ANDERSON, S.C. – Paced by junior Zach McIlroy's three hits and strong performances on the mound, the Anderson University baseball team opened the season by defeating North Greenville, 7-3, Tuesday afternoon at Anderson Memorial Stadium.
Anderson (1-0) claimed its second straight season-opening win, while North Greenville fell to 2-2 on the young season with its second straight loss.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
McIlroy led the Trojan offense by going 3-for-4 with a double, a run scored and an RBI. Junior William Thomas posted a pair of singles in five at-bats with an RBI and also crossed the plate once. Senior Xavier Peralta added an eighth-inning triple and scored after being hit by a pitch in the second inning.
Senior Ryan Owens captured the win with five full innings of two-hit baseball, while allowing just two baserunners though the first three innings. The right-hander fanned three batters and walked just one. Junior Nick Contafio, sophomore John McMicking and junior Andrew Dill combined for four innings of relief and surrendered just two runs off six hits.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Trojans batted around and posted four runs on four hits and a walk in the bottom of the second inning. Sophomore Carson Barrett led off the frame with a walk and moved to third one out later on McIlroy's double. Barrett crossed the plate with the game's first run when senior Stephen McKnight bounced out to the shortstop. Peralta was then hit by a pitch and sophomore Bryce Patrick brought home McIlroy with a single to right-center. Junior Tyler Miller and Patrick followed with back-to-back run-scoring singles to give the Trojans an early four-run advantage.
The Crusaders got on the scoreboard with a solo run in the top of the fourth, but AU answered with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth frame to build a 6-1 cushion. Thomas and freshman Dillon Carpenter opened the inning with back-to-back singles and both later came around to score.
North Greenville trimmed the Trojan lead to four with another solo run in the top of the sixth, while AU added another run in the bottom of the eighth when McKnight drew a leadoff walk and scored on Peralta's triple to center field.
The Crusaders notched three singles in the top of the ninth, but were unable to fully capitalize, as the visitors pushed one run across the plate.
ANDERSON STAT OF THE DAY
McIlroy and Peralta posted the Trojans' two extra base hits on the afternoon, with a double and a triple, respectively.
Anderson will get back on the diamond Saturday, when Newberry invades Memorial Stadium for a nonconference doubleheader. First-pitch is slated for 1 p.m.