The Belmont Abbey baseball team swept the visiting Shippensburg Raiders in a Saturday doubleheader in dramatic fashion, winning the opener 12-5 and using a Josh Genthe walkoff single in the bottom of the seventh to claim a 10-9 victory. Belmont Abbey is now 2-2 on the year, while the Raiders are 0-2.
The Crusaders will go for the sweep Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. in the series finale.
In the opener, Belmont Abbey rode the strong performance of starting pitcher Harry Ferguson, who held the Raiders to three runs in six and one-thirds innings, striking out five.
Belmont Abbey struck first in the bottom of the first with three runs. After Anthony Dimino raced home on a wild pitch, Weston Clarke's two RBI double to the gap in right center chased home Nick Nunziato and Kevin Elefante for a quick 3-0 lead.
One inning later, Lorenzo Wright clubbed a towering three run homer down the left field line to move the lead to 6-0.
Shippensburg plated its first run of the 2015 season in the third, scoring on an Abbey error, but the Crusaders fired right back in the bottom of the frame, as Clarke smacked a two run homer to the gap in left center, followed by a run scoring single by Wright.
After Shippensburg's Cody Ezolt smashed a two run homer in the fifth, the Crusaders had an answer in their half as Conor Kwalwasser singled home Clarke. Kwalwasser then stole second, but no Raider covered the bag as the ball sailed into centerfield, allowing Wright to score easily from third to up the lead to 11-3.
Jake Kennedy made it 11-5 in the eighth on a two run shot, but the Crusaders closed the scoring in the eighth on Dimino's RBI single.
Ferguson made the lead stand up as he moved to 2-0 on the year in six and on thirds innings of solid work before giving way to Tyler Byrnes, who finished the final two and two-thirds innings. Marcus Shippey, the first of three Raiders hurlers, took the loss after giving up nine runs on seven hits in three innings, striking out two.
Wright and Clarke each had three hits as the Crusaders totaled 12 on the afternoon. Dimino, Kwalwasser and Elefante all had two hits. Wright and Clarke each drove in four runs.
In the seven inning nightcap, Belmont Abbey was trailing 7-0 after one inning as the Raiders batted around in the first, clubbing two home runs, including a grand slam from Kennedy.
After Shippensburg plated a run in the fourth on a Ryan McMillen double to increase the Raiders lead to 8-4, the Crusaders plated five unanswered runs, starting in the third on Levi Wright's sacrifice fly to right, which was deep enough to score Elefante.
One inning later, Lorenzo Wright homered for the second straight game, a solo shot to left center to pull the Abbey to within two at 8-6.
The offense continued its momentum in the fifth to produce the first lead of the game, plating three runs, two on Genthe's single to right and ensuing throwing error by the Raiders. Genthe, who moved to third on that throwing error, came home with the go-ahead run on a passed ball for a 9-8 lead.
That was all of the scoring until the top of the seventh when the Raiders scored the tying run with one out, as Mike Marcinko blasted Allen's-on in relief of Wes Wood-first pitch over the wall in left center for his second homer of the game.
Allen got out the inning without any other damage as the game moved to the bottom of the seventh and final inning deadlocked at nine.
The game did not go any further, as Nunziato led off getting hit by a pitch on a 3-2 count. After a popout, Levi Wright moved Nunziato to second on a single to right, then Genthe ended the game with a single to the gap in left center as Nunziato scored without a play with the winning run.
Allen earned the win to move to 1-0 on the year, while Josh Kutchey, the fourth and final Raiders pitcher of the day, suffered the loss after giving up the winning run.