BELMONT, NC - The Belmont Abbey Crusaders (26-6-1, 15-1 CC) took a thrilling 3-2 decision over North Greenville under the lights at Abbey Yard on Friday to gain sole possession of first place in Conference Carolinas.
Tyler Byrnes got a quality start in a critical game while getting a heroic night from Nick Nunziato to take his record to 6-1 on the season. Kyle Halbohn earned his seventh save to send the Crusaders to their 15th win in conference play.
North Greenville (25-10, 14-2 CC) would strike first in defense of starter Zack Kamerman, as Shaq Rolle singled to center in the fourth to give North Greenville a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the inning, Nunziato would bounce a ball off the Wheeler Center to tie the game at 1-1. The solo shot would be Nunziato's eleven clout of the year.
In the fifth, Lorenzo Wright led off with a walk. Thomas Yoder hit a ringing double down the line to give the Abbey a bona fide threat. Matt McGarry would hit a sac fly to center with one down to give the Abbey the lead for good.
In the sixth, Nunziato was at it again, depositing a ball just off the Wheeler Center facade this time to give Tyler Byrnes a necessary insurance run. The dinger gave Nunziato a dozen in 2016 and stretched the lead to 3-1.
In the seventh, North Greenville would get a run closer as Bennette Hill drilled a Byrnes offering out to right for his fourth of the season. With the 3-2 lead, Byrnes would hand the ball to closer Kyle Halbohn in the eighth.
From there, Halbohn would toss a scoreless inning before facing some trouble in the ninth.
With one down, Halbohn surrendered a walk to Rolle. Rolle would attempt a steal of second, but was cut down by Thomas Yoder for a crucial second out in the ninth.
A walk and a single from Josh Black would again spell trouble, but the senior right hander would end the game with a strike out to seal the win the Abbey.
Nunziato had half of the team's six hits, as North Greenville outhit the Abbey 7-6.
Tomorrow, Blake Waldren will open the doubleheader against North Greenville, seeking his fifth win of the year. The seven inning game will begin at two, with airtime on BASN slated for 1:45pm. Follow the broadcast on www.basn.wgnc.net.