Big inning not enough as comeback bid falls short

Box Score

BREVARD, N.C. – The Brevard College baseball team put together an eighth-inning offensive outburst against visiting Belmont Abbey on Tuesday afternoon, but the Tornados were unable to climb out of an early deficit in a 14-6 loss to the Crusaders.

Pinch hitters Trey Harris III and Parker Hubbard led off the eighth inning with a pair of infield singles to set the table for Matthew Proffitt, who entered the game in the sixth inning as a pinch hitter for starting center fielder Brennan Allen. Proffitt turned on a 1-2 offering from Belmont Abbey’s Wes Wood and crushed a home run off the top third of the batting cage roof in left field for his first home run of the season.

The inning would continue on a defensive miscue by the Crusaders. Joey Macaluso lifted a fly ball to right center that was misplayed by the Belmont Abbey defenders, allowing Macaluso to advance to third. Two pitches later, Blaine Durham made the most of the opportunity, hitting a blistering line drive that cleared the fence down the line in right field to give Brevard a pair of unearned runs. Durham was also responsible for Brevard’s first RBI of the afternoon, scoring Ryan Smith on a single in the fourth inning after stepping in for the injured John Slade with an 0-2 count.

The Tornados, however, faced too large a deficit to overcome with their late-innings barrage. Belmont Abbey’s first four hitters were retired in order before first baseman Weston Clarke reached on an error in the second inning. A single and a walk loaded the bases for shortstop Colin Rosenbaum, whose grand slam to left field gave the Crusaders the early 4-0 lead. Belmont Abbey tacked on three runs in the third and sixth innings before spreading four additional insurance runs over the final two frames.

Kyle Pittman took the loss for Brevard, giving up seven runs on five hits in two innings of work. He was the first of nine hurlers used by the Tornados in the contest. The Crusaders, in the midst of a six-day stretch that will see them play seven games, got 6.2 innings from starter Robert Taft and used just two relievers. Taft earned the win by scattering five hits and giving up one run.

Durham had the most impressive day for Brevard at the plate, going 2-for-3 with three RBI and a run scored. Proffitt also scored a run and plated three. Eight different Tornados finished the day with at least one hit, including center fielder Brennan Allen’s second-inning single to extend his hitting streak to five games. Hunter Donaldson has now hit safely in six consecutive contests, a season high, while Belmont Abbey’s Anthony Dimino hit safely in his 27th straight game in a streak that dates back to last season.

Brevard will return to action on Friday for the first of a three-game set at SAC foe Lenoir-Rhyne. First pitch from Hickory is set for 6:00 p.m.

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