Weston Clarke and Nick Beinlich provided the offense, while Matt Davenport got some help from the bullpen to propel the Abbey to a 9-4 win over Catawba on Wednesday. The Crusaders, winners of nine straight, are now 13-3-1 on the year, as Catawba falls to 6-7.
Catawba would strike first in this contest, picking up a RBI single from Dylan Richardson to jump ahead 1-0. Belmont Abbey would waste no time responding in the first as the Crusaders would get a two-run bomb from Weston Clarke to take the 2-1 lead. Nick Beinlich would add an opposite field solo blast of his own to give Davenport a 3-1 advantage heading to the second.
The early offense for Davenport would settle the senior, as he would retire the next ten batters faced. Davenport commanded the strike zone with a solid changeup and pinpoint location to hold off the Indians through the next three frames, taking the 3-1 lead into the fifth.
Catawba would even the contest, however, scoring twice on a pair of hits and a Crusaders error. Davenport would finish the day throwing five innings, allowing three hits and two earned runs, while striking out three.
Staring down a no decision in his second straight start, Davenport would be the beneficiary of some opportunistic hitting. Clarke would pick up his second safety of the day, a two out single to right. With Beinlich at the plate, the Crusaders coaching staff put Clarke in motion, as Beinlich drove the pitch into the gap, scoring Clarke from first. The Crusaders would tack on some insurance, scoring twice in the sixth and three times in the seventh to preserve the win.
The Abbey bullpen would hold the fort down in the late innings, pitching scoreless relief in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings. Ross Garrett, Brady Hill, Robert Taft and Kyle Halbohn combined to pitch four innings of three hit, one run relief.
Offensively, The Crusaders were paced in their 11 hit attack by Clarke and Beinlich, each logging three hits. Colin Rosenbaum would continue his productive season, driving home three runs in three at-bats. Kevin Elefante would also contribute a pair of hits in the winning cause.
The Crusaders will take the winning streak to Bristol, as they embark on a three game conference road series against the Tornado. The series begins Friday at 2:30PM, as Tyler Byrnes will likely get the start in game one. The game will be broadcast on the Belmont Abbey Sports Network, airtime beginning at 2:15PM. Follow the broadcast on the BASN internet radio website: www.basn.wgnc.net.