The Belmont Abbey baseball team scored four runs in the third and added two more in the fourth as the Crusaders earned a key regional road victory with a 7-4 win at Carson-Newman this afternoon at Silver Diamond. Belmont Abbey snaps a three-game losing streak as it improves to 6-10, while the Eagles fall to 10-6.
Crusaders starter Tyler Byrnes held Carson-Newman to one run on six hits in six and two-thirds innings. He struck out three and walked two as he improved his record to 2-1. Clarke worked a perfect ninth inning, striking out two as he recorded his first career save in his first career apperance on the mound.
Carson-Newman starter Clayton Eames, the first of ten Eagles pitchers, took the loss after allowing five runs on seven hits, walking three and striking out five.
The first three innings were scorless until the Abbey jumped Eames for three in the top of the third.
Jon Pilla led off with a double, followed by a walk to Lorenzo Wright. Anthony Dimino beat out an infield single to load the bases for Zalewa, who singled to right that chased home Pilla for the game's first run.
Falsetti followed with a run-scoring single, plating Wright, to increase the lead to 2-0. Three batters later, Clarke deposited a two RBI single to center, scoring Zalewa and Dimino to double the lead to 4-0.
Carson-Newman pulled one back in the bottom of the frame on an RBI single from Joe Tipton, but the Crusaders answered in the fifth as Falsetti and Dimino both cracked RBI singles to increase the lead to 6-1.
The lead rose to 7-1 in the eighth. Dimino led off with a walk and moved over to third when Zalewa and Falsetti were both hit by a pitch. He scored on a wild pitch.
The Eagles rallied in the bottom of the frame with three runs, two coming on an Eric Lynch single that closed the Crusaders lead to 7-4.
Clarke shutdown the Eagles in the ninth, retiring the side in order with two strikeouts to preserve the win.
Belmont Abbey is back in action Friday at 2:30 when it opens Conference Carolinas play, hosting the Pfeiffer Falcons.