The Belmont Abbey baseball team rallied to tie the game at six in the eighth, but King scored five runs in the bottom of the eighth as the Tornado won 11-6 this afternoon in the opening game of a Conference Carolinas series. King improves to 12-18-1 overall and 4-3 in conference play, while the Abbey slips to 11-19 overall, 2-8 in Conference Carolinas.
The series will conclude with a Saturday doubleheader beginning at noon.
King opened the scoring with two runs in the second and added two more in the fifth to open up a 4-0 lead, but a four run Crusader sixth inning deadlocked the game at four.
After Pilla and Stanley moved up one base on a wild pitch, Quinn Hawksworth-pinch hitting for Conor Kwalwaser-blasted a double to the gap in left center, scoring both men to chop the Tornado lead to 4-3.
Nick Beinlich entered the game to run for Hawksworth, and he raced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Kayden Krause sacrifice fly that tied the game at four.
King moved back ahead in the seventh with two runs, both scoring on a Geoff Cieslewitz single back up the middle, plating Garrett Cook and Tyler Raymond.
The Tornado had an answer in the bottom of the inning, however, as they plated five runs-a solo homer from Tyler Gaby, a two RBI single from Cieslewitz and a two RBI double from Hunter Smith to break the tie and pull ahead 11-6.
Stanley ripped a one out double in the ninth, but he was left stranded as the Tornado claimed game one.
The Crusaders finished with 14 hits but were undone by three errors in the field. Krause and Stanley both totaled three hits with Pilla recording a pair. Wright and Hawsworth both drove in two runs.
Alex Martin evened his record to 3-3 in relief of starter Reiss Stanley. Martin gave up two runs on four hits in the final three and two thirds innings, striking out four. Stanley gave up four runs on ten hits in the opening five and a third innings. He struck out five and walked two.
Crusaders reliever Forrest Buchanan fell to 2-2 as he took the loss in relief of Cody Stull. Buchanan allowed five runs-of which only one was earned-on four hits an inning of work. Stull pitched the first seven innings, yielding six runs, five earned, on 12 hits. He struck out three.