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February 29, 2024 4:39 pm

Mount Olive edged late at Belmont Abbey

BELMONT – The University of Mount Olive baseball team surrendered five runs in the final four frames to suffer a 5-4 loss at Belmont Abbey in extra innings in Conference Carolinas play on March 17.

With the loss, the Trojans fell to 16-6 overall with a 6-4 mark in conference action while playing in their third extra-inning game of the year. It marks the first time since 2017 that Mount Olive has dropped a game in Belmont. Meanwhile, the Crusaders improved to 17-8 this season with a 5-8 record in league play.

In the bottom of the first, UMO escaped an early bases-loaded jam with an inning-ending fielder’s choice. After a scoreless second frame, the Trojans scored the opening run on an RBI groundout from junior Vito Patierno to take a 1-0 advantage. Mount Olive would strand seven Crusader baserunners over the next four frames, including four in scoring position. In the top of the seventh, the Trojans placed runners on the corners with two outs before senior Jack Casbarro delivered an RBI single to extend the lead to 2-0. A walk loaded the bases before junior Dylan Jeffries registered an RBI single in the infield to stretch the advantage to 3-0.

In the bottom of the seventh, Belmont Abbey cut into the deficit with a sacrifice fly to make the score 3-1 before scoring a wild pitch in the eighth to cut the UMO lead to 3-2. The Crusaders tied the contest at 3-3 in the ninth with a leadoff solo homer to send the game to extra innings.

The Trojans quickly loaded the bases in the top of the 10th following a hit by pitch, a single from sophomore Cooper George and a walk. With two out, senior Gordon Pihl produced a sacrifice fly to right field to regain the lead, 4-3. In the bottom half, the Crusaders had runners on the corners with one out before scoring on a wild pitch to tie the game, 4-4. A hit-by-pitch loaded the bases before UMO made a pitching change. The next at-bat, UMO forced an infield fly, but Belmont Abbey secured the walk-off the following batter on a hit-by-pitch to win 5-4.

Senior Caleb Irwin received the no-decision after scattering four hits with six strikeouts and four walks in six scoreless innings in the start. Junior Hayden Myrick surrendered two runs (one earned) on three hits with three strikeouts in three innings of relief. Senior Hunter Steven was saddled with the loss (0-1) after allowing two runs on one hit with two walks and a hit by pitch in 1/3 of an inning.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics