Trojans take two from Lenoir-Rhyne
By David Williams
Published in Sports on February 9, 2004 2:00 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Carl Lancaster surely can't mind bundling up for some February baseball -- as long as his Mount Olive College team plays as it is currently doing.
Mount Olive made the weekend a happy -- if chilly -- one by sweeping Lenoir-Rhyne Sunday afternoon in a doubleheader at Scarborough Field. The Trojans (5-2) made up an early five-run deficit with nine unanswered runs for a 9-5 win, then created some offense and got some strong pitching in a 2-1 victory in the second game.
"I'm pleased in every facet of our game," said Lancaster, whose team won three of four games over the weekend. "We saw some excellent pitchers and we got two games that we needed. We won one down five by not giving up and scoring some runs. We won a nail-biter on a push bunt and a big hit by (Craig) Hurba. And everyone had a role."
The Mount Olive pitching staff played a dominating role in both games.
Steven Wesley relieved starter Michael Erexson and threw five-plus innings of scoreless ball, striking out four. Jason Sharp pitched the seventh inning and came within one batter of picking up a save, then turned around and got the win in the second game with strong a strong relief effort.
Sophomore Brett Williams picked up the same in game two, striking out the final batter of the game with the tying run on base.
"Sharp was key for us," said Lancaster. "Williams threw the ball well. Clow was outstanding today, winning and closing the door in the first game."
Lancaster said he would likely shake up the starting rotation for the Trojans' next series with Shippensburg (Pa.) College, using Sharp, Clow and Saturday winner Ricky Duke.
The afternoon almost veered out of control early as Lenoir-Rhyne opened the first game with five runs in the opening inning. Jason Bridges and Matt Sigmon hit back-to-back doubles against Erexson, with a run scoring on Bridgesâ hit and then scoring himself on a fielding error for a 2-0 lead.
Jordan Ackley then smashed a three-run home run to left field.
Wesley came in and shut down the Indians, and Mount Olive began its comeback in the bottom of the inning. Freshman Stephen Nordon singled and moved up to third on a wild pitch and a passed ball. Stevie Parrish drove in Nordon on a groundout and the Trojans trailed 5-1.
The crushing equalizer came in the second as Mount Olive sent 11 men to the plate. Kevin Daniels doubled in a run, then had to come out of the game when he injured his ankle coming into second base. Nordon then hit a two-run shot to left-center field and Hurba drove in another run on a sacrifice fly.
Parrish then put starting pitcher Justin McLeymore with a RBI double down the right field line.
Nick Paniccia tacked on another run by driving in Parrish with a single, added by an errant throw by the Lenoir-Rhyne defense.
Thomas provided a run in the third with a sacrifice fly and Nordon drove in another run with a single to make the score 9-5. Wesley and Sharp did the rest, setting up only two scoring innings in 14 for Lenoir-Rhyne on the day.
Lancaster smiled a little mention of Nordon, the freshman from Johnston County who stepped right into the Trojan lineup and has hit .533 with eight hits and nine RBI in the first seven games.
"He has a sweet swing." Lancaster said. "And he's not intimidated by the game."
The second game featured Clow, the hard-throwing pitcher who collected five innings of two-hit ball and kept the Indians hitting safe ground balls and soft fly balls.
The Trojans' first run came in the fifth inning as Thomas stepped to the plate with Matt Johnson on second base. Thomas battled for 13 pitches, finally drawing a walk that extended the inning and allowed Hurba to drive in Johnson with a hit to center field.
"Thomas' at-bat in the fifth was the key to the game," said Lancaster. "He fouled off about seven pitches and drew a big walk."
Weston Curles came on and got the first out of the sixth inning but yielded to Blake Montgomery when an error and a hit by Gregg Morgan put the go-ahead run on base. Montgomery got a strikeout but hit a batter to load the bases and walked in the tying run before Sharp returned to the mound and ended the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth Mount Olive broke through as Paniccia singled, got to third on a wild pitch and a ground out by Mike Maffucci. After pitching changes, pinch-hitter Nordon came through again with a single to left field. Sharp and Williams shut the door in the seventh to seal the win.
Lancaster noted that his team's versatility with the bats and on the mound is going to create headaches for opponents down the line.
"We don't lose a lot whether they throw lefties or righties," he said. "The guys have bought into it and they all know they have a part to play."
Mount Olive will meet Shippensburg Saturday for a doubleheader and again on Sunday.
Lenoir-Rhyne 500 000 0 -- 5 11 4
Mount Olive 162 000 x -- 9 9 2
Leading hitters -- Lenoir-Rhyne -- Brian Neill 2-4; Jason Bridges 2-4, 2B, RBI; Matt Sigmon 2-4, 2B; Matt Wiley RBI; Jordan Ackley 2-4, HR, 3 RBI; Mount Olive -- Allen Thomas RBI; Stephen Nordon 3-4, 3 RBI; Craig Hurba, RBI; Stevie Parrish 2B, 2 RBI; Nick Paniccia RBI; Zach Nichols 2B, RBI.
IP H R ER BB SO
McLeymore (L, 0-1) 1 2/3 4 7 7 3 1
Jordan 4 1/3 5 2 1 1 2
Mount Olive (4-2)
Erexson 2/3 5 5 4 0 0
Wesley (W, 1-0) 5 1/3 4 0 0 1 4
Sharp 1 2 0 0 0 0
WP -- McLeymore, Wesley. PB -- Verdinek.
Lenoir-Rhyne 000 001 0 -- 1 3 0
Mount Olive 000 011 x -- 2 5 2
Leading hitters -- Lenoir-Rhyne -- Gregg Morgan 2-3. Mount Olive -- Nick Paniccia, Craig Hurba, Dustin Richardson, Stephen Nordon, Matt Johnson all with singles.
IP H R ER BB SO
Krech (L, 0-1) 5 1/3 4 2 2 4 5
Downey 2/3 1 0 0 0 0
Mount Olive (5-2)
Clow 5 2 0 0 3 1
Curles 1/3 1 1 1 0 0
Montgomery 1/3 0 0 0 1 1
Sharp (W, 1-0) 1 0 0 0 1 0
Williams (S, 1) 1/3 0 0 0 0 1
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