NCAA Baseball: Knowles Goes Distance as Cougars Topple North Greenville

NCAA Baseball: Knowles Goes Distance as Cougars Topple North Greenville

TIGERVILLE, S.C. - The eighth-ranked Columbus State University baseball team won its second game in as many days, winning 4-3 over second-ranked and top-seeded North Greenville on Friday. The NCAA Southeast Regional is being played at North Greenville University.

Perez Knowles (7-3) went the distance for the Cougars, limiting the Crusaders to just three runs on seven hits with nine strikeouts.

Columbus State (42-12) has now moved into the winner's bracket final, where it will take on the winner of Belmont Abbey and Lincoln Memorial. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday.

"Perez was outstanding today," head coach Greg Appleton said. "We jumped on them early and he buckled down and fought the entire day. He made the big pitches when he needed them most and seemed to be getting stronger late in the game."

The Cougars came out rolling on Friday, with five of the first six hitters picking up hits. Grant Berry started the frame with a ball back through the middle and Mason McClellan scored him with a single in similar fashion.

Austin Pharr then beat out a soft groundball on the right side, and Robert Brooks cashed it in with a line drive into left that plated McClellan.

The offense kept coming in the second, with Garrett Kirkwood opening the frame with a bunt single. Drew Webb then doubled the lead with a long two-run homer to left to make it a 4-0 contest.

North Greenville (44-9) got the two runs back immediately though, hitting a two-run homer of its own in the bottom half of the second.

From there, the game was in the hand of the two starting pitchers, as neither team scored from the third through sixth innings.

NGU got a run in the seventh to pull within one, and had the bases loaded with two outs and the game hanging in the balance. Knowles gave up a deep fly to left-centerfield, but Kirkwood galloped to the warning track to haul it in and end the threat.

The senior left-hander worked a perfect eighth and struck out the first two batters he faced in the ninth. However, the Crusaders got a double with two away to bring the tying run into scoring position. Knowles was able to induce a pop up down the right field line though, that Gunar Drinnen grabbed in foul territory to seal the win.

Berry, Brooks, Kirkwood and Webb all had two hits in the ballgame, as CSU pounded out 12 on the day.