04/24/05 — Knights send MOC baseball team home

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Knights send MOC baseball team home

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 24, 2005 2:01 AM

WILSON -- St. Andrews profited from its second meeting in less than 24 hours against Mount Olive College, and denied the Trojans the opportunity defend their Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference baseball crown.

Anthony Mehling threw a complete-game, seven-hitter and received early-inning offensive support in a 10-3 victory Saturday afternoon at Nixon Field on the Barton College campus. Seeded fourth in the eight-team field, St. Andrews faced Limestone (S.C.) College for the right to play in today's title game at historic Fleming Stadium.

Mount Olive (26-27) recorded its first-ever losing campaign on the Division II level. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak against the Knights, including Friday morning's opening-round 8-4 triumph.

"We really wanted to win that ball game and we felt like (Donald) Huff might give us a shot, but the wind really didn't help him any," Trojans coach Carl Lancaster said. "(Bryan) Corbett was a legitimate pitcher we needed to go in there, but we didn't come to win one game, we wanted to go further.

"We felt like we needed to save him."

St. Andrews chased Huff after three innings.

Everett Kelly slapped a lead-off home run in the second. Greg Wrape provided a two-RBI double in the third. Mehling cleared the bases with a grand-slam home run.

Michael Eastwood greeted reliever Brett Williams with a lead-off homer, the first of two on the afternoon, in the fourth inning. Wrape delivered an RBI single to give Mehling considerable breathing room on the mound.

"The guys just didn't come out with any enthusiasm early in the game," Lancaster lamented. "(Mehling) pitched a pretty good game against us, he really did. You can't take anything away from their pitcher, but we just didn't come out ready to play."

Mehling (3-5) pitched six consecutive shutout innings and held the fifth-seeded Trojans to three hits. Mount Olive labored through 19 scoreless innings and left 17 men on base before scratching in the seventh.

Lance Martin foiled Mehling's shutout bid with an RBI single to left field. One out later, Santos Estremera laced a two-RBI double into the right center-field gap. Estremera emerged the lone Trojan to hit safely in all three tournament games.

Mehling benefited from an eighth-inning double play and retired the side in the ninth to secure his first complete game of the season. A junior, Mehling collected five strikeouts and walked two batters.

Corbett, a senior left-hander, conceded a fifth-inning home run to Eastwood. But after Eastwood's second round-tripper, Corbett allowed two hits and threw a perfect eighth inning.

"We certainly felt like we had a shot at winning, but we just didn't rebound from yesterday," said Lancaster, whose team sat around for nine hours before its shutout loss against Limestone early Saturday morning. "(But) with all the adversity and injuries we've had, I'm proud of these kids. They could have tanked this thing six or seven weeks ago, and it looked like we had.

"But we did pretty good the last three weeks of the season."

Mount Olive enjoyed a season-high seven-game win streak from April 3-12 and won 10 of 12 games overall in a two-week stretch.

Corbett played his final contest along with fellow seniors Jon Pullen, Dan Smith, Nick Paniccia and John Pearson.