NATIONAL CHAMPIONS – North Greenville Wins NCAA Division II Baseball Tournament
Tigerville, SC (June 13, 2022) The North Greenville Crusaders are the 2022 NCAA Baseball Division II National Champions. This championship is North Greenville’s first NCAA National Championship. North Greenville emerged victorious over the Point Loma Sea Lions with a final score of 5-3 on Friday, June 10, at Coleman Field in Cary, NC.
Reece Fields took the mound for his 20th start of the season and opened the game with two strikeouts. Point Loma got into the hit column with a base hit to center field, but Fields would collect his third strikeout of the inning to keep the inning scoreless.
Gehrig Octavio led off but was called out in strikes looking. After a fly out to center field by Ethan Stringer, John Michael Faile would draw a walk to become NGU’s first base runner of the game. However, Marek Chlup would ground into a fielder’s choice to go scoreless in the first.
Fields started the top of the second with a called strikeout but would then run into some trouble, walking two batters. With two outs and runners at first and second, Fields would get out of the jam with a swinging strikeout to end the threat.
Pat Monteith led off the bottom of the second and would reach on a throwing error to end up at second base. A deep fly ball by Josh Senter would get Monteith to third, where Jordan Holladay would bring him home with an RBI groundout to get North Greenville on the board.
After starting the top of the third with a groundout, Point Loma would get in scoring position with a double to left-center. The Sea Lions would get an infield single to get runners on second and third, but Fields would record a swinging strikeout to keep PLNU again off the board.
Octavio started the bottom of the 3rd with a flyout to left field. Stringer would then draw a walk, followed by a single to right-center by Faile. With a runner on first and second, Chlup brought in NGU’s second run with an RBI groundout to third base, making the score 2-0 in favor of the Crusaders.
Point Loma began the fourth with a leadoff double to right-center, but Fields would again work his way out of trouble, keeping the Sea Lions off the board. Senter led off the bottom of the inning with a single to center field. After a stolen base, Holladay would draw a walk. A bunt single by Cash would load the bases with nobody out, but Point Loma would get out of the jam by recording three straight outs, including a diving catch down the left-field line to rob Stringer of a bases-clearing double.
A momentum swing to Point Loma as a leadoff home run to left field would put the Sea Lions on the board and cut the deficit to a run. After a single, a sacrifice bunt would move the tying run into scoring position. Reece would walk the next batter but record a big strikeout followed by a groundout to minimize the damage. Chlup could get on base in the bottom of the fifth with a one-out single through the left side. However, a strikeout and interference call on Monteith would turn into a double play.
Nate Roof took the mound to relieve Fields in the top of the sixth. After a base hit with one out, Point Loma would ultimately strand the runner at third as the Crusaders wiggle out of trouble again. A one-two-three bottom of the sixth went by quickly as things would remain the same on the scoreboard.
Roof would settle in during the top of the seventh, recording an easy two outs before allowing a double to left-center. He would avoid trouble as a fielder’s choice ended the top of the inning. Bivins would get the bottom of the inning started with a single through the left side. Octavio bunted for a single to put runners on first and second with no outs. Stringer also bunted, resulting in a sacrifice that moved runners to second and third. A wild pitch would score Bivins and move Octavio to third. Faile would then come through with a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Octavio. A challenge by Point Loma would be unsuccessful as the run would stand. A flyout by Chlup would end the bottom of the inning, but the Crusaders would take a 4-1 lead into the eighth.
Roof would put a dominant top of the eighth on the mound, striking out the side. Monteith led off the bottom of the inning by drawing a walk. He was initially caught stealing at second for the third out. Head coach Landon Powell challenged the play, overturning the call, giving Monteith the stolen base with two outs. Cash would step to the plate and knock a single to center field, scoring Monteith and getting North Greenville a huge insurance run. Bivins would hit a flyout to center field for the third out, and the Crusaders would head to the ninth just three outs away from the university’s first NCAA National Championship.
Tristen Hudson would take over on the mound to attempt to close out the 2022 NCAA Division II season. The Sea Lions would start with a base hit to left field, but Hudson would come back with a strikeout for the first out. Point Loma proved that they wouldn’t go down without a fight, as a two-run home run to right field would cut the Crusader lead to two. Afterward, a groundout to Bivins would put NGU just one out away from history.
Then, Hudson would strike out the final batter to give North Greenville its first National Championship.
Score: NGU 5 / PLNU 3
Location: Coleman Field / Cary, NC
Records: NGU 54-10 / PLNU 50-11
Jax Cash went three for four at the plate and drove in the game’s final run.
Reece Fields pitched 5.0 innings, receiving the win and allowing just one run on six hits and three walks while striking out eight. He was also named the tournament MVP.
Nate Roof pitched a dominant 3.0 innings, allowing no runs, two hits, and a walk.
Photo credit: Brett Friedlander
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