BELMONT, N.C. -- Belmont Abbey rallied from a one-run deficit in the bottom of the fifth inning, but darkness prevailed in a 9-9 softball tie with Columbus State at Crusader Field. The Cougars took the opening game of the doubleheader 9-0.
Belmont Abbey (2-8-2) built a 7-0 lead after the first inning as the first eight batters reached base. Brianna Embler walked and stole second before Alexis Rogers singled to center. Mackenzie Dziendziel plated the first run with a single to center, then stole second. An error allowed the second run, before Dani Marietta punched on through the right side for a 3-0 lead.
After a pitching change, a hit batter loaded the bases, allowing Claire Doyle to drive in a run with a walk. Peyton Wilson singled through the left side, with a pair of fielder's choices plating the final two runs.
Columbus State (7-4-1) chipped away with two runs in the second, but an RBI single by Wilson pushed the lead back to 8-2. The Cougars did not quit, closing to 8-6 in the fourth, then taking the lead 9-8 with three in the fifth.
As daylight waned, the Crusaders pushed through. Embler reached on an error when the CSU first baseman dropped a throw, then a sacrifice put her in scoring position. After a popout, Melissa Neyhouse roped a 3-2 pitch down the right field line to even the game at 9-9, when play was ended.
Marietta and Wilson finished with a pair of hits, with the Crusaders totalling eight in the contest.
In the opener, Columbus State plated an unearned run in the first, then held onto that lead until the seventh, when it added eight insurance runs. Sciadone had the only hit of the contest, a single to left in the second.
"I am extremely proud of my team and their class," Head Coach Brooke McCraw said. "Our program is getting stronger spiritually, mentally and physically. It's all coming together at once and it's great to be apart of. We are looking forward to take this momentum into the upcoming weeks."
Belmont Abbey returns to action on Wednesday when it hosts Queens in a 2 p.m. doubleheader.