The Belmont Abbey baseball team dropped the series finale to the 20th-ranked Lander Bearcats this afternoon at Abbey Yard in the 2014 home opener. Lander claimed both games of the doubleheader in Greenwood on Saturday and today's win ups their record to 3-0, while the Abbey drops to 0-3.
Today's game started out as a pitcher's duel as Crusaders freshman Logan Redmond and Lander starter Mason McCullough battled through two hitless innings before the Bearcats Thomas Bess singled with two outs in the third. Redmond, in his first collegiate outing, retired the first eight batters he faced.
The Bearcats touched Redmond for three runs in the fourth as Pat Grady led off with a walk and moved to second on a groundout. He then stole third and scored on the wild throw to give Lander a 1-0 lead.
Three batters later, Zach Giczewski made it 3-0 with a looping double down the line in left, scoring Weston Lawing and Chris Hyatt.
The Crusaders broke through in the fifth, closing the Lander lead down to 3-2. Jon Pilla led off with an infield single, advanced to second on a walk to Conor Kwalwasser and scored on Lorenzo Wright's opposite field single to right, which moved Kwalwasser to third. After Wright stole second, Anthony Dimino's groundout to second scored Kwalwasser to cut the deficit to 3-2.
That was all of the scoring until the seventh when the Bearcats extended their lead to 7-2, with three of the four runs coming on a Connor Lewis homer to left, his first of the year.
Belmont Abbey chipped into the lead in the bottom of the frame on a run scoring single by Michael Falsetti, scoring Wright, who doubled earlier.
One inning later, the Crusaders closed the lead to 7-5 as Weston Clarke singled home Ian Vazquez. After a pitching change, Clarke scored on Kwalwasser's double down the third base line to cut the lead to 7-5.
In the ninth, however, Lander plated three runs on three hits, two of them RBI doubles, to widen the gap to 10-5, which was the final after the Abbey did not threaten in the bottom of the inning.
Chess Malone was credited with the win in three and one-thirds innings of relief, as he allowed three runs on five hits, striking out four. Brandon White earned his first save after coming on in relief in the eighth. He allowed just one runner, a walk in the ninth, and fanned three in the final inning and a third. Redmond was charged with the loss after yielding three runs on four hits in four and two-thirds innings.
Wright, Falsetti and Clarke all had two hits for the Crusaders, which totaled eight for the game. The defense was charged with four errors, while Lander had just one.