WILSON, N.C.-A bases loaded sacrifice fly by pinch hitter Luke Danielewicz plated junior Drew Willingham in a 1-0 walk-off victory in 10 innings for No. 5 seed Erskine College over No. 2 seed Belmont Abbey College in an elimination game Friday afternoon in the second day of the 2012 Conference Carolinas Baseball Tournament hosted by Barton College and the Wilson Tobs.
The Flying Fleet (28-22) will play its next game in the tourney on Saturday at 3 p.m. with the opponent to be determined after Friday's other games. The Crusaders depart Wilson with a 30-21 overall record.
The game featured a pitcher's duel between Erskine junior Heath Gray and Abbey junior Gabe Wallmeyer. The two righty's kept the game scoreless through nine innings to force extra baseball.
Gray went the distance to notch the complete game shutout. Gray only allowed five hits and he did not issue a walk. Gray (6-3) recorded six strikeouts.
Wallmeyer matched Gray through regulation allowing just two hits over the first nine innings but Wallmeyer gave up consecutive singles to begin the first extra inning. Wallmeyer was then replaced by All-Conference closer Emilio Pagan after the back-to-back hits but Pagan was unable to keep the lone run from scoring as Wallmeyer (6-4) was tagged for the loss.
Willingham started the decisive rally with a single to center and sophomore Chase Corn then reached safely on a well-placed drag bunt down the first base line. Sophomore Will Huff then sac bunted Willingham and Corn into scoring position forcing the Abbey to intentionally walk freshman Logan Galliher to load up the bases and set up the force out at every base or a potential double play. However, Danielewicz was able to drive a fly ball deep enough to center field that allowed Willingham to tag up and slide across home plate well before the catcher could apply the tag on the throw.
After the contests first 23 batters were retired in order, Erskine junior Drew Willingham drew a two-out walk in the bottom of the fourth to become the first base runner.
Senior Stephen Mullis produced the game's first base hit in the top of the fifth, bouncing a clean untouched single through the middle of the infield. Gray had successfully retired his first 14 batters before the Mullis base knock.
Senior Zach McCarthy broke up Wallmeyer's bid at a no-hitter with a one-out single in the sixth that blooped down inside the right field but Wallmeyer quickly bounced back by inducing a groundball double play.
Abbey senior Justin Vasquez became the first player to reach scoring position with a single and stolen base in the seventh. Vasquez then attempted to swipe third but was caught leaving early to end the threat.
A single by junior Emilio Pagan followed by an Erskine fielding error gave the Crusaders runners on first and third with one out in the eighth but Gray wiggled out of the jam with a pop-up and a fly-out as the game was destine for extra innings.
Mullis led all batters going 2-for-3 from the plate with a sac bunt.
McCarthy had half of the Fleets four hits with a pair of singles.
The contest yielded no extra base hits.
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