02/13/04 — MOC baseball and tennis

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MOC baseball and tennis

By David Williams
Published in Sports on February 13, 2004 2:00 PM

Baseball --

Trojans take on Shippensburg

The Mount Olive College baseball team posted a 2-1 record during the first weekend of the 2004 season and a 3-1 record last weekend.

Considering the Trojans are playing three games this weekend against a nationally-ranked top 20 opponent, another series win could give Mount Olive a shot at some early-season national recognition.

Mount Olive is at home for the second consecutive weekend as the Trojans play host to No. 20 Shippensburg (Pa.) in a three-game series at Scarborough Field in NCAA Division II baseball. The two teams play a doubleheader Saturday beginning at noon and follow with a single game Sunday at 1 p.m.

Mount Olive (5-2) enters this weekend after taking three of four games at home last weekend. The Trojans split a doubleheader Saturday against Catawba, then swept a doubleheader against Lenoir-Rhyne Sunday.

Including a season-opening three-game series at Newberry two weekends ago, all of the Trojans' games thus far have been against South Atlantic Conference teams.

Shortstop and leadoff hitter Alan Thomas has been everything as advertised in the early going. The senior and UNC Greensboro transfer is hitting .462 (12-for-26) and has team highs of 12 hits, eight runs scored, four doubles and four stolen bases (in four attempts). Senior catcher Craig Hurba is hitting .500 (9-for-18) with two home runs and nine runs batted in. Both of Hurba's home runs came in game one against Catawba. Freshman outfielder Stephen Nordan has gotten off to a fast start in his collegiate career, leading the Trojans in hitting with a .533 batting average (8-for-15). He's tied with Hurba for the team lead in RBI's. The Trojans have a team batting average of .340 and are averaging more than seven runs per game.

On the mound, University of Tennessee transfer Steve Wesley (1-0) leads the Trojans with a 1.08 earned run average. Wesley pitched 5.1 scoreless innings in relief Sunday in game one against Lenoir-Rhyne. Josh Clow (0-0) has a 2.57 ERA after pitching five shutout innings of two-hit ball in game two against Lenoir-Rhyne. Ricky Duke (1-0) is the Trojans' strikeout leader with 10.

Shippensburg (0-0) opens its season at Mount Olive for the second consecutive year. Last year, Shippensburg won the opener 6-1, but Mount Olive took the series with 8-2 and 5-4 victories. Shippensburg is ranked No. 20 in this week's Collegiate Baseball NCAA Division II Poll.

Tennis --

Men and women host Francis Marion

Last weekend, the Mount Olive men's tennis team got an early start on the 2004 season. This weekend, both the men's and the women's tennis teams take to the courts as Mount Olive plays host to Francis Marion Saturday in non-conference NCAA Division II tennis action. Match time is noon at the John Walker Tennis Center on the Mount Olive College campus.

In men's tennis, Mount Olive (1-0) is coming off a 9-0 victory over Johnson C. Smith last Saturday. The Trojans won all six singles matches in straight sets. Saturday's contest could affect regional rankings, both for the teams and individuals. Mount Olive's Fernando Crisosto is ranked No. 10 in the Mid-Atlantic Region and No. 41 in the nation in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Division II rankings. Francis Marion (3-0) is ranked No. 10 in the Mid-Atlantic Region team rankings and is coming off a 5-4 victory over Barton last Saturday.

On the women's side, Mount Olive is led by last year's Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference Women's Tennis Freshman of the Year Lucia Henkle. Henkle also earned All-CVAC first team honors, while fellow sophomore Mariana Shimoda was named to the All-CVAC second team.

Francis Marion (2-1) fell to Barton 5-4 last Saturday.