Trailing 14-0 after three innings, the Belmont Abbey baseball team scored 13 unanswered runs to chip the Wingate lead down to 14-13, but the Bulldogs scored four runs in the final two innings to hold off the Crusaders 18-16 this evening in a three hour, 43 minute marathon at Ron Christopher Stadium. The Bulldogs improve to 13-3, while the Abbey drops to 11-5.
Wingate committed seven errors defensively as only nine of the Crusaders 16 runs were earned.
The two teams combined to use 13 pitchers, but the two starters earned the decisions.
The home team scored three in the first, eight in the second and three more in the third to open up a 14-0 lead after three innings.
Belmont Abbey, which had just three hits through four innings, came alive in the fifth as it began to chip away at Wingate's lead seemingly insurmountable lead.
The Crusaders broke through in a big way in the seventh, scoring seven runs to cut the Bulldogs lead to 14-13.
The scoring began on Levi Wright's steal of third, then scoring on the errant throw. Older brother Lorenzo Wright brought home Weston Clarke when he reached on a bases loaded error. Kwalwasser and Dimino then coaxed bases loaded walks, followed by a sacrifice fly from Levi Wright that plated his brother.
Nick Nunziato capped the scoring when his grounder to shortstop was bobbled, allowing Kwalwasser to scamper home for the 13th run to shrink the Wingate lead to just one.
Wingate's offense came alive in the seventh on a two run homer by Bill Krebs. Shane Billings then raced home from third on a wild pitch to extend the home team's lead to 17-13.
The Crusaders scratched two across in the eighth on Kwalwasser's run scoring single that brought home Lorenzo Wright. Wright later scored on Dimino's bunt single to cut the lead to 17-15.
Wingate tacked on an insurance run in the ninth. Billings reached on an error that allowed Micah Goodwin to come home for an 18-15 Wingate lead.
Belmont Abbey did not go away quietly, as Nunziato clouted a solo homer to left center for the Crusaders 16th run. Belmont Abbey brought the tying run to the plate as Kevin Elefante reached on a one out single to center, but a pair of groundouts ended the game.
Wingate starting pitcher Jordan Newsome moved his record to 2-0. The first of six Bulldog pitchers, Newsome allowed three runs on four hits in four and two-thirds innings, walking four and striking out three. Belmont Abbey starter Robert Taft, the first of seven Crusader hurlers, gave up seven runs on five hits in an inning of work. Cameron Price earned his first save as he faced the final four batters of the game, allowing Elefante's single while striking out one.
Dimino drove in four runs as he led the Crusaders with three hits in five at bats to extend his hitting streak to 16 games. Nunziato added three hits while Lorenzo Wright and Levi Wright each had two hits.
Kwalwasser and Levi Wright each drove in three runs.