TIGERVILLE, S.C. -- Belmont Abbey Baseball battled 11th-ranked Columbus State through 21 combined innings Monday afternoon but fell short in both games of the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional championship round, 5-0 in 12 and 10-7.
The Crusaders' season ended one game short of the College World Series at 40-14.
Columbus State (45-13) jumped on Belmont Abbey starter Cameron Busby for two runs on three hits in the first, but the Crusaders got on the board for the first time with one out in the third when Matt McGarry hit a 1-1 pitch over the wall in left field.
The Cougars quickly answered right back with four runs in the third and one in the fourth to open a 7-1 lead.
But Belmont Abbey cut the lead in half in the fifth. Colin Rosenbaum singled off the pitcher to lead off, then one out later advanced to second on a single by Thomas Yoder. After a strikeout, Kevin Elefante walked on four pitches to load the bases. Jakob Rolly greeted a new pitcher with a first-pitch triple off the top of the fence in right, clearing the bases and making the score 7-4.
The deficit closed further in the fifth on a solo home run by Nick Beinlich, but a two-run home run by the Cougars in the bottom of the frame pushed the lead to 9-5.
The Crusaders did not quit, though. Rolly started the eighth with a bunt single and advanced to second on a groundout. He moved 90 feet closer on another groundout and came home when Beinlich reached on an error. Rosenbaum made the error even more costly with an RBI double to left center, but another strikeout quenched the rally.
The Cougars added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth for the final margin.
Busby took the loss to fall to 8-4 in his senior year. He pitched the first 3.0 innings, allowing seven hits and seven runs (six earned). Six relievers combined to allow just three runs over the final five innings.
In the opener, the teams battled through 11 scoreless innings. Belmont Abbey starter Troy Herterick pitched into the ninth, allowing just three Cougar hits. He walked one and struck out a pair over 103 pitches in just his fifth appearance (third start) of the season.
Columbus State starter Kolton Ingram was equally solid on the mound, throwing seven scoreless innings. He allowed four hits and three walks, while striking out six.
Belmont Abbey had three late chances to win the game and earn its second-ever appearance in the College World Series. In the ninth, the Crusaders had runners on second and third with two outs, but a strikeout ended the threat. Another strikeout thwarted a bases-loaded, two-out situation, then a double play ended a threat of runners on first and second in the 11th.
From there, Columbus State capitalized on four hits and two Crusaders errors to plate five and force the deciding game.