WILSON, N.C. – The Belmont Abbey baseball team (11-15, 4-7) powered its way to a 22-16 victory over Barton (17-11, 5-5) Friday afternoon in a Conference Carolinas weekend series opener at Nixon Field.
The Crusaders hit eight of the game's 12 home runs including back-to-back round-trippers by Richard De La Cruz (Santo Domingo, PUERTO RICO) and Ben Gobbel (Cumming, Ga.) to start the game as the Crusaders jumped out to a 12-0 advantage after three innings and held off a late rally by Barton to take the win.
Three Crusaders – Mason Dodd (Augusta, Ga.), Jake Rolly (Winter Springs, Fla.) and Ben Sneider (Larkspur, Colo.) – all hit two home runs while Dodd finished with five hits and drove in six runs in the victory.
Barton added four home runs of its own – courtesy of junior outfielder Noah Almond (Raleigh, N.C.), senior second baseman Hunter Pearre (Poolesville, Md.), senior third baseman Gatlin Pate (Grays Creek, N.C.) and junior first baseman Chase Riker (Hampstead, N.C.) – and the Bulldogs scored six runs in the bottom of the ninth inning but the deficit was too great to overcome. Almond finished with three runs batted in.
On the mound, Belmont Abbey's Griffin Baker (Durham, N.C.) improved to 4-2 on the year while Barton junior Colby Shimmel (Windsor, Pa.) (3-2) was tagged with the loss.
The two teams will wrap up the league series at Nixon Field on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at Noon.