Shepherd's Tenth-Inning Homer Lifts Baseball Over Belmont Abbey

BELMONT, N.C. -- Hunter Shepherd homered in the 10th inning and visiting Catawba topped Belmont Abbey 4-3 in baseball action on Tuesday night at Abbey Yard. The Catawba Indians, ranked 12th in NCAA II, improve to 35-12. The Crusaders fall to 24-21.

Belmont Abbey had tied the game on an unearned run in the ninth then Shepherd hit the first pitch he saw to lead off the 10th and give Catawba the lead again. The Crusaders put two runners on with one out in the bottom of the 10th, but Peyton Williams closed the door with a strikeout and a foul out to first.

Williams moved to 4-1 with the win. He gave up an unearned run on two hits with a walk and four strikeouts over two innings. Jackson Raper and Henderson Lentz each had two hits, while Jeremy Simpson drove in two runs.

Belmont Abbey scored single runs in the fourth and fifth to take a 2-0 lead. Ben Sneider scampered home a passed ball in the fourth, while Jakob Rolly had a sacrifice fly in the fifth. Catawba’s pen held the Crusaders hitless until the ninth as the Indians rallied.

Jacob Nester walked to open the sixth and stole second. He scored on a single by Robbie Cowie. Heath Mitchem was hit by a pitch with two outs then both Mitchem and Cowie moved up on a wild pitch. That set the stage for Simpson, who singled both home to give Catawba a 3-2 lead.

That lead held to the ninth. Ben Gobbel reached on an error for Belmont Abbey to start the home ninth and was sacrificed to second. Pinch-runner Ian Mayers scored when Mason Dodd reached on an error. Williams got out of the inning by striking out the final two batters before Shepherd would win it with his homer to start the extra frame.

Kale Rhame and Justin Moran each had two hits for the Crusaders. Blake Waldren threw five shutout innings on five hits as the Belmont Abbey starter. Jason White (2-1) took the loss in relief, pitchinig the final three and two-thirds innings.

Greg Brown started for Catawba and allowed two runs, one earned, on six hits over four and a third innings. Caleb Link got Catawba out of the fifth then DJ Laxton tossed a hitless frame and Riley Myers two before handing the ball to Williams in the ninth.

The teams will battle again on Wednesday at Newman Park as Catawba closes out it home slate at 6 p.m.

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