BELMONT, N.C. – The Belmont Abbey baseball team split Saturday's doubleheader against Tusculum, winning the first game 4-2 and dropping the second game 5-1. The Crusaders move to 4-4 on the season as Tusculum improves to 3-4.
Josh Thompson got the start on the hill for The Abbey, facing Tusculum hurler Ethan Carpenter. The Pioneers got off to a quick start as shortstop Edison Cabrera singled to lead off the game and scored on a single by catcher Cole Baxley. Tusculum doubled their lead in the third after left fielder Frankie Valle tripled to left-center field and later scored on a groundout.
The Crusaders responded in the third with a big inning scoring four runs on three hits. The rally was started by senior centerfielder Nick Beinlich who lead the inning off with a single into center field, one of his three hits in the game. Luke Cuerton was hit by a pitch and Colin Rosenbaum singled into left field to load the bases with no outs. Josh Genthe produced a sacrifice fly to center field before Kayden Krause crushed three-run bomb over the center field fence.
Thompson went 3.0 innings allowing two runs on three hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Robert Frantzis relieved Thompson in the fourth as he went on to shut down the Pioneers fanning two. Frantzis would earn the win and Brady Hill recorded the save, coming in to retire the last batter.
Michael Gonzalez started game two for the Crusaders, he was opposed by the Pioneers' Tim Hardy. Tusculum jumped out early again with three runs in the first inning taking advantage of back-to-back singles followed by a walk and an RBI single. They stretched their lead to four in the third pushing another run across after a pair of singles.
The Crusaders mounted a comeback in the fifth when second basemen Matt McGarry doubled to left field and scored on Cuerton's single. Rosenbaum worked a walk but the rally fell short as The Abbey was not able to notch any more runs.
The Pioneers added an insurance run in the sixth with two singles to push the lead to 5-1.
The Crusaders used seven pitchers in the rubber match with both Troy Heterick and Cameron Busby each throwing two innings. Parker MacPhail tossed 0.2 innings followed by Stephan Hueber's 0.1 innings. Ross Garret threw a seamless 1.1 innings and Hill recorded the last two outs.
Tusculum's Hardy recorded the win, his second of the year.
The Abbey will host Carson-Newman Tuesday, February 14 at Abbey Yard. The first pitch is schedualed for 2:30 p.m.