04/05/04 — MMOC baseball completes sweep of Coker

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MMOC baseball completes sweep of Coker

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 5, 2004 1:55 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Carl Lancaster vividly remembers the scene.

Coker (S.C.) College swept a conference series 3-0 against his Mount Olive College baseball team two years ago and celebrated with a pile-up at second base on the Scarborough Field diamond. The Cobras went on to win the NCAA Division II Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Confer-ence regular-season title.

"I didn't forget that -- didn't care for that," Lancas-ter said.

The nationally-ranked Trojans exacted a little revenge by playing their most-complete game of the season Sunday afternoon. Matt Rusch threw a superb game for six innings and Stevie Parrish slapped a career-best three home runs as Mount Olive demolished Coker 18-3 in the final game of the series.

The No. 25-ranked Trojans won a CVAC series 3-0 for the fourth time this year, including three sweeps at home. They seized sole possession of second place in the conference at 15-6 and dropped Coker from first to third.

"It's tough to sweep anybody in this conference and practically impossible on the road," Lancaster said. "You've got different hops out there and you don't feel as comfortable as you do at home.

"It's just a matter of getting it done between the lines."

Rusch responded on the mound with yet another solid performance. The junior right-hander yielded two earned runs on five hits and struck out seven in six innings.

Coker scored in the first on back-to-back doubles by Brian Nally and Dustin Dockter. Rusch settled down and retired the next 11 batters he faced before surrendering a two-out single to Kelly Sullivan in the fourth.

"Rusch the last three times out has been outstanding," Lancaster said. "He's just gotten better and better. The temperature has gotten better and his fast ball has started to jump a little bit.

"He gave us a great start today. He really did."

Coker put runners aboard in four of six innings against Rusch, but he never got flustered. Rusch (2-1) induced just two ground-ball outs, while the rest were either pop-ups in the infield or foul territory. Center fielder T.J. Fly also made two great on-the-run catches in the breezy conditions.

Nally plated the Cobras' second run with a two-out single in the fifth.

"Rusch was spotting his fast ball very well and he's got a pretty good slider," Lancaster said. "This team, we found out yesterday, some of them are real susceptible to off-speed stuff if you get ahead of them."

"Craig (Hurba) sat back there and called a great game."

The Cobras entered the weekend series hitting .278 as a team, but Rusch held them to .208. Bullpen mates Brett Williams, Blake Montgomery and Jason Sharp combined for three innings of two-hit, three-strikeout relief.

Offensively, Mount Olive roughed up four Coker pitchers for 12 extra-base hits and 19 overall. Parrish plated seven runs in five at-bats and took over the team lead in home runs (16), RBI (60); while tying Hurba for extra-base hits (30).

"If you keep your eye on Parrish, he's either going to wear it out or get himself out," a grinning Lancaster said. "He'll go a streak where he looks terrible and then all off a sudden, he hit six rods. Parrish had a pretty good day today.

"Thank goodness because Craig really struggled today."

Hurba emerged one of six Trojans to record a multiple-hit day at the plate. Every starter had at least one hit and scored at least one run as Mount Olive ran its home record 19-2.

Jonathan Pullen ripped the first grand slam of his career in the fifth.

The 18-run outburst was the most since a 22-10 thrashing of Shepherd (W. Va.) College on March 8. The Trojans are 9-1 when they have reached double digits offensively in CVAC games.

"There wasn't any base running to be done," Lancaster said. "When you hit the gaps like that, you just point. That was a good win for us and we were able to save (Brian) Corbett like we wanted to do."

Corbett (4-1, 4.05 ERA) will start Tuesday's game against Augusta State (Ga.) University, which is ranked No. 16 in the latest Collegiate Baseball poll. The first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Mount Olive is 3-2 against top 25 teams this season.

Coker 100 010 010 -- 3 7 1

Mount Olive 203 243 40x -- 18 19 1

Leading hitters -- Mount Olive -- Stephen Nordan 2-5, 2B, RBI; Craig Hurba 2-4, 2B; Stevie Parrish 4-5, 3 HRs, 7 RBI; Matt Rickard 3-5, 2B, 2 RBI; Dan Smith 3-4, 2 2Bs, RBI; Jonathan Pullen 2-5, HR, 5 RBI. Coker -- Kelly Sullivan 2-4, RBI.

E -- Dawson, Thomas. DP -- Coker 1. LOB -- Coker 6, Mount Olive 5. CS -- Dawson.



Borgia (L, 5-3) 3 8 6 6 0 1

Dill 2 4 5 4 2 1

Liggett 12Ú3 7 7 4 1 1

Miller 11Ú3 0 0 0 0 0

Mount Olive

Rusch (W, 2-1) 6 5 2 2 1 7

Williams 1 1 0 0 0 1

Montgomery 1 1 1 1 1 0

Sharp 1 0 0 0 0 2

WP -- Borgia, Liggett; Rusch. HBP -- Arnold (by Miller). PB -- Ramey.