by Doug Page
WILSON, N.C. – The Barton College Bulldogs played a pair of close games early with the North Greenville University Crusaders on Friday until NGU tallied late offense in both games to sweep a doubleheader against the Bulldogs at Fleming Stadium. The Crusaders won the opening game 8-1 before recording a 14-3 win in game two.
Barton (12-35, 4-18) recorded four doubles between the two games as junior Gatlin Pate and junior Troy Maslowski notched their team-leading 17th doubles of the season. North Greenville (38-6, 20-3) flexed its offensive muscles late in both games against BC, scoring six runs over the final four innings of game one and 12 runs in the top of the sixth inning of game two.
Pate, Maslowski, and freshman Colby Warren each finished with a pair of hits for Barton as Warren clubbed his team-leading 11th home run of the season. Freshman Alec Seaton and freshman Kimball Toone each tallied a hit in game one for BC, while sophomore Noah Almond tallied an RBI double in game two.
Andrew Plunkett, John Jones, and Jeffrey Chandler each delivered a two-run home run for the Crusaders, while Josh Black tallied four hits on the night for North Greenville. Jones, Ryan Brown, and Utah Jones each recorded three runs batted in for NGU in game two.
Barton junior Dylan Ward worked a clean 1-2-3 top of the first inning for the Bulldogs in game one before the Crusaders would plate a run in both the second and third innings. The Bulldogs answered with a run against North Greenville starter Blake Hamilton in the bottom of the fourth inning. Pate started things off with a double for the Bulldogs and later move over to third on a groundout by Maslowski. Pate cut the NGU lead to 2-1 when he scored from third on a wild pitch that would elude Jones.
Ward kept the NGU offense in check until the Crusaders rallied for three runs in the top of the sixth inning. Chandler upped the NGU lead to 3-1 with a double to left center to score Jones. Plunkett followed with a two-run home run off a 1-1 offering from Ward to extend the North Greenville lead to 5-1.
The Crusaders added three more runs to the scoreboard in the top of the eighth inning as Jared Williams singled to left field to up the lead to 6-1. Following a pitching change by the Bulldogs, the Crusaders added a pair of more runs against freshman Jabe Montgomery to take an 8-1 edge. Montgomery responded by notching back-to-back strikeouts to end the inning.
Hamilton (4-2) tossed six innings of one-run baseball for the Crusaders. He scattered four hits while fanning three batters and walking one. Ward (1-7) suffered the loss despite fanning six batters in the game and allowing just four hits to the Crusaders. Montgomery tossed a pair of scoreless innings for BC in relief and recorded four strikeouts.
Barton wouldn't have many answers against Ethan Turner in game two as the NGU starter yielded just one hit through five innings of work. Freshman Alex Hart did his best to give BC a chance in the contest and keep the NGU offense at bay, allowing just two runs through the first three innings.
Hart worked a 1-2-3 top of the fifth inning for BC as the Bulldogs trimmed the NGU lead to 2-1 in the bottom of the frame. Warren delivered his team-leading 30th RBI of the season by sending a baseball over the wall in right-center to break up a perfect game for Garner. The Crusaders would make a statement in the top of the sixth inning as NGU batted around en route to scoring 12 runs to take a 14-1 advantage.
Barton closed the game by plating a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth inning against Avery Greer. Maslowski plated the second run of the game for BC with a double to left field to score Pate. Almond would follow with a double of his own to score Maslowski and cut the deficit to 14-3. Greer closed the game by getting Seaton to hit a fly ball to right field.
Garner (7-1) fanned nine batters through five innings of work for the Crusaders, while Daniel Kight retired the Barton side in order in the sixth inning. Hart (0-8) took the loss for Barton after working five innings and allowing seven runs on seven hits. Freshman Mason Cooper tossed a scoreless inning of relief for the Bulldogs.