The Belmont Abbey Baseball Team (7-0-1) remained unbeaten on the season and held off Lenoir-Rhyne (3-6), 11-8, Wednesday afternoon in non-conference action at Bears Field. The Crusaders are ranked No. 23 in NCAA Division II.
Trailing 8-7, Belmont Abbey scored four runs in the top of the ninth inning to beat Lenoir-Rhyne after squandering a 7-1 lead over the Bears.
The Crusaders' Ian Vazquez (Miramar, Puerto Rico) scored the game-winning run on a wild pitch while Conor Kwalwasser (Highland Mills, N.J.) added a two-run double in the frame to lead the Crusaders to the victory.
For Lenoir-Rhyne, both junior second baseman Mike Gasque (Mebane, N.C.) and senior outfielder Rai Robinson (Kings Mountain, N.C.) finished with two hits and three runs batted in despite the loss. David Martin was 0-3, he was hit by a pitch and he scored a run.
Gasque led off the bottom of the first inning with a solo home run while Robinson's bases-clearing double in the eighth put Lenoir-Rhyne up by an 8-7 advantage before Belmont Abbey's four-run ninth inning.
For the Crusaders, Kennan Stanley (Jacksonville, Fla.) added a two-run home run while Ryan Allen (Oxford, N.C.) (1-0) earned the victory on the mound.
Lenoir-Rhyne junior shortstop Nate Martin (Lansing, N.Y.) also drove in a pair of runs but junior Aaron Bentley (Lenoir, N.C.) fell to 0-1 on the season after taking the loss for the Bears.
Lenoir-Rhyne opens South Atlantic Conference play on Friday against Brevard at home beginning at 6:00 p.m. Belmont Abbey, meanwhile, faces Pfeiffer in Misenheimer, N.C., on Friday at 2:30 p.m.
Photo Courtesy: Rai Robinson, L-R Athletics