The Belmont Abbey baseball team split a doubleheader with the visiting King University Tornado this afternoon at Abbey Yard. King won the opener 7-6 in seven innings and the Crusaders avoided the three game sweep with an 8-6 win in game two. King is now 16-16 overall and 10-7 in league play, while the Crusaders are now 17-16 overall and 12-9 in Conference Carolinas.
In the opener, which was seven innings, King moved ahead 2-0 in the top of the second on a two RBI double by J.P. Castaneda. Belmont Abbey matched it in the second, as Josh Genthe delivered an RBI double left, scoring Nick Nunziato. Genthe later scored on Matt McGarry's single to right to tie the game at two.
Two innings later, the Tornado plated two unearned runs courtesy of two Crusaders errors, but the Abbey powered ahead in the fifth, as Lorenzo Wright tripled home McGarry. Wright scored on the play as the Tornado was charged with a throwing error. The miscue tied the game at four. Two batters later, Anthony Dimino clubbed an RBI single to center, scoring Kayden Krause to move the Crusaders ahead 5-4.
The lead did not last long, as King scored three times in the sixth, two coming on a Josh Stephens single to center and the other on a Tyler Raymond single that was misplayed, allowing Stephens to score an unearned run all the way from first.
McGarry cut the King lead to 7-6 in the bottom of the sixth, as he tripled home Weston Clarke, who led off the inning with a double.
In the seventh, Jose Sola led off with a double but was left stranded as Ryan Allen retired the next three batters.
Down to its final three outs, the Abbey put the tying run on third in the form of Lorenzo Wright with two outs, but a flyout ended the game.
Matt Jackson earned the win in relief for the Tornado, as he retired the only batter he faced in a third of an inning. Nathan Helke picked up the save, working the final two innings, allowing one run on two hits. Allen went the distance, allowing seven runs, four earned, striking out five and walking four.
Belmont Abbey finished with nine hits as McGarry led the way with three with two RBI.
In game two, the Crusaders never trailed as they bolted ahead 3-0 in the first. Wright scored on a sacrifice fly from Nunziato. Clarke doubled home Dimino and McGarry singled home Clarke for a 3-0 lead.
Two innings later the Crusaders struck for three more, as Dimino singled home Krause. Dimino then scored on Clarke's double to right. Nunziato later scored on a safety squeeze by Levi Wright for a 6-0 lead.
After King cut the lead to 6-4 in the fourth, Krause made it 7-4 in the bottom of the inning as his flyout to left was deep enough to score Conor Kwalwasser.
King began its rally in the sixth, as Moises Soto singled home Douglas to close the gap to 7-5. One inning later, Sola doubled home Raymond and moved to third on the throw, and he later raced home on a wild pitch to cut the gap to 7-6.
Belmont Abbey added a valuable insurance run in the seventh as Krause was hit by a pitch, moved to second on a groundout, to third on a wild pitch and scored on another wild pitch to extend the Abbey's lead to 8-6.
The Tornado threatened in the eighth but a double play groundout and a flyout ended the threat. King made noise in the ninth, as it loaded the bases with two outs, but Brandon O'Sullivan nailed down the save with a fielders choice groundout to end the game.
Matt Davenport went seven innings to earn the win, as he allowed five runs, four earned, on ten hits, striking out five. O'Sullivan earned the save as he retired the only batter he faced. Mitch Stophel, the first of four Tornado pitchers, suffered the loss after giving up five runs on five hits in two innings.
The Crusaders finished with eight hits as Dimino led the way with three. Clarke added two with two RBI.