CARY, N.C. – In a battle of the top two teams in both the Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA polls, North Greenville fell to Angelo State, 6-2, on Tuesday night at the 2023 NCAA Division II Baseball National Championship at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, North Carolina.
The Crusaders (50-10), the No. 2 seed in the field, fell late to the third-seeded Rams (54-9) who scored four runs over the final three innings for the win.
Both teams scored in the fifth with the Rams getting a two-out, two-run double in the top of the frame before Jalen Vasquez drilled a 2-1 pitch over the right centerfield wall for a two-run home run in the bottom of the frame to tie the score for the Crusaders.
The game remained scoreless until the seventh when the Rams played small ball to take the lead. Three straight bunts, a stolen base and an error led to what proved to be the game-winner for Angelo State. The San Angelo, Texas program plated two more runs on one hit and an error in the eighth and added the final tally with a base hit and two bunts in the ninth.
Kade Bragg (15-1) earned the win as he allowed two runs on five hits with two walks and eight strikeouts over eight innings. Noah Takac (5-2) took a tough loss as he allowed five runs, three earned, on five hits with two walks and five strikeouts over 7.2 innings.
North Greenville outhit Angelo State, 7-6, but left four runners on base in the contest. David Lewis led the Tigerville, South Carolina program with two hits and scored a run while five others had a hit in the contest for NGU. The Rams had six different players score a run.
North Greenville will face No. 6 seed Southern New Hampshire in an elimination game on Wednesday, June 7 at 2:30 p.m. with the live stream available here. The winner will face Angelo State on Thursday, June 8 at 6 p.m. and will need to beat the Rams twice to earn a spot in the championship series.
In the top half of the bracket, No. 4 Rollins defeated No. 1 Millersville, 17-4, and No. 5 Cal St. San Bernardino defeated University of Indianapolis, 10-8.