02/06/05 — Trojans split in season-opening doubleheader

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Trojans split in season-opening doubleheader

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on February 6, 2005 2:01 AM

MOUNT OLIVE - Mount Olive's baseball team salvaged a split in a season-opening, doubleheader against Newberry on Saturday afternoon at Scarborough Field in a pair of seven-inning games.

The Trojans' offensive production proved much better in Game 2 -- posting 11 hits, including six for extra bases as Mount Olive claimed a 6-4 win over the Indians.

Game 1 saw the Trojans (1-1) manage just four hits with a handful of costly baserunning mistakes in a 3-2 loss.

"I thought we were going to be a little better than we were. We weren't very good," Mount Olive coach Carl Lancaster said. "We gave them game one and tried to give them game two. We didn't play with a lot of heart. We are young and new, but I didn't see a lot of bright spots.

"Baserunning was absolutely ridiculous on our side."

Eastern Wayne graduate Josh Carter paced the Trojans in the second game with three hits, including two doubles with an RBI and a run scored. Carter drove in Stephen Nordan in the bottom of the first, then later scored on a single through the left side by Jonathan Pullen as Mount Olive took a 2-0 lead.

The Trojans added to the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Matt Rickard doubled down the left-field line -- plating Nordan and Carter. Rickard later scored on a wild pitch, while Michael Glass, who walked, crossed the plate on a double in the left-center gap by Bobby Northrup.

Six-foot-6 freshman pitcher Justin Staatz (1-0) tossed five shutout innings. On his way to his first collegiate win, Staatz pitched out of a handful of tough jams. In his five innings of work, Newberry stranded eight baserunners and left 11 on base total in the second game.

"After the first inning, he settled in and threw pretty well," Lancaster said.

The Indians (1-1) eventually got on the board in the top of the sixth as Trojan reliever Blake Montgomery issued two walks and hit a batter, before being pulled for Charles B. Aycock alumnus and Trojan sophomore Philip Pennington. Pennington walked in a runner and yielded a sacrifice fly as the Indians closed the deficit to 6-2.

With two outs and Dean Walker on second, Newberry's Matt Webb doubled to left-center to plate Walker. One batter later, Pennington yielded an unearned run when Daniel Till reached on an error by the left-fielder. A tough, 3-1 put-out from the first baseman Carter to Pennington covering first retired the speedy, Jamall Kinard to close out the Trojans' first win of the season.

Newberry starter Joel Crisp (0-1) gave up 10 hits and six earned runs in 42/3 innings of work in picking up the loss.

In the first game, the Trojans had four base-running blunders in the first four innings, while stranding two runners in scoring position on the game.

Russell Haltiwanger (1-0) tossed six innings, giving up four hits with three walks and seven strikeouts on his way to picking up the win in the first game.

Mount Olive took advantage of three Indian errors in the sixth and finally scratched for two runs to take a 2-1 lead into the top of the seventh. Ricky Davis had the only hit during the rally and scored a run, while pinch-runner Santos Estermera also crossed the plate.

Walks plagued the Trojans in the top of the seventh as Trojan freshman and Aycock graduate Phillip Cunningham (0-1) walked two, before being relieved for Donald Huff. With two outs, Webb drilled an 0-2 fastball offering from Huff for a double to center -- scoring teammates Malcolm McLeod and Daniel Till. Webb finished Saturday 4-for-7 with three RBI and two doubles.

In the two games combined, Mount Olive issued 13 walks total.

"We didn't pitch it very well. They've got five freshman in their order, and you've got to throw it in there and let our defense make plays," Lancaster said.

The Indians' Matt Folk retired the side to pick up the save in the bottom of the seventh.

Mount Olive starter Jonathan McClellan and left-handed reliever Brett Williams combined to yield just two hits in 17 at bats through six innings. McClellan walked three, but held the Indians without a hit in his 31/3 innings..

The Trojans and Indians conclude the season-opening series at 1 p.m. today. Lancaster listed lefty Brian Corbett as the probable starter on the mound.