The Belmont Abbey baseball team split Saturday's doubleheader at Abbey Yard against the 10th-ranked Shippensburg Raiders, winning the first game in walk off fashion 8-7 and losing the second game 4-2. Both games were seven innings. The Crusaders record is now 5-8 while Shippensburg, which reached the NCAA Divsion II National Finals in 2013, starts the 2014 campaign 1-1. The two teams play another doubleheader tomorrow and both games will be seven innings.
Shippensburg started its season strong, scoring one in the first inning off of three hits then adding three runs in the second inning off a throwing error, wild pitch, and a single.
The Abbey answered in the fourth inning after back to back walks by Michael Falsetti and Kennan Stanley and a single by Weston Clarke that loaded the bases. Nick Bienlich's infield single scored the Abbey's first run when it chased Falsetti home, and Craig Zalewa doubled home Clarke and Stanley two more that cut the deficit to 4-3.
One inning later, the Crusaders took the lead after Bienlich's bases loaded triple bounced off the right field wall. Zelewa followed with another double scoring Bienlich. Shippensburg cut the Crusaders lead to one in the sixth, scoring a run on an error and the other on a single. Shippensburg tied the game in the top of the seventh on a sacrifice fly.
The Crusaders started the seventh and final inning with a Falsetti single followed by Stanley's bunt single. Then Bienlich crushed a double off the wall in dead center, scoring Stanley with the winning run.
Abbey starter Cody Stull pitched five innings receiving no decision, giving up eight hits and five runs, two earned, striking out nine and walking three. Matt Davenport recorded the win in his two innings of relief. He gave up two runs, one earned, on three hits striking out two batters. Shippensburg's starter Pat Kregeloh also received no decision. He worked four and one-thirds innings, giving up five runs on four hits walking three and striking out seven. He retired the first six batters he faced, three by strikeout. Austin Bartley pitched the seventh inning and was saddled with the loss.
In the second game Shippensburg produced a run in the first inning off of two hits and a throwing error. Belmont Abbey got the run back in the second on a Zalewa single, scoring Bienlich who ripped a one double to right center.
The Abbey then took the lead in the third after Anthony Dimino walked and Falsetti doubled. Dimino scored on a sacrifice fly by Stanley, whose fly ball to right was dropped for an error and an unearned run. Shippensburg answered in the fourth with two hits, scoring on a groundout to tie the game at two.
The game was dominated by the two pitchers, Parks Smithey and Marcus Shippey, until the seventh inning when Shippensburg broke the tie on an Abbey throwing error. The Raiders scored again on a single into center by Mike Marcinko taking a two run lead that it would not relinquish.
The Crusaders leadoff batter reached first in the bottom of the seventh, but he was cancelled on a double play ground ball. A flyout to center ended the game.
Smithey was the tough luck loser after a strong pitching performance of seven innings allowing only one earned run, seven hits and striking out seven. Shippenurg's starter, Shippey, received no decision pitching five innings giving up two runs, one earned, five hits walking one and striking out six. Nick Massetti recorded the win after pitching the last two innings, allowing just one hit.