Four Belmont Abbey pitchers held Armstrong to one run in six innings of relief, but the Pirates did their damage in the first three innings and held off a late Crusaders charge to post a 7-5 victory this afternoon at Abbey Yard. Armstrong improves to 16-14, while the Abbey slips to 13-23.
The two teams combined for 23 hits and 23 runners left on base.
Armstrong led 6-0 after three as it mirrored its runs with the inning, scoring one the first, two in the second and three in third.
Those were all of the Pirates runs until the eighth as the Abbey scored five straight runs to get back in the game.
Belmont Abbey broke through in the sixth to cut the Pirates lead in half. Anthony Dimino, who finished the game with two doubles, led off with a two bagger, moved to third on a single by Weston Clarke and scored on a wild pitch. Clarke later scored on Jon Pilla's sacrifice fly to center and Levi Wright made it 6-3 when he raced home on Armstrong's only error of the game, a bobbled ground ball by shortstop Tyler Avera.
One inning later, Clarke moved the Abbey closer as he blasted a two run homer to left center, scoring Lorenzo Wright ahead of him, to cut the deficit to 6-5.
The Pirates tacked on a much needed insurance run in the eighth as Cody Sherrin led off with a single. The next two batters were retired but Ryan Patterson lined a double just inside the leftfield line and inches away from Lorenzo Wright's diving attempt, allowing Sherrin to score easily and increase the lead to 7-5.
The Crusaders put a runner at second with one out in the eighth but could not get him in. Armstrong did not score in the ninth, leaving the Abbey with one final chance.
Levi Wright led off with a single, followed by Quinn Hawksworth's walk. Kennan Stanley's sacrifice bunt moved both men in scoring position with one out, but a strikeout and a groundout ended the game.
Nathan Ward, the second of four Pirates pitchers, earned the win in two and two thirds innings of relief, surrendering three runs, two earned, on three hits. Tyler Green pitched the final two and two thirds scoreless innings to notch the save. He allowed just four hits. Belmont Abbey starter Tyler Byrnes yielded six runs, five earned, on three hits in five innings. He fanned three.
Relievers Brandon O'Sullivan, Matt Davenport, Robert Taft and Clarke kept the Abbey in the game as they combined to give up just one run on six hits in the final six innings, striking out three and not issuing a walk.
The Crusaders finished with 12 hits as Clarke finished 3-5 with two RBI. Dimino had two hits, both doubles, while Stanley and Lorenzo Wright each had two hits.