04/11/04 — Rusch comes up big for MOC

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Rusch comes up big for MOC

By David Williams
Published in Sports on April 11, 2004 2:01 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Matt Rusch came up big just when Mount Olive College needed him.

The junior right-hander from Schenectady, New York allowed just three hits as the Trojans beat Anderson 6-0 in the final game of the three-game series at Scarborough Field Saturday afternoon.

The win gave Mount Olive a 2-1 series win over the visiting Trojans, and a 17-7 mark in the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference. Mount Olive locked up second place in the league and should be the No. 2 seed for the upcoming CVAC tournament at Spartanburg, South Carolina starting April 16.

Rusch was strong throughout his seven innings of work, keeping Anderson's hitters popping up harmlessly or grounding out softly. The defense was excellent behind Rusch, turning a pair of double plays.

"Oh, man, would I have give anything to run him out there in game one and put those boys in the tank," said Mount Olive coach Carl Lancaster, who had originally scheduled Rusch to start the first game of Friday's doubleheader, but went with Ricky Duke instead. The Trojans dropped the opening game to Anderson 7-3.

"It looked like he could have gone further. He wasn't struggling. In the seventh he started missing his locations more than he had been, but they had four left-handers coming up and we had already decided to pull him. He was very good today -- as good as he's been in the last three or four games."

Brian Corbett struck out two in two innings of relief.

The hosts scored the game's first run in the second inning as Parrish, who is on an 18-game hitting streak, drove a double into the right-center field gap to score Matt Rickard from second base.

Parrish struck again in the fifth, doubling with a blast to the center field wall with T.J. Fly and Rickard aboard. That shot raised Parrish's team-leading RBI total to 69.

"As long as Stevie's on our team, we're happy," said a smiling Lancaster. "He had a great weekend."

The fourth run came in the next inning. Matt Johnson reached base with a perfectly-executed push bunt, followed by a double by Fly down the right-field line to put runners at second and third. Johnson came in on a wild pitch and Mount Olive loaded the bases with no one out, but Anderson went to reliever Matt Dymond and got out of the inning without further damage.

Matt Rickard's two-run home run to left in the eighth -- his first collegiate home run -- brought in Fly and made the score 6-0.

"It's just a matter of time before Rickard becomes a very good hitter," Lancaster said of his sophomore. "He's come on as well as anyone, as far as position players, through the season."

Although Mount Olive is scheduled to play St. Augustine's College on Wednesday, the Trojans are likely to prepare for a week before Georgia College and State University. That three-game series will go a long way toward determining Mount Olive's chances of getting into the NCAA regional tournament.

"Georgia College's schedule from here on in is not as difficult as it has been, so they should close very strong," said Lancaster. "It's going to be crucial for us to get these games as far as having the numbers to go."

Anderson 000 000 000 -- 0 4 1

Mount Olive 001 021 02x -- 6 10 1

Leading hitters -- Anderson -- White 1-1, 2B; Ratliff, 1-3, 2B. Mount Olive -- Parrish 2-3, 2 2B, 3 RBI Fly 2-3, 2B; Rickard HR, 2 RBI.



Youngblood (L) 6 8 4 3 1 3

Dymond 2 2 2 2 2 1

Mount Olive

Rusch (W) 7 3 0 0 1 2

Corbett 2 1 0 0 0 2

WP -- Youngblood, Dymond. HBP -- Rickard 2 (by Youngblood). PB - Jones 2.