The Belmont Abbey baseball team lost both games of a Conference Carolinas doubleheader to the visiting Erskine Flying Fleet this afternoon. The Crusaders dropped the opener 7-3 and fell in the seven inning nightcap by a score of 6-2. Erskine improves to 14-2 overall and 2-0 in Conference Carolinas, while the Abbey dips to 8-14 overall and 1-4 in league play.
In game one, the Flying Fleet jumped ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first but the Abbey quickly tied the contest in the bottom of the inning without recording a hit.
Anthony Dimino led off getting hit by a pitch. After a strikeout, Michael Falseitti's groundout moved Dimino to second. Dimino then scored from second on a passed ball, as Nick Bienlich's swing and a miss was not caught by Deston Nichols as the ball hit the umpire and rolled to the backstop. Dimino raced home and slid under the tag of Austin Gambrell to tie the score.
Two innings later, the Fleet surged ahead for good as they scored four runs on four hits, using a two RBI double from Nichols and RBI singles from Logan Galliher and Brandon Wooten.
Erskine tacked on another in the fourth on a Sam Cothran RBI double, scoring Andrew Kozak, who drove a two out single to left center and then stole second.
Belmont Abbey began to chip into the lead in the sixth as it scored two runs on two hits. Falsetti worked a leadoff walk, followed by a Beinlich double to right center. Adam Venditti's groundout to shortstop scored Falsetti, and Kennan Stanley added a single that chased home Beinlich to cut the lead to 6-3.
Two innings later Erskine added an insurance run as Zach Smith led off with a single, moved to second on a walk and then scored after moving up on two wild pitches.
The Crusaders threatened in both the eighth and ninth innings, as they brought the tying run on deck in the eighth and had it at the plate in the ninth, with the bases loaded, but a strikeout ended the game.
Gambrell, who held the Abbey hitless through three and one-thirds innings and retired ten straight batters at one point, earned the win after striking out six in six innings, scattering five hits. He gave up three runs, two earned. Wes Schuler struck out four and allowed one hit in the final one and two-thirds innings to get the save.
Belmont Abbey starter Cody Stull took the loss after going seven innings, giving up six runs on nine hits, striking out four.
The Crusaders finished with nine hits as Dimino, Beinlich, Stanley and Quinn Hawksworth all had two.
In game two, Belmont Abbey starter Parks Smithey retired the first two batters of the game, but Erskine centerfielder Chase Corn blasted a solo homer to give the Fleet a lead they would never lose.
One inning later the advantage grew to 3-0 as Erskine plated two-taking advantage of an Abbey error to score one-on four hits.
Belmont Abbey cut the lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the frame as the Crusaders received an RBI single from Jon Pilla and another from Connor Kwalwasser to cut the lead to 3-2.
Erskine blew the game open in the fifth, scoring three times on three hits on a single from Corn, a sacrifice fly from Smith and Overstreet racing home from third on a wild pitch.
The game settled down from there, as the final 12 batters of the game were retired in order as the contest lasted just one hour, 49 minutes.
Smithey went the distance as he took the loss, giving up six runs, five earned, on eight hits. He fanned six and walked two.
Matt Gunter, the third and final Erskine pitcher of the day, worked the final four innings, allowing just one hit-a single to Weston Clarke in the fourth-and striking out five. He did not issue a walk.
The series concludes Monday at 2:30.