GREENWOOD – North Greenville scored seven runs in the first three innings and went to defeat Lander 12-6 and clinch the series Friday night at Dolny Stadium.
The Crusaders improved to 4-2 overall, while Bearcats fell to 1-5.
The teams will complete their three-game series Saturday afternoon at Lexington County Baseball Stadium at 1:00 p.m.
North Greenville struck in the first inning on a sacrifice fly from Connor Grant, which was followed by a two-run homer from Nathaniel Maggio. The Crusaders extended the lead to 4-0 in the second when Bennette Hill scored on an error and plated two more runs in the third on Maggio's second two-run blast of the night.
An RBI single from Andrew Plunkett increased the NGU lead to 7-0 in the top of the fifth.
The Bearcats rallied in the bottom of the fifth when a Jacob Childress scored from first when Ryan Brown's diving attempt at a Reed Gray line drive came up short. Bailey Connell followed with a two-run shot over the left field wall.
The rally continued with two outs in the frame. After Alec Dowell tagged up from second on a fly ball to left field, North Greenville appealed the call, arguing that Dowell left early. As the Crusaders threw to second to appeal, Dowell raced home from third to cut the deficit to 7-4.
North Greenville extended the lead to 8-4 in the top of the sixth on an RBI double from Connor Grant. The Bearcats answered in the bottom of the frame as Childress scored on triple from Gray and Connell drove in Gray with an RBI single to make it an 8-6 game.
However, the Crusaders scored three runs in the seventh and one in the ninth to put the game away.
Sam Linn (0-2) took the loss for the Bearcats, allowing seven runs on seven hits with six strikeouts in 4.2 innings.
Canaan Cropper (1-0) earned the win for NGU, going 5.0 innings and allowing four runs on five hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
Connell led the Bearcat offense, going 3-for-5 with a home run and two RBI.
Maggio went 3-for-6 with two homers, four RBI and two runs scored.