Stucky’s walk-off propels LMU to split with No. 2 Belmont Abbey

HARROGATE, Tenn. — Joe Stucky launched a walk-off three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth to give the Lincoln Memorial University baseball team a 14-11 win and a split in Wednesday’s doubleheader against No. 2 Belmont Abbey (31-8) at Lamar Hennon Field. The Railsplitters (25-17) fell 5-4 in the opening game.

LMU’s walk-off in game two snapped a five-game home losing streak and gave the team its highest-ranked win in program history.

The Railsplitters resume South Atlantic Conference play with a three-game series at league-leading Catawba beginning Friday evening.

Game One: Belmont Abbey 5, Lincoln Memorial 4

The first game of the doubleheader appeared to be a slugfest but quickly turned into the battle of the bullpens. All nine of the game’s runs and seven of the combined 10 hits came in the first two innings.

Belmont Abbey took the lead almost immediately with back-to-back doubles by Matt McGarry and Nick Beinlich to lead off the game. A two-out Kevin Elefante single with the bases loaded later in the frame plated two more runs.

After McGarry and Beinlich walked to lead off the second inning. Luke Cureton singled two batters later to drive in McGarry. Beinlich used heads-up base running to score as well to give the Crusaders a 5-0 advantage.

McGarry (2-for-3) reached base three times and was the only Crusader to finish with multiple hits after adding a sixth-inning single. Beinlich reached in all four plate appearances with the double and three walks. Both scored a pair of runs.

Hits were even at five apiece, though Belmont Abbey would only record one through the final five innings. The Crusaders left eight runners on base while LMU stranded four.

Lincoln Memorial scored all four of its runs and notched three of its hits in the fourth inning. Chris Salvey led off with a walk and came around to score on an Alex Allen triple, which marked the senior’s first career hit and RBI. Dalton Dedas blasted a two-run homer to left center two batters later. Seth Hunt later singled and came around to score after a Will Reddick fly ball was dropped by right fielder Robert Lathrop.

Hunt (2-for-4) added a single in the ninth to finish as the only Railsplitter with two hits. Timmy Wages had LMU’s only other hit with a leadoff single in the third inning.

Neither starting pitcher lasted long. Ben Wiley allowed four runs in one-plus inning of work, though it was enough to take the loss. He walked a batter to lead off the second inning before being removed. Drew Goodman allowed four runs—three earned—in two innings before departing.

Kevin Norton and Jake Grenus combined to hold the vaunted Belmont Abbey offense to one run over the final six innings. Sam Luchansky pitched five scoreless innings for the Crusaders to earn the win.

Game Two: Lincoln Memorial 14, Belmont Abbey 11

Despite totaling 25 runs in the nightcap, Lincoln Memorial and Belmont Abbey combined for just 17 hits. Railsplitter batters had 10 and were walked 12 times.

Salvey finished 2-for-3 with a three-run homer and four RBI. Reddick (3-for-6) finished a home run shy of a cycle. Hunt added two more hits and scored three times. Tyler Adams and Nate Stinson each walked three times.

Five of Belmont Abbey’s seven hits were doubles with five players recording one apiece. Colin Rosenbaum reached base in four of his five plate appearances and was the only Crusader to notch multiple hits with a 2-for-3 performance. He also drove in two runs along with Cureton and Thomas Yoder. McGarry walked three times and scored a pair of runs.

Yoder’s two-run single in the top of the first put Belmont Abbey ahead 2-0 off LMU starter Evan Porter. Like Wiley, Porter only lasted one inning before being replaced.

A Reddick single sandwiched between Hunt and Adams walks set up back-to-back bases-loaded walks by Salvey and Stinson to tie the score at two in the bottom of the first. Henry Moore singled in two more runs later in the frame.

Belmont Abbey starting pitcher Jeff Thompson only retired one batter before receiving a quick hook. All four runs were charged to him after he allowed five of six batters faced to reach on a hit and four walks.

LMU added three runs in both the second and third innings to take a 10-2 lead. Salvey’s three-run shot accounted for the scoring in the second while Reddick tripled in a pair and scored on a wild pitch the next inning.

The Crusaders plated a run in the fourth and fifth innings on a Drew Sipp sac fly and Rosenbaum RBI double.

Belmont Abbey exploded for seven runs in the sixth on only two hits against five LMU pitchers. Four Crusaders walked, two were hit by a pitch and two more reached on errors. Jakob Rolly doubled in a run, and Cureton later added a two-run double for the only two hits.

Moore hit into a fielder’s choice in the sixth that led to a run to tie the score at 11.

That score held until Stucky’s walk-off homer to left three innings later. Adams and Wages each walked with two outs to set up the home run.

Both teams used seven pitchers. Joe Faulkner earned the win and pitched a career-high four innings. Trot Herterick took the loss.