TIGERVILLE, S.C. – Despite Anderson University baseball taking a 1-0 lead after the first pitch of the game when sophomore Kyle Bailey hit his third home run of the season, the Trojans were unable to hold onto their lead, falling in nonconference action Tuesday evening to North Greenville, 8-5, at Ashmore Field.
The setback evens up the season long series at one game apiece after Anderson captured a 22-12 victory over the Crusaders in their first meeting on Feb. 27 at Anderson Memorial Stadium. AU moves to 11-21 overall, while its in-state rival improves to 6-22 for the year.
Four Trojans claimed two hits for the evening, as the visitors outhit their opponent for the contest, 12-10. Sophomore Garrett Bernardo, who earned his first start of the year in right field, joined seniors Josh Hickman and Jonathan Zalud and junior Brett Cash with two hits, as Zalud was the only hitter of the quartet with an RBI.
Leadoff hitter Bailey, who got the start at shortstop, took the first pitch of the game over the wall as the sophomore has now hit a homer in his last two games. The home run would be Bailey’s lone hit of the game, but a sacrifice fly in the top-half of the second would give him a team-high two RBI.
Sophomore Steven Cooper tallied Anderson other extra-base for the game with fifth-inning double. With the double, the first baseman has posted a hit in seven of his last nine contests.
After Anderson captured a 3-0 lead after two innings, NGU cut into the Trojan lead with two runs in the bottom of the third. With Cooper starting the offensive attack with his double in the fifth inning, back-to-back singles from senior Nathan Galliford and Cash scored Cooper. Later a single from Zalud plated Galliford, handing AU a 5-3 advantage.
Despite the hit spree, the two-run fifth inning would be the last time AU would cross the plate, as North Greenville rattled off six unanswered runs to seal the nonconference victory. In the Crusaders’ 10 hits, a Mike Habas double was their lone extra-base hit for the game. NGU’s middle of the lineup of Jessep Polk, Habas and Josh Sealey accounted for all of the home side’s RBI for the contest, as Habas and Sealey totaled three apiece.
Anderson continues its two-game nonconference road trip on Wednesday when it hits the road to USC Aiken. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.