The Belmont Abbey Baseball team split today's doubleheader Mount Olive on a day when the team honored and remembered former baseball player Chris Massimilian and celebrated its Senior Day ceremony. Belmont Abbey earned the series win with a 4-2 win in the seven inning opener, and the Trojans avoided the sweep with a 22-2 victory in the regular season finale. Belmont Abbey is now 23-20 overall and finishes league play with a mark of 16-11. Mount Olive is now 35-12 and 19-7 in league play.
It is Belmont Abbey's first series win over Mount Olive since the 2011 season.
Only Belmont Abbey and Southern Wesleyan played all 27 league games.
In game one, the Crusaders struck early. With two outs in the bottom of the first, Anthony Dimino lined a shot that wrapped around the right field foul pole, giving the Abbey an early 1-0 lead. It was his second home of the year. Pitcher Matt Davenport also got off to a solid start, as he retired eight of the first nine batters he faced.
In the top of the fourth, Mount Olive's Jason Morozowski tied it up at one with a home run to right center.
The Crusaders responded quickly. With one out in the fourth, Nick Nunziato lined a single down the leftfield line. Weston Clarke then moved him to second with a single. Kevin Elefante followed with a single to right center, scoring Nunziato to give the Abbey a 2-1 lead.
Belmont Abbey extended its lead in the fifth. Lorenzo Wright singled to left, followed by Kayden Krause's standup double to center that scored Lorenzo Wright from first. Dimino then smoked a single to right field to bring in Krause and increase the Crusader lead to 4-1.
Joe Koehler homered to right center in the sixth with two outs to bring the Trojans within two,
In the bottom of the sixth, the Abbey put runners on first and third with just one out. Derek Justice worked his way out of the jam, striking out Levi Wright and Conor Kwalwasser. Davenport, however, worked his way through the seventh to cap off a complete game.
Davenport moved his record to 7-3 as he tossed a complete game, striking out four, yielding two runs on five hits. Justice took the loss as his record dipped to 7-2. He gave up four runs on ten hits in six innings, fanning six.
Belmont Abbey finished with ten hits as Dimino, Nunziato and Clarke all recorded two. Dimino drove in two runs with Clarke and Elefante adding one each.
In game two, the Trojans avoided the sweep with a 22-2 victory. Starting pitcher Robert Taft walked each of the six batters he faced as the Trojans plated five in the opening frame.
Belmont Abbey began to crawl its way back in the third as Matt McGarry led off with a double to left center. After a groundout and a walk, he scored on a fielder's choice groundout off the bat of Lorenzo Wright for the first Crusader run. Mount Olive responded, however, with two runs of its own in each of the fourth and fifth innings. A two-run home run by Morozowski in the sixth, followed immediately by a Koehler home run, extended the Trojans' lead to 12-1.
Taft fell to 3-2 as he gave up five runs on no hits, walking six. He lasted just a third of an inning.
Mount Olive starter Kodi Whitley pitched the first six innings to earn the win. His record moves to 8-3 as he allowed one run on three hits, striking out six.
McGarry finished with two of the Abbey's six hits.
The Crusaders are next in action in the Conference Carolinas Tournament, which begins Thursday in Burlington, North Carolina.