TIGERVILLE, S.C. — No. 3 seeded University of Mount Olive Trojans fell to the No. 1 seed North Greenville University Crusaders 10-7 in the Conference Carolinas Baseball Championship Final Sunday afternoon.
Mount Olive had to work from behind from the top of the first as North Greenville had a two-run RBI-double and a two-run home run that put NGU ahead 4-0.
Joe Mason helped put Mount Olive back on the right track as he led off the bottom of the first with a home run of his own to bring the Trojans to within three, but no other batters could make contact and the inning ended.
NGU responded with a solo homer of their own in the second and went back up by four.
The Crusaders went onto add another single run in the third and pushed the lead to 6-1.
In the bottom of the third two walks surrendered by the Crusaders allowed JT Stone to score Blake McLean and Gunner Tolston and help bring the deficit down to three.
The fourth inning each team exchanged a run as the differential remained the same heading into the fifth.
North Greenville exploded for a trio of runs in the top of the fifth after a three-run home run allowed the Crusaders to jump out to their largest lead of the game at 10-4.
UMO could not answer until the bottom of the eighth when Tolston singled into right and scored Mason but the NGU lead still had so work to be done.
After holding the Crusaders off the boards in the top of the ninth Mount Olive began to try and stage a comeback. Back-to-back hit by pitches led off the inning as Stone and Estes reached to begin the effort.
A sacrifice fly moved the runners into scoring position and a second sacrifice fly, this one by Aaron Hedgepeth scored Stone and the score went to 10-6.
James Smibert worked out an RBI-single to right and score the second run of the inning as Estes came home.
A pinch-hit appearance became the last line of offense for the Trojans, however, a called third strike ended the game and the hopes of a comeback.
Caleb Bishop (4-4) got the loss in relief as he pitched just the first inning allowing five runs off five runs and struck out one.
Joe Mason led the team with two RBI and two runs scored.
After the tournament, Joe Mason, Jake Isbell, and James Smibert were named to the Conference Carolinas All-Tournament team.
Mount Olive’s run in the conference tournament has come to an end but the Trojans will play two more in region games against Francis Marion in hopes to make their case for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. UMO and FMU will play a split game series with the first game being played at Scarborough Field May 3 at 5 p.m. before hitting the road for the regular season finale against the Patriots on May 6 at 6 p.m.