No. 12 University of Mount Olive made a late rally in the ninth inning, however could not complete the comeback as the Trojans fell 10-7 to Belmont Abbey College in the series opener Friday afternoon for Conference Carolinas baseball in Belmont, N.C.
Mount Olive (34-11 Overall, 18-6 Conference Carolinas) failed to get off on the right foot as Belmont (2-19, 15-10) scored first. Two walks started off the bottom of the first and a sacrifice bunt moved two runners into scoring position. Weston Clarke doubled to center and brought the first runs of the game home.
The Trojans fought back in the top of the second. Justin Manning singled to lead off the inning. Joe Koehler reached on an error. Manning scored on a Rob Shipman RBI-double down the left field line. Brett Lang scored another run on a ground out. DeAndre Allen singled home the final run as he found open ground in center and Shipman came home.
The Crusaders scored solo runs in the second, third, and fourth to give them a 5-4 lead. Mount Olive scored a single run in the fourth off the bat of Zak Orrison.
Belmont Abbey used a one out home run by Clarke to start the offense in the seventh.Amen Calilao doubled to left center and Matt McGary singled up the middle to score the second run for the Crusaders. One final blow from the bats of the home nine came from a three run big fly by Nick Nunziato.
The Trojans came into the final frame down 10-4. Koehler came up with two away and crushed a ball over the right field wall to give the offense a spark. Shipman drew a two out walk to set up the second home run of the inning for the Trojans. Lang found a pitch of his liking and deposited it over the left field wall and Mount Olive looked to come all the way back. A final strikeout ended the day and the comeback threat by the Trojans and they fell in the series opener.
Gunnar Kines (7-2) took the loss on the mound for Mount Olive. Kines surrendered five runs, four earned, off seven hits and struck out an even 10 Crusaders.
Harry Ferguson (5-7) picked up the win as he went five complete and allowed four runs, two earned, off eight hits and struck out two.
Mount Olive will close out the series and the Conference Carolinas regular season tomorrow with a doubleheader in Belmont, N.C. First pitch is scheduled for noon.