HICKORY, N.C. - Elena Duran scored twice and had two hits, but the Crusaders lost a double header to Lenoir-Rhyne by scores of 4-3 and 8-0 this afternoon. The Abbey now stands at 6-12 on the year. The Bears are now 13-4.
Belmont Abbey struck first, as Duran hit a double to center field to start the game. After Duran reached third base, Melissa Neyhouse brought her home on a sacrifice fly, giving the Crusaders an early 1-0 lead. The Bears scored a run of their own in the bottom of the inning.
The next several innings were mostly a pitching duel, until the Crusader bats cam alive in the sixth. Duran was walked to begin the inning. Chace Helms reached base on a fielding error by the Bears, which scored Duran. Back-to-back singles up the middle by Anna Mixa and Brooke Pegram loaded the bases with two outs. Then Kaitlin Moore hit a single to left field, and Helms crossed home plate, tying the game at three.
Lenoir-Rhyne scored a run in the bottom of the sixth to take a 4-3 lead, which would be the final score for the game. Helms tossed three strikeouts in five innings, while walking none.
In game two, the Bears tallied runs in each of the first four innings. Morgan Smith was the first Crusader to reach base, as she hit an infield single in the second.
The third was The Abbey's best this game. Embler began the inning with an infield single. Alexis Pereiro advanced her to second, before she stole third base. Then Duran got walked to put runners on first and third with just one out. Unfortunately, the Crusaders did not capitalize. Lenoir-Rhyne won the contest 8-0 in five innings.
Up next, the Crusaders will begin conference play with a visit to Barton College on Saturday, March 3. That double header will begin at 1 p.m.