ANDERSON, S.C. – The Anderson University baseball team will square off against North Greenville for the second time this season when the Trojans travel to Tigerville, S.C., for a nonconference tilt, Tuesday afternoon. First-pitch versus the Crusaders is slated for 3 p.m.
WHO: Anderson Trojans (5-11, 2-4 SAC) at North Greenville Crusaders (14-4, 5-1 Conference Carolinas)
WHERE: Ashmore Park; Tigerville, S.C.
WHEN: Tuesday, 3 p.m.
Live Stats: AUTROJANS.COM
Anderson is 5-11 on the season and has dropped four of its last five decisions, but is coming off a win over Lincoln Memorial in the nightcap of a league doubleheader last Saturday afternoon.
Freshman Tyler Berry has played in nine games, while starting six and has a .350 batting average. Sophomore Matthew Overton has drawn a starting nod in 15 games, including all but one in left field. The Spartanburg, S.C., native is batting .349, with a pair of homers, four doubles and leads the squad with 14 walks. Freshman Chandler Castleberry has reached base safely in every game this season and carries a seven-game hitting streak into Tuesday's matchup, while batting .304 on the season. He paces the Trojans with a .625 slugging percentage and leads AU with five home runs and 13 RBI.
Sophomore Austin Todd leads the pitching staff with a pair of wins in six appearances on the mound, while sophomore right-hander Coby Smith has a team-best 1.23 ERA in 7 1/3 innings of work – all in relief. Junior Will Gee has struck out a team-high 23 batters in 21 1/3 innings this season, with Todd fanning 18 opposing batters in 15 innings of work.
LAST TIME OUT
Anderson split a conference doubleheader with Lincoln Memorial last Saturday by knocking off the Railsplitters, 7-6, in extra innings in the nightcap after dropping a 7-6 decision in the opener at Lamar Hennon Park.
Castleberry belted a two-run homer in the nightcap, along with a single and a pair of walks for an impressive 1.250 slugging percentage in the doubleheader. Berry was 2-for-3, with a pair of singles, while Jackson Strange posted a pair of singles. Sophomore Dillon Carpenter notched two singles, while Overton was 1-for-3 and also reached on a walk. Junior Brandon Odachowski drove in two runs with a fourth-inning single.
Todd (2-2) earned the win with 1 2/3 innings of relief. The right-hander allowed just one hit, while striking out two.
Lincoln Memorial garnered a 3-0 lead behind a solo run in the first and two more in the third inning, but the Trojans answered by sending eight batters to the plate in the top of the fourth and plating two runs. The Railsplitters responded with a run in the bottom of the inning to double up AU, 4-2, but AU countered with two runs in both the fifth and sixth frames to capture a 6-4 lead after six innings.
LMU knotted the score with a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh to send the contest into extra innings.
Miller singled to right with one out in the eighth, then moved to third on an LMU error and crossed the plate with the go-ahead run on a passed ball.
The Railsplitters managed to get the tying run on first with one out in the bottom of the eighth, but Todd earned his second win of the season by inducing a pair of fly balls for the final two outs.
SCOUTING THE CRUSADERS
North Greenville was tabbed to finish third in the Conference Carolinas' Preseason Coaches' Poll after setting a program record with 38 victories and posting a 38-15 overall record last season. NGU finished second behind Mount Olive with a 20-7 mark in conference play.
North Greenville was ranked ninth in the National College Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Preseason Regional poll and began the season ranked 22nd in the Perfect Game NCAA Division II Preseason Top 25 poll.
Senior pitcher Tucker Burgess was a Preseason All-Southeast Region First Team selection after earning all-conference and all-region honors following last season. The right-hander from Liberty, S.C. posted a 9-1 record last season and finished with a 2.56 earned run average.
NGU (14-4) is ranked sixth in the region in the latest NCBWA Poll and is undefeated in five decisions at home on the season. The Crusaders saw their eight-game win streak snapped with a 12-4 loss at Belmont Abbey last Saturday.
THE SERIES vs. NORTH GREENVILLE
The Trojans and Crusaders have met 38 times since the 1998 season, with the Trojans holding a 20-18 advantage in the all-time series. The two teams have split the regular-season series in each of the last three seasons and have defended their home field in each of the last two years.
In the latest meeting a month ago, North Greenville junior Connor Grant's two-out, two-run home run in the top of the eighth inning snapped a 5-5 deadlock and the Crusaders held off AU, 7-6, at Memorial Stadium.
Overton was 2-for-4 on the afternoon and also reached base on a walk, while driving in two runs and crossing the plate once. Senior William Thomas notched a pair of singles and scored once, with Castleberry getting hit by a pitch twice and scoring both times. Freshman Chase Stephens drove in two runs with a fourth-inning double.
Junior Christian Hendrix (0-1) suffered the loss after surrendering two runs on one hit and fanning three batters, while walking one.
The Trojans welcome Coker to Anderson Memorial Stadium for a three-game South Atlantic Conference weekend series. First-pitch versus the Cobras on Friday is set for 6 p.m.