ELON, N.C. – Nick Beinlich crushed a two-run home run over the right field wall to win the game in the bottom of the 11th inning as the Crusaders won the first game of the Conference Carolinas Baseball Tournament. The third-seeded Belmont Abbey Crusaders defeated the fourth-seeded Barton Bulldogs 5-3. Cameron Busby threw a complete game, throwing all 11 innings to record his sixth win of the year. Busby allowed only two earned runs on seven hits, one walk (intentional), and four strikeouts.
Thomas Yoder worked a one-out walk in the bottom of the 11th bringing Beinlich to the plate. Beinlich sent the elevated fastball screaming over the right-field wall to send the Crusaders into the winners bracket of the conference tournament.
The first round of the tournament was moved to the campus of Elon University due to the weather Burlington Athletic Stadium received. Barton (28-22) jumped out to an early lead scoring in the first inning after an error then an RBI double by Andrew Webster. The Bulldogs tacked on two more runs in the second off a Shawn Montren home run that stayed just fair down the left-field line. That concluded the offense for Barton as Busby would allow just four hits over the next nine innings.
The Crusaders cut into the Bulldog lead as Beinlich worked a bases loaded walk following singles by Kennan Stanley and Kayden Krause. The game was dominated by pitching through the next four innings as neither team was able to put together an offensive rally. Barton's starter Dylan Ward went 6.0 innings allowing two runs on nine hits, one walk, and four strikeouts.
Belmont Abbey drew closer in the seventh when Matt McGarry doubled down the right-field line allowing Beinlich to score. The Abbey tied the game up in the eighth when Stanley launched a solo home run over the left-field wall.
The score would remain knotted at three until the 11th when Beinlich ended the game with one swing.
The Crusaders will play tomorrow at the Burlington Athletic Stadium, with a scheduled time of 7:00 pm. They will play the winner of the game between fifth-seeded Erskine and second-seeded North Greenville.