04/10/06 — Mount Olive sweeps Crusaders

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Mount Olive sweeps Crusaders

By Gabe Whisnant
Published in Sports on April 10, 2006 1:56 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- With a pitching staff decimated by injuries, it is key for Mount Olive's starters to give the Trojans lengthy, consistent outings.

In Sunday's doubleheader, Mount Olive right-handers Philip Pennington and Justin Staatz did just that as the Trojans needed very little help from their bullpen in a two-game sweep over Belmont Abbey.

Pennington (5-2), a junior from Charles B. Aycock, went eight innings in game one, yielding four runs on nine hits with four strikeouts and four walks in Mount Olive's 6-4 victory. Pennington pitched six scoreless innings as the Crusaders struck for two in the fifth, then two more in the ninth before Donald Huff came on to record his fourth save.

"I battled it out today. I usually feel fine for nine innings, as long as I can stay down in the zone and get ahead of my batters," said Pennington, who gave up no extra base hits.

Staatz, a 6-foot-7 junior, went the distance in the seven-inning, second game -- striking out 10 against just one walk as the Trojans claimed a 5-1 win. Staatz (6-4), who now has 68 strikeouts in 63-plus innings of work, gave up just four hits and retired 12 of the last 13 batters he faced.

The junior struck out the side in the fourth and had two more, multi-strikeout innings.

Heading into the final game of the three-game series today, Mount Olive (30-11 overall) improved to 12-8 in the Carolinas-Virginia Athletic Conference. Winners of nine straight, the Trojans jumped ahead of the Crusaders (21-28 overall) in the league standings as Abbey slipped to 13-10.

Mount Olive has one more CVAC series left as it travels to Limestone (S.C.) this weekend.

Today's game marks the league finale for the Crusaders. The CVAC tournament is slated for April 21-23 in Wilson.

"The whole staff is thin, so we knew we were going to run the starters out there for longer than we have the last few weeks," MOC coach Carl Lancaster said. "The bottom line is we've got to try to win these (CVAC) games and not worry about the Catawba series on Tuesday."

Pennington and Staatz were both able to pitch with a lead and got 16 innings of errorless defensive play behind them.

Senior left fielder Lance Martin keyed the MOC offense with four hits in six plate appearances. Martin scored three runs and stole four bases in the first game, then had a double and an RBI in game two.

Eastern Wayne product Graham Wooten contributed two hits, including a triple, with two RBIs in game one, while teammate Dustin Richardson also doubled home a run for the Trojans.

In game two, junior shortstop David Cooper singled in his first two plate appearances and scored the game's first run on Josh Harrison's single to center. Josh Carter added an RBI in the sixth -- bringing home Martin, who doubled, to push the score to its final margin at 5-1.

Mount Olive, which never trailed in either game, had eight hits in both games.

"I wasn't as pleased offensively today as I have been, but we got some key hits in some key times," Lancaster said. "We had opportunities to score a lot more runs than we did."

Lefty Jason Cline went 52/3 innings for Abbey in game one, yielding six runs (four earned) on eight hits with seven walks and five strikeouts. Michael Raymond, who also struggled with his control, got the loss in the second game. Raymond had five walks and gave up four runs on six hits in 41/3 innings of work.

Tyler McInzie had three hits, while Will Breslin tallied two RBIs to pace the Crusaders in the first game. Daniel Cayton and Seth Waller both doubled against Staatz in the second inning of game two to push home Abbey's only run.

After finishing up the series with the Crusaders today, Mount Olive hosts fourth-ranked Catawba in a Division II doubleheader on Tuesday.

Game one

B. Abbey 000 020 002 -- 4 10 2

Mount Olive 003 111 00x -- 6 8 0

Leading hitters -- Belmont Abbey -- Tyler McKenzie 3-5; Will Breslin 2-5, 2 RBIs; Jordan Pegram 2-3, 2 runs. Mount Olive -- Lance Martin 2-3, 3 runs, 4 SBs; Graham Wooten 2-4, 3B, 2 RBIs; Dustin Richardson 1-3, 2B, RBI.


Belmont Abbey

J. Cline (L, 5-3) 52/3 8 6 4 7 5

T. Summerlin 21/3 0 0 0 0 1

Mount Olive

P. Pennington (W, 5-2) 8 9 4 4 4 4

D. Huff (S, 4) 1 1 0 0 0 1

Game two

B. Abbey 010 000 0 -- 1 4 0

Mount Olive 300 101 x -- 5 8 0

Leading hitters -- Belmont Abbey -- Daniel Cayton 1-3, 2B, RBI; Seth Waller 1-2, 2B, run. Mount Olive -- Lance Martin 2-3, 2B, RBI; David Cooper 2-4; Josh Carter 1-3, RBI; Josh Harrison 2-2, 2B, RBI.


Belmont Abbey

M. Raymond (L, 3-4) 41/3 6 4 4 5 4

T. Summerlin 1/3 0 0 0 0 0

D. Pasquale 1/3 0 0 0 0 0

D. Rue 1 2 1 1 0 1

Mount Olive

J. Staatz (W, 6-4) 7 4 1 1 1 10