BELMONT, N.C. - The Belmont Abbey baseball team rolled past King in the first game of a conference weekend series Friday night. The Crusaders recorded a solid 16-5 victory over the Tornado in just under three hours of baseball. The contest saw a total of 25 hits between the two Conference Carolinas teams.
The Crusaders (8-7, 3-1 CC) jumped out to an early lead in the first when Nick Beinlich singled through the left side and Josh Genthe was able to score after a fielding error by the right fielder. Kennan Stanley, who singled was able to score on a ground ball produced by Kayden Krause giving The Abbey a 2-0 lead in the first.
King (7-5, 0-1 CC) responded with a run in the third as Tyler Bailey singled, stole second, and scored on a fielding error. Belmont Abbey responded in their half of the third with doubles from Colin Rosenbaum, Kevin Elefante, and Luke Cuerton before Thomas Yoder tripled into the right-center field gap. With the three runs the Crusaders bumped their lead to 5-1.
The Tornado managed a run in the fifth and sixth utilizing a sacrifice fly by Preston Douglas and an RBI double by Bubba Ruiz.
In the seventh inning, the Crusaders erupted for 11 runs on six hits and six hit-by-pitches. After gaining a few runs via the HBP, Genthe singled in two runs followed by Stanley's two RBI triple. Beinlich then ripped an RBI single and Krause followed suite. The final three runs of the inning came around to score when Yoder crushed a bases loaded triple off the center field wall. The Abbey exited the seventh with a 16-3 lead.
King managed two runs in the ninth as Ethan Jenkins produced a sacrifice fly and Preston Douglas notched an RBI single.
Five Crusaders recorded two hits on the night and Rosenbaum tallied three. Stanley and Genthe each had two RBI and Yoder drove in five.
Belmont Abbey starting pitcher Blake Waldron recorded the win, his second of the season, throwing an impressive 7.0 innings allowing just three runs on seven hits and three walks while striking out five. Stephen Hueber and Grayson Miller came on in relieve each tossing an inning. Tornado starter Mark Hendricks was fitted with the loss after going 2.2 innings allowing four earned runs on seven hits and two walks.
The Crusaders hold a doubleheader Saturday against King to conclude the series as they look to win their second consecutive conference series. Game one will begin at 12:00 noon at Abbey Yard.