02/07/05 — Rickard rips walk-off homer in bottom of 9th

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Rickard rips walk-off homer in bottom of 9th

Published in Sports on February 7, 2005 1:55 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- In most instances, when a player hits a game-winning home run, he'll usually say he was "just looking for a pitch to hit."

Mount Olive's Matt Rickard made no secret of his intentions when he came up to bat in a tie game with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and the bases empty.

"I was thinking home run all the way," said the junior from Burlington.

Rickard hit a solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift Mount Olive to a 4-3 victory over Newberry (S.C.) College in non-conference play Sunday afternoon at Scarborough Field. Rickard's game winner came one at-bat after Josh Carter singled home the tying run and one pitch after a pinch runner was caught stealing.

Mount Olive starter Bryan Corbett struck out eight and allowed only two hits in seven scoreless innings as he left with a 2-0 lead.

The Trojans (2-1) scored their first run in the third inning when Ricky Davis reached on a two-out error and scored two batters later on Carter's line single to left. Mount Olive added a run in the sixth when Brent Long scored from third on a double steal.

Carter, a graduate of Eastern Wayne, batted 3-for-5; while Rickard and Jordan had two hits apiece as the three players combined for seven of the Trojans' eight hits. Stephen Nordan reached base three times -- all hit by pitch. But Mount Olive wasn't able to add to a two-run lead, leaving 10 runners stranded.

Newberry (1-2) got on the scoreboard in the top of the eighth when Brandon Brown led off with a single, stole second, reached third on an errant pickoff attempt and scored on T.J. McCord's two-out pinch-hit single to right.

The Indians added two runs in the top of the ninth when Anthony Dillenger drew a lead-off walk and eventually scored on a fielder's choice. Brown hit a two-out RBI-single to give Newberry a 3-2 lead.

Davis walked on four pitches to lead off the bottom of the ninth, moved to second on a ground out and scored on Carter's single to left field.

After Newberry catcher Curt Marshall threw out a Trojan pinch runner attempting to steal second, Rickard went opposite field, lofting a fastball on the outside part of the plate and getting some help from the wind as the ball just cleared the right field fence to give the Trojans their second win in the three-game series.

The teams split a doubleheader Saturday.

Rickard says he was just following the instructions of assistant coach Aaron Akin.

"Coach Akin said to finish it up," said Rickard. "Hopefully, winning this series will give us some good momentum."

Mount Olive continues play Wednesday at conference foe Pfeiffer University. It's a rematch of last year's Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference tournament title game, won by the Trojans.

Game time is 1 p.m.