HARTSVILLE, S.C. – The Cobra baseball team avoided the three-game sweep against Conference Carolinas rival Belmont Abbey on Sunday afternoon thanks to a 4-3 win over the Crusaders. Tyler Witzel (Melbourne, Fla.) was masterful on the mound, while Daniel Hiatt (Elwood, Ind.) led the offensive charge at the plate for the Cobras.
In what started as a pitching duel between Witzel (3-1) and the Abbey’s start Matt Parish (1-2), became a battle at the plate in the final innings.
The ball game was scoreless until Coker plated two runs in the fourth and another in the fifth taking a 3-0 lead. Another run in the eighth gave the Cobras a 4-0 advantage and they would need it as the Crusaders Roberto Sanchez belted a three-run home run just over the wall in left with two outs in the top of the ninth making it a one run game (4-3). Fortunately for the Cobras, senior Matt Long (Florence, S.C.) was able to come in and get the final out to secure the victory.
Witzel had a spectacular day going 8.2 innings scattering eight hits and allowing just three runs with six strikeouts.
Parish took the loss going seven innings allowing three runs, just one earned, on five hits with five punch outs.
Hiatt led all Coker hitters with three hits including a double with an RBI and a run scored. Nick Fuoco (Palm Bay, Fla.) also drove in and scored a run, while Fico Kondla (Miami, Fla.) and Zach Barnes (Monticello, Ind.) each had an RBI.
Sanchez was the Crusaders leading hitter with three hits including a double and the homer, three RBIs and a run scored. Justin Vasquez was the only other Abbey player with multiple hits, he had two with a run scored.
The Cobras will take their show on the road for their next game on Wednesday, March 2 at UNC Pembroke. First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.