BELMONT, N.C. – The Crusaders came out on top of an expressive offensive performance that both Belmont Abbey and Catawba displayed Tuesday under the lights. The contest saw a total of 26 hits and 21 runs. The Crusaders pushed 12 runs across while slashing 13 hits. With the 12-9 win the Abbey improves to 3-2 on the young season as the Catawba Indians move to 2-3.
Nick Beinlich took no time to give the Crusades the lead as he sent the first pitch from Indian starter Bryan Ketchie into the hedge behind the left-center field wall. The Indians responded immediately in the second inning with a Malachi Hanes home run off Abbey starter Cameron Busby.
Belmont Abbey retook the lead in the bottom half of the second after a Thomas Yoder double and Kennan Stanly walk followed by a Matt McGarry single. The Indians took their first, and only, lead of the night in the third taking advantage of three hits and two sacrifice flies to hold a 3-2 advantage going into the bottom of third.
In the third inning the Crusaders erupted for five runs sparked by Beinlich's second home run of the game. After back-to-back walks from Colin Rosenbaum and Josh Genthe, Kayden Krause recorded an RBI single. Yoder cleared the bases with a home run over the left-field fence to give the Abbey a 7-3 lead.
Catawba rallied in the fourth to answer with four runs of their own utilizing four hits and a balk to tie the score. Griffin Baker relieved Busby in the fifth as Busy went 4.0 innings allowing seven runs on 10 hits along with four walks and two strikeouts. Baker threw a scoreless fifth inning which would be enough to earn himself the win.
Belmont Abbey gained the advantage again in the bottom of the fifth after a Genthe bunt base hit and Krause walk set up a sacrifice fly by Jakob Rolly. Kennan Stanly roped a double to drive in a run as the Crusaders took the 9-7 lead. The Abbey added another run in the sixth off of a Genthe RBI single that scored Luke Cureton who singled earlier that inning.
Catawba rallied in the seventh plating two runs after a hit batsmen and walk followed by a double and fielder's choice. Rosenbaum added another insurance run in the eighth inning blasting a solo home run into the night. The Abbey bull pen would not allow anymore Indian runs with the combine efforts of Ross Garrett and Brady Hill. Garrett went 1.2 innings striking out five batters and Hill pitched the ninth to record the save.
The Crusaders host Tusculum for a weekend series with the first game Friday night beginning at 5:00 p.m. and a doubleheader Saturday, game one to start at 1:00 p.m.