Tyler Byrnes(2-1) tossed eight strong innings to give Belmont Abbey a 5-1 win in the Conference Carolinas first weekend at Abbey Yard. Winners of four of their last five, the win moves the Crusaders record to 7-3-1 overall, 1-0 in conference play. For Emmanuel, they begin conference play 0-1.
Byrnes looked masterful throughout, going 3.2 innings before giving up a single to Brady Burgess. Byrnes would carry a shutout into the fifth, where Emmanuel would use a pair of infield hits to break into the scoring column. From there, Byrnes would stymie the Emmanuel batters, retiring eight of the final ten batters he faced.
Robert Taft would seal the win for the Crusaders, going the ninth inning, allowing only a single to pinch hitter Jonah Reyes. In summary, Abbey pitchers would allow just five hits, while striking out seven Lions on the day.
Offensively, the Crusaders were very opportunistic in generating runs for Tyler Byrnes.
Kayden Krause would reach on a walk, advance to third on an errant pickoff attempt, then score on a soft liner from Conor Kwalwasser to tally the first run. Krause would continue his base path barrage in the fourth with a misplayed sacrifice bunt that led to a pair of throwing errors. The errors would loom large, as Krause would circle the pillows behind Nick Beinlich to give the Abbey a 3-0 lead.
With Bryson Cornett on to pitch in relief of losing pitcher Austin Copeland(0-3), the Abbey would scratch out runs in the seventh and eighth to stretch the lead to 5-1. Krause would be the culprit, again, hitting a triple down the right field line off the glove of a diving Stephen Skeggs to score Kwalwasser and close out the scoring.
For the Abbey, Beinlich and Kwalwasser would have multi-hit games, while Nick Nunziato would make two sensational plays defensively to aide Byrnes' cause.
The Crusaders will try to earn the series win in game one of a matinee doubleheader, as Harry Ferguson will likely toe the slab for the Crusaders. Airtime on the Belmont Abbey Sports Network will be 11:45 am on www.basn.wgnc.net.