BELMONT, NC (March 8, 2008)- The Belmont Abbey baseball team swept a doubleheadher from visiting Coker, winning the opener 8-4 and taking the second game 8-7 in eight innings. The Abbey is now 17-8 overall and 8-3 in Conference Carolinas, while the Cobras are now 8-14 overall and 2-9 in Conference play.
In the opener, the Abbey scored seven unanswered runs after the Cobras struck for one run in the top of the first, as the Crusaders scored one in the first, third and fifth innings, and two in the second and fourth innings to grab a 7-1 lead after five innings.
In the first inning, the Abbey tied the game at one on a solo homer by Will Breslin, his eighth homer in ten conference games, and added two more in the second on RBI singles by Carlos Vasquez and Derek Swilley. After Tyler McKenzie led off the third by reaching on an error and later scoring to push the lead to 4-1, the Crusaders added two more one inning later on a bases loaded walk to Swilley and a sacrifice fly to center by McKenzie that scored Jay McConnell to push the lead to 6-1. In the fifth, catcher Chris Vazquez made it 7-1 with a sacrifice fly that brought home Seth Waller.
Coker scored one in the sixth and two more in the seventh to close the lead to 8-4, but the Abbey matched it with one run in the seventh on a solo homer by Waller down the leftfield line to close the scoring.
Andy Helms earned the win after allowing four runs on seven hits in seven innings, fanning seven and walking three. Brad Boob took the loss after yielding eight runs, five earned, on eight hits in eight innings. He struck out five and walked three.
In game two, the Cobras grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first, scoring three runs on one hit. Neither team scored again until the bottom of the fifth when the Abbey struck for one run, as Spencer Sobol was hit by a pitch, moved to second after McKenzie was hit by a pitch, and scored on a single to center by Patrick Atwell.
A run by Coker in the top of the sixth moved its lead to 4-1, but the Abbey stormed back to grab its first lead of the game by scoring five times in its half. Waller led off with a walk, moved to second on a long single by Alex Castellanos, and scored on a single by Vasquez, who moved to second on the throw home. With runners on second and third, Sobol was hit by a pitch to load the bases. After Joey Huber replaced Sobol as a pinch runner, and after a strikeout for the second out of the inning, McKenzie ripped a bases-clearing double off the wall in left to give the Abbey a 5-4 lead. Atwell was then hit by a pitch, and Breslin tacked on another run with a single to left, scoring McKenzie for a 6-4 Abbey lead.
Coker fought back by scoring two runs in the top of the seventh to tie the game at six, and the Crusaders didn't score in the bottom half to force extra innings.
The Cobras scored one in the top of the eighth, but the Crusaders won the game in the bottom half as Castellanos ripped a bases loaded single off the wall in center to score the winning run.
The Abbey will go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 p.m. in the final game of the series.