Coach wins 1,000th game as North Florida splits with Mount Olive
By David Williams
Published in Sports on March 18, 2004 1:58 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- A spilt in a two game series with a top-10, nationally-ranked team. A good outing from the pitching staff without using the weekend starters. Sixteen hits in two games against a top-notch corps of arms. And two mistakes away from a possible sweep. And some good things to show the regional tournament selection committee.
Not bad, overall, in Carl Lancas-ter's opinion.
The Mount Olive College baseball coach summed up his team's series with visiting North Florida after the Ospreys beat the Trojans 9-2 Wednesday afternoon at Scarborough Field. Mount Olive took the opening game 10-8 on Tuesday to gain a split in the two-game series.
"I'm not bothered by that at all," Lancaster said of the loss. "A lot of people are going to lose to North Florida. Dusty's got a good club."
North Florida coach Dusty Rhodes claimed his 1,000th career collegiate coaching win with Wednesday's victory. He was philosophical about the milestone, which he accomplished after 25 years and over 1,400 games.
"It's one of those things you don't think about until it gets here," Rhodes said. "I knew it was coming up, but I honestly did not know it was today. A thousand games is a thousand games. It means I've had a lot of great coaches and great players. They've done all the winning. To have been around for a thousand games is something I'm proud of."
If Rhodes did not know, his players and the few fans who traveled up to Mount Olive from Jacksonville, Fla., did. At the game's end, fans broke out signs and stood to applaud Rhodes and the Ospreys.
The game was tight until two big mistakes did in the homestanding Trojans.
Mount Olive let the game's first four runs score in unearned fashion.
Starter Josh Clow opened the fourth inning with back-to-back singles to Josh Howard and Ryan Knight, but caught a break when Nick Panniccia turned a ground ball into a double play to give the Trojan two outs and a runner on second. The next ground ball was thrown high to first, scoring Knight from second. Sadry Cafe, Matt Oxendine and Marion Knowles all came through with hits as the Trojans fell behind 4-0.
Mount Olive got a run back in the bottom of the fourth as Matt Johnson singled with two out and scored on a double by Kevin Daniels. But the 4-1 score was as close as the Trojans would get after another four-run outburst in the sixth inning.
An inning-opening double by Joey Russell and three straight walks put a run in and ended a short outing for Blake Montgomery. Reliever Ryan Barham got a weak grounder back to the mound, but mishandled it and threw wide to first, scoring two Osprey runs. A throwing error later in the inning led to another run as North Florida took a commanding 8-1 lead.
From there, North Florida's deep pitching staff took over and kept Mount Olive in check the rest of the game. Mount Olive's other run came when Craig Hurba, who had doubled with two out in the seventh, scored on Stevie Parrish's single to right. Parrish was 3-for-4 to lead the Trojans' eight-hit attack.
"It's good to get a split," said Rhodes. "Carl's got a good club. We've played his teams at regional before and I have a lot of respect for his program. They can swing the bat. They have a good chance at a regional spot."
"Clow threw excellent," Lancaster said of his starter. "It was just a couple of mistakes. We get a double play, throw the ball away and they score four. It looked like we lost our energy after that. We weren't the same team."
Mount Olive has an important series this weekend at Scarborough Field against Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference foe Belmont Abbey, with a doubleheader Saturday and a single game Sunday. Down the road are other big regional foes -- Augusta State in two weeks and Georgia College and State University in late April.
"If we don't get in the regional, it won't be because of a weak schedule," Lancaster said.
North Florida 000 404 010 -- 9 9 3
Mount Olive 000 100 100 -- 2 8 5
Leading hitters -- North Florida -- Matt Oxendine 2-4, 2B; Joey Russell 1-5, 2B; Billy Kovatch 2-4, RBI; Marion Knowles 1-4, 2 RBI. Mount Olive -- Craig Hurba 1-4, 2B; Stevie Parrish 3-4, RBI; Kevin Daniels 1-2, 2B.
E -- Oxendine, Loveland, Polster, Panniccia, Pullen, Johnson, Daniels, Montgomery. DP -- North Florida 1, Mount Olive 1. LOB -- North Florida 8, Mount Olive 10.
IP H R ER BB SO
McNeal 2 1 0 0 1 0
Polster 2 2 1 1 1 0
Stanton 2 2 0 0 0 5
Waters 1 3 1 1 0 1
Papelbon 1 0 0 0 0 0
Layman 1 0 0 0 0 2
Clow 5 5 4 0 2 3
Montgomery 0 2 4 4 4 1
Williams 1 0 0 0 1 1
Rusch 1 1 1 0 0 0
Pennington 1 1 0 0 0 0
Win -- Stanton. Loss -- Clow. WP -- Clow, Montgomery, Williams. HBP -- Knight (by Clow). PB -- Hurba. CI -- Loveland.
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