BELMONT, N.C. – The Belmont Abbey baseball team earned the series win over the number one ranked Mount Olive Trojans Saturday at Abbey Yard. The Crusaders hand the Trojans their first two conference losses and first conference series loss of the season. The conference series win is the Crusaders sixth of the year. The Abbey is now 23-14 with a 14-7 conference record. Mount Olive drops to 30-7 overall and 16-2 in the conference.
The Crusaders battled in game one to within two outs of the victory, before the Mount Olive rally captured the 2-1 win. The Abbey offense that has been so explosive all year came alive in the rubber match to beat Mount Olive 11-6. Nick Beinlich totaled six hits on the afternoon with an RBI as Kayden Krause, Colin Rosenbaum, and Luke Cureton each drove in two runs within the two games.
The pitcher's duel in game one was the focal point as neither offense could put together a rally as the game remained scoreless into the sixth inning. Trojans starter Adam Hutchinson went the complete game, 7.0 innings allowing just one run on five hits, five walks, and seven strikeouts. Belmont Abbey's answer to the conference wins leader was led by Jeff Thompson who pitched 3.2 innings allowing just one hit with six strikeouts, Thompson was relieved by Troy Herterick who went 2.2 innings giving up one run on one hit.
The Crusaders took the lead in the bottom of the sixth when Rosenbaum walked, and Cuerton reached on a throwing error. Jakob Rolly hit a single to load the bases and Krause drove in the run with a ground ball to short.
Mount Olive, answered in the top of the seventh after Alvin Swoope was hit by a pitch and Drew Ellis hit a home run over the center field wall. The Abbey mounted back-to-back singles in the bottom of the inning but a line drive double play ended the rally and the game.
Hutchinson earned his conference leading ninth game as Parker MacPhail was pinned with the loss.
Game two started with an offensive explosion from Mount Olive as they platted four runs in the first inning. The Trojans managed four hits in the inning including two doubles to take the early lead.
The Abbey scratched one back in the bottom of the first, as Beinlich singled before Matt McGarry doubled him in.
Belmont Abbey starter Blake Waldren settled down after the first to throw a very effective 6.0 innings. Waldren scattered nine hits giving up six runs on two walks and six strikeouts.
The Crusaders took the lead in the second inning scoring four runs on three hits including Rosenbaums two RBI double and Nick Nunziato's two-run home run. The Abbey continued their offensive performance as the scored two runs in the fourth, fifth, and sixth.
In the fourth, the Crusaders took advantage of two bases loaded walks. Beinlich recorded a bases loaded single in the fifth and Cureton homered in the seventh to account for all the Crusader scoring.
The Trojans managed a run in the fifth and sixth but it was not enough to catch The Abbey. Michael Gonzalez, Brady Hill, and Robert Frantzis all came on in relief to record big outs, ending any chance of a Trojan rally.
The Crusaders will host Limestone next weekend with the first game of the series, scheduled for Friday night at 6:00 p.m.