, surrendering two runs on two hits with two walks in 0.2 innings of work.
Dowell was the leading hitter for the Bearcats, going 3-for-4 with a double, two runs scored, two RBI and two stolen bases.
Nathaniel Maggio was 1-for-3 with two RBI and a walk for North Greenville.
The Bearcats host game two of the series tomorrow at 5:00 p.m., at Dolny Stadium.