Tusculum splits pair at No. 18 Belmont Abbey, wins weekend series

Tim Hardy pitched seven innings to pick up the win in Saturday's second game at No. 18 Belmont Abbey (Photo by Chris Lenker).
Tim Hardy pitched seven innings to pick up the win in Saturday's second game at No. 18 Belmont Abbey (Photo by Chris Lenker).

BELMONT, N.C. --- Tim Hardy pitched a gem in the second game as Tusculum split a baseball doubleheader at 18th-ranked Belmont Abbey Saturday afternoon at Abbey Yard.

The Crusaders rallied from a 2-0 deficit with a four-run, third inning to win the first game 4-2.  Tusculum bounced back as Hardy (2-0) pitched seven strong innings to capture the night-cap 5-1.  The Pioneers (3-4) win the weekend series over Belmont Abbey (4-4) two games to one.

Game 1: No. 18 Belmont Abbey 4, Tusculum 2

Kayden Krause's three-run homer in the third inning spark a four-run rally as Belmont Abbey defeated Tusculum 4-2 in seven innings.

The Pioneers scored one run each in the first and third innings.  Cole Baxley drove in the first run of the game with his two-out single.  In the third, Frankie Valle led off with a triple in his first collegiate at-bat and later scored on a Jeremy Glore RBI ground out.

In the bottom of the third, the first three Crusaders got aboard via a pair of base hits and a hit batsmen to load the bases.  After a sacrifice fly out to bring home the first run, Krause followed with a three-run blast to center field and a 4-2 lead.

Meanwhile, Belmont Abbey reliever Robert Frantzis took over for starter Jeff Thompson.  Frantzis pitched the 3.2 innings where he scattered four hits and used double plays to end threats in the fifth and sixth innings.

In the top of the seventh, the Pioneers got the lead-off hitter aboard, but Frantzis (1-0) got a line out and a strikeout and closer Brady Hill got a fly out to end the game for his second save of the young season.

Tusculum starter Ethan Carpenter (0-1) went the distance, pitching in six innings, allowed nine hits, four runs, three walks and four strikeouts.

Edison Cabrera and John Topoleski each posted two hits for the Pioneers.

Game 2: Tusculum 5, No. 18 Belmont Abbey 1

Zach Lippincott went 2-for-4 including his two-run single to spark a three-run first inning as the Pioneers defeated Belmont Abbey 5-1 in Saturday's second game.

Tusculum added a run in the third and one more in the sixth on a RBI single by Zack Finchum.

Hardy pitched well in his first start of the year as he retired six of the first seven batters he would face and scattered nine hits over the last five innings he would pitch.

In the bottom of the third, the first two Crusaders led of singles, but a line out and a double play ended the BAC threat.  Two runners got on in the fourth with one out, but Hardy ended the inning with a strikeout and a line out.  He surrendered an unearned run in the fifth inning, retired the side in order in the sixth and worked his way out of a jam in the seventh before giving the game to the TC bullpen.

Tusculum reliever Dalton Boslooper pitched in the eighth and ninth frames, where he allowed one hit and recorded three strikeouts in the Pioneer win.

Nick Lacina finished the game with three hits, including a double, while Glore accounted for two singles in the victory.

Tusculum returns home next weekend when they host Bellarmine for a three-game weekend series beginning with Friday's 4 p.m. opener.