03/27/06 — Bulldogs pull away

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Bulldogs pull away

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on March 27, 2006 2:02 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- The inability to stay away from the big inning proved costly for Mount Olive in 10-4 loss at Scarborough Field on Sunday against archrival and Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference leader Barton.

Sunday's contest was the "rubber game" of the three-game set as the visitors took the series, 2-1. Mount Olive (21-11 overall) slipped to 10-8 in the CVAC with six games left in league play, while the Bulldogs (18-14) improved to 11-4 in the conference with nine CVAC games remaining.

Facing the usually solid Donald Huff in his first inning of relief out of the bullpen, the Bulldogs posted six runs (five earned) on four hits to take an 8-2 lead in the top of the sixth.

Barton's Jonathan Nichols, who had five RBI on the day, keyed the rally with a three-run double, while Zach Boyette added a two-RBI single and Tyler Petty drove in one. The runs were Huff's first allowed at home this season as the senior right-hander entered the game with a minuscule 0.87 earned run average in 11 appearances.

"He's been so good for us all year, but today his arm was dragging ... he left some balls up and they punished him. That was the difference in the ball game," MOC coach Carl Lancaster said.

After Barton's rally, Mount Olive never recovered.

Mount Olive's only multi-hit inning of the game came in the bottom of the sixth when Kyle Curtis brought in Dustin Richardson, who doubled, with a single against Barton starter Kelley Stracke to make the score 9-4. With two outs in the same inning, Mount Olive put runners on second and third, but Bulldog reliever Timothy Bardin got David Cooper to pop to the shortstop to end the threat.

After the Bulldogs got one more against Huff in the seventh on a double by Nichols, the Trojans got their final run when Stephen Nordan brought home Lance Martin with a sacrifice fly after Martin tripled to start the seventh inning.

Stracke gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits and finished with five strikeouts against four walks. He yielded one run in the first and second innings, before shutting out the home team in innings 3-5.

Bardin got the final out of the sixth and pitched three effective innings of relief for Barton.

"We wanted to minimize the damage. You're always going to get into some of those moments, but to not give up the key hit, walk or error to keep the inning going was important," Barton coach Todd Wilkinson said.

Josh Carter got the Trojans on the board with a two-out single in the first, as Anthony Williams scored Richardson in the second with an RBI ground out to make it 2-0.

Trojans' starter Jesse Lancaster kept Barton scoreless and hitless in the first three innings, before Eric McInerny slugged his fourth home run of the series and 11th of the season in the top of the fourth. McInerny's blast to straightaway center tied the game at 2-2.

Lancaster pitched a 1-2-3 fifth, striking out two. The freshman from Eastern Wayne finished with four strikeouts against one walk in five innings.

"I didn't think Jesse had very good velocity today, but he battled," Lancaster said. "Then, he left one up against the same guy that's hurt us all weekend."

Mount Olive takes a break from CVAC play as it travels to Virginia State on Wednesday, then hosts Chowan College for a pair of doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday.

"We just want to get healthy and see what we can do down the road," said Lancaster, who has six pitchers injured and all may miss the rest of the season. "We'll get some arms out there that we haven't used and try to rest the guys we've been using."

Barton 000 206 101 -- 10 9 2

Mount Olive 110 001 100 -- 4 5 3

Leading hitters -- Barton -- Jonathan Nichols 2-3, 2 2Bs, 5 RBI; Eric McInerny 1-2, HR, 2 RBI, 2 runs; Brock Godwin 2-4, 2B, 3 runs; Tyler Petty 2-4, RBI, 2 runs; Zach Boyette 1-3, 2 RBI. Mount Olive -- Josh Carter 2-4, RBI; Dustin Richardson 1-3, 2B, 2 runs; Kyle Curtis 1-4, RBI; Lance Martin 1-4, 3B.


Barton (18-14, 11-4)

K. Stracke (W) 52/3 4 3 2 4 5

T. Bardin 31/3 1 1 1 0 1

Mount Olive (21-11, 10-8)

J. Lancaster 5 2 2 2 1 4

D. Huff (L, 4-1) 2 6 7 6 3 1

P. Buhrow 2 1 1 0 2 0