BELMONT, NC - Weston Clarke launched a solo home run into the Belmont night to propel the Abbey to a critical weekend series win over North Greenville 14-13 in the series finale. North Greenville (27-11, 15-3 CC) took the series to a decisive game by opening the day with a 5-4 win in the seven inning contest.
In that opener, North Greenville raced ahead on a three run homer by Foley George to give starting pitcher Hunter Dilworth an early advantage.
Blake Waldren got the start for the Abbey and settled into his start, slowing down the North Greenville offense in the middle innings.
The dinger by Krause knotted the game at three, but only briefly as David Houser singled to left, scoring Nathaniel Maggio to give North Greenville the 4-3 lead.
It would stay that way until the seventh, as Maggio would insert himself into the plot with a solo homer to center field, giving North Greenville the winning margin.
John Leopard would pitch a scoreless seventh, allowing only a Mc Garry single to lead off the final at bat. The save was his eighth of the year, as the series would go to a rubber game.
Tucker Moring got the 5-4 win in relief for North Greenville, while Brady Hill was saddled with the loss.
In game two, Harry Ferguson started for the Abbey though he didn't factor in the decision. Opposing Ferguson was Ethan Garner, who would meet a similar outcome, going only three innings in the contest.
With North Greenville leading 2-0 in the third, Nick Beinlich would double home Colin Rosenbaum to put the Abbey on the board. One batter later, Krause would continue his huge day with a two run triple to right, scoring Nick Nunziato and Beinlich, giving the Abbey a 3-2 lead.
North Greenville would retaliate with a three spot in the fourth, with Maggio getting his second homer of the series, a two run job, retaking the lead for the Crusaders from Tigerville.
Belmont Abbey would add to the drama, scoring seven times in the fourth to take a 10-5 lead.
In the frame, Nunziato would double home a pair to even things at five, scoring McGarry and Conor Kwalwasser. Three batters later, Krause would drill a grand slam, his second homer of the day, to move the Abbey ahead 9-5.
Lorenzo Wright would go back to back with Krause as he sent a lazer out to left center, giving the Abbey the five run lead.
North Greenville would not take long replicating the seven run outburst, plating their seven in the top of the sixth. The seven run sixth included two walks, two wild pitches and three unearned runs, giving North Greenville a 12-10 lead.
In a game that had more twists and turns than a downhill slalom event, Belmont Abbey would retake the lead in the bottom of the sixth on a sac fly from Kwalwasser followed by a misplayed grounder off the bat of Matt McGarry, scoring Krause, to even things at twelve. Colin Rosenbaum laced a single to center that scored Kevin Elefante, giving the Abbey the 13-12 advantage.
In the eighth, North Greenville would load the bases, prompting Head Coach Chris Anderson to go to his closer Kyle Halbohn.
Halbohn would face Josh Black, trying to hold the lead for Sam Luchansky. Black would get the better of the at bat, singling home David Houser to tie the game. Jesup Polk would challenge the arm of Nick Beinlich for the lead, but Beinlich would throw a strike to the plate, as Thomas Yoder applied the tag to spoil the threat. The throw was Beinlich's second of the game cutting down a would-be run for North Greenville.
In the ninth, Weston Clarke would lead off against Cuyler McAuliffe, who had neutralized the Crusaders offense for better than two innings. However, Clarke would send the home crowd into delirium as he pounded a 3-1 pitch over the 390' sign in center to give the Abbey the series win in the most dramatic of fashions.
Kyle Halbohn picked up his first win of the year, as the Abbey now owns a game lead at 16-2 in Conference Carolina's play, 27-7-1 overall. McAuliffe takes the defeat for North Greenville.
For the Abbey, eight of nine players hit safely in the finale, with Rosenbaum and Krause collecting three hits each in the finale.
Krause finished the day with nine RBI on the day, taking his season total to 26.
The Crusaders will take on Catawba from Newman Park on Wednesday at 6pm, with airtime on the BASN beginning at 5:45pm. Follow the broadcast on www.basn.wgnc.net.