BURLINGTON, N.C. – Jakob Rolly crushed a walk-off home run down the right-field line in the bottom of the ninth to give Belmont Abbey the win in the first game of the Conference Carolinas Baseball Tournament Thursday afternoon. The three-run bomb was Rolly's 10th of the year helping the Crusaders improve to 37-10 on the season.
The first game of the conference tournament was full of excitement as the lead was changed four-time and both teams put together four-run innings in the process. Belmont Abbey got on the board first in second when Robert Lathrop and Matt McGarry both drew RBI singles up the middle to give the Crusaders the 2-0 lead. Erskine responded with four runs in the fourth stringing together five hits including a bases-clearing double off the wall by Trevor Wood. The Fleet tacked on two more runs in the fifth off a two-run homer by Nick Vella.
The Abbey came back to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth collecting five hits when Nick Beinlich led off with a single. Colin Rosenbaum singled through the right side and Luke Cureton singled to center scoring Beinlich. Thomas Yoder produced a ground ball that resulted in an error, allowing Rosenbaum to score. After Josh Genthe singled to right to load the bases Kevin Elefante doubled down the right-field line to tie the ballgame at six.
In the sixth, Rosenbaum homered down the left field line to give The Abbey the lead. Erskine would tie the game at seventh in eighth when Austin Mapes hit a home run to right field. With the gamed tied at seven in the ninth, Cureton lead off the bottom of the ninth with a single to right center and Thomas Yoder bunted him over to second with a sacrifice. After Elefante was hit by a pitch Rolly crushed an opposite-field homer to seal the game.
Cameron Busby started on the hill for Belmont Abbey going six innings allowing six runs on 10 hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Brady Hill came on in relief and Parker MacPhail pitched the ninth and was credited with the win. For Erskine, starter Michael Carpin went four innings allowing six runs on 10 hits with two walks and two strikeouts. Reliever Alex Calvert took the loss in his 4.2 innings of work.
With the win, the three seeded Crusaders will play the winner of the No. 2 Mount Olive vs the No. 5 King Friday at 7 P.M. at the Burlington Athletic Stadium.