Falcons Outscored 11-9 in Day 3 Battle with Belmont Abbey

Falcons Outscored 11-9 in Day 3 Battle with Belmont Abbey

Tyler Waddell – Sports Information Graduate Assistant

GREENSBORO, N.C. – Derek Perry had three hits for a second straight game and seven different batters knocked in at least one run, but the No. 6-seeded Pfeiffer University baseball team (24-24) was outlasted by No. 3 seed Belmont Abbey (33-15) with a final of 11-9 on the third day of the Conference Carolinas tournament.

Perry, who finished 3-for-5 with an RBI on Saturday, went 3-for-6 with a grand slam against Barton on Friday. He's hit safety in each of his last 10 appearances, working up a .365 batting average with 11 RBI and 17 runs scored over that span.

As expected, the bats were the strength of both teams as they combined for 25 hits in 75 total chances (.333) on the afternoon. The last time Pfeiffer and Belmont Abbey met was on March 25, resulting in a 24-hit, 34-run slugfest – also in favor of the Crusaders.

After scoring three runs off just one hit, the Falcons had a 3-1 lead entering the fourth inning. That's when BAC took advantage of two walks and two errors, whipping up three hits – including a three-run home run from Colin Rosenbaum – to plate five runs and go out in front 6-3. Pfeiffer chipped one from its deficit in the bottom half of the inning, but BAC got it right back and led 7-4 after six-and-a-half.

Tanner Mathis and Kirby Lambert began the bottom of the seventh by reaching base to, giving PFU a real opportunity to once again cut into the lead. Xavier Rodriguez hit into a fielder's choice during the next at bat, but Guage Gantt came up clutch with a two-RBI double to left center to make it 7-6 with two innings left.

However, understanding that the game was far from over and that they were still in need of some insurance to ensure a bid to the championship Sunday afternoon, the Crusaders went back to work at the plate. They were able to add two more runs off three hits and an error to increase their lead back to three, needing just six outs to move on.

But Pfeiffer, known for its late-game heroics as of late, was not finished. A leadoff double by Perry was followed by an RBI triple via Jordan Eckard. After a Zach Scudder groundout that scored Eckard, Mathis reached base on a walk and then Kirby Lambert singled to center. Rodriguez joined the action with an RBI single to tie the game at 9-apiece to become that much closer at yet another comeback victory.

Benefitting from a single and two hit batters top start the top of the ninth, Belmont Abbey crossed two more runs in their final at bat to take its third (and last) lead of the back-and-forth, four-hour game. The Falcons went 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning to give the Crusaders the 11-9 win and an automatic entry to the Conference Carolinas championship game Sunday at 4 p.m.

Nick Richmond had a solid outing, going 5.0 innings allowing seven hits and six runs (two earned) with four strikeouts. Rodriguez (2-3) received the loss. In addition to another fabulous day at the plate for Perry, Eckard finished with his fifth multi-hit performance in six games (2-for-6, RBI).

Pfeiffer can still vie for a rematch and reach the title game, but will need to beat the winner of North Greenville/Mount Olive tomorrow at 1 p.m.