GREENWOOD – North Greenville University's Connor Grant homered to break a 1-1 tie as the Crusaders scored in each of the last four innings and beat the Lander Bearcats 5-1 Friday evening at Dolny Stadium.
The teams will play the second game of their two-game series at 1 p.m. Saturday at Blowfish Stadium in Lexington, S.C., weather permitting.
Lander fell to 1-3 on the season. North Greenville improved to 4-1.
The Crusaders took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth when John Jones singled and scored on Jeffrey Chandler's triple off the right-field wall.
Lander threatened in the third and fourth innings against Tucker Burgess, with Zack Moore and Colton Yeager hitting singles in the third while Nathan Schreckengost walked and Alex Conaway singled with nobody out in the fourth. But Burgess escaped by inducing a double play grounder in the third and striking out three consecutive batters in the fourth.
The Bearcats broke through for a game-tying run in the fifth when Moore smacked a leadoff double to right, moved to third on Vincent Addona's sacrifice bunt, and scored on Yeager's single to center.
North Greenville regained a 2-1 lead in the sixth on Grant's line drive homer to left.
The Crusaders made in 3-1 in the seventh on Connor Driscoll's two-out RBI double.
North Greenville added another run in the eighth when Ryan Brown hit a leadoff double, moved to third on a Jones ground out, and scored on Grant's single.
The Crusaders made it 5-1 in the ninth on Brown's two-out RBI single.
Lander starting pitcher Chris Sheehan (0-1) took the loss. The senior allowed three runs, two earned, on eight hits, striking out three and walking none. Tripper Ergle allowed one run in the eighth and Bearcats bullpen teammate Robbie Hoyt yielded an unearned run in the ninth.
North Greenville's Burgess (1-1) worked six innings and earned the win, allowing one run on six hits while striking out seven and walking two. Canaan Cropper pitched the final three innings, allowing no runs and earning his first save.
Moore led Lander at the plate, going 3-for-4 with a double. Yeager was 2-for-5 with an RBI, while Conaway went 2-for-4.
Jared Williams, Brown, Grant, Jones and Chandler had two hits apiece for the Crusaders. They had 10 of North Greenville's 11 hits.