Belmont Abbey freshman second baseman Alex Castellanos broke a 3-3 tie in the fifth, as he ripped his team-leading 16th homer of the year to give the Abbey the lead for good, as it went on to defeat the Presbyterian Blue Hose 9-4 this afternoon. The Crusaders improve to 25-18, while the Blue Hose slip to 16-32.
Abbey starting pitcher Andy Helms improved to 7-2 in the win, as he allowed three runs on three hits in five innings of work. He struck out six and did not walk a batter. Helms, Brett DiPasquale and Trey Summerlin combined to strike out 11 batters. Daniel Hill was charged with the loss after allowing five runs on six hits in two innings of work.
The Blue Hose jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second, but the Crusaders answered with two runs in their half of the third to take a 2-1 lead. Consecutive walks to Derek Swilley and Castellanos, followed by a sacrifice bunt by Tyler McKenzie, put both men in scoring position for rightfielder Alex Udwari, who laced a single to right, driving both men home for a 2-1 Abbey lead.
Senior shortstop Josh Haire made it 3-1 in the third with a solo homer to right, but Presbyterian tied the game at three after scoring a pair of runs in the sixth.
The game did not stay tied for long as Castellanos opened the bottom of the fifth with a towering homer to left center. McKenzie followed that up with a single to right, and Udwari stretched the lead to 6-3 with a towering homer down the rightfield line, his 14th round tripper of the year.
The Blue Hose would get one in the sixth, but Abbey answered with two runs in its half, as pinch hitter Spencer Sobol blooped a double down the rightfield line, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Swilley, and scored on a groundout to short by Castellanos. McKenzie followed with a double to left center, and scored on an infield single by Udwari to increase the lead to 8-4.
Castellanos added an insurance run in the ninth when he singled home catcher Kyle Smith, who led off the frame with a single back up the middle and moved to second on a groundout.
The Crusaders finished with 11 hits as Udwari and Castellanos both tallied three. Udwari drove in five runs and scored once, while Castellanos drove in three and scored twice.