Trojans secure No. 3 seed in CVAC tourney
By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on April 16, 2006 2:17 AM
GAFFNEY, S.C. -- David Cooper went 4-for-4 with four runs batted in, including a two-run triple with two outs in the top of the eighth inning as Mount Olive defeated Limestone 14-10 in the two teams' Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference regular season baseball finale Saturday.
With the win, the Trojans finish in sole possession of third place in the CVAC standings and earn the No. 3 seed in next weekend's CVAC Tournament.
Mount Olive (35-12 overall, 15-9 CVAC) took a quick 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Cooper drew a four-pitch walk to lead off the game and eventually scored on Josh Carter's two-out RBI single. Limestone (19-27, 13-11) answered in the bottom of the first on David Wise's three-run homer.
The Trojans came back with four runs in the top of the fifth as Lance Martin, Stephen Nordan and Josh Carter connected on RBI singles, all with two outs. Mount Olive added a run in the third on three consecutive two-out singles, with Josh Harrison scoring on Cooper's single.
After Limestone scored a run in the bottom of the third, Dustin Richardson's sacrifice fly in the top of the fourth extended Mount Olive's lead to 7-4. The Trojans struck for three runs in the fifth as Jon Skelley led off with a double down the left field line and scored on Anthony Williams' opposite-field triple to the gap in right field. Williams scored on a single by Cooper, who stole second and scored on Nordan's double.
The stolen base was the 38th of the season for Cooper, who ranks eighth in the nation in stolen bases per game.
Mount Olive made it 11-4 in the sixth as Graham Wooten led off with a single and scored on Richardson's double. With the two sixth-inning hits, every Trojan in the lineup had at least one hit.
Trojan starter Jesse Lancaster (6-1) went 5 2/3 innings, but was lifted after giving up two runs in the sixth inning. Paul Buhrow, who tossed a one-hitter Tuesday against nationally fourth-ranked Catawba, entered the game with two outs and a runner on third, and got out of the inning with a strikeout.
After Mount Olive was held scoreless in the top of the seventh -- the first time in the game the Trojans failed to score -- Wise connected on a two-run homer to pull Limestone within 11-8. Wise, who finished with five runs batted in, leads the Saints with 11 home runs.
With runners on first and second and two outs in the top of the eighth, Williams lined a single to right to extend Mount Olive's lead to 12-8. Cooper then lined a 1-2 pitch into the gap in left field for his 11th triple of the season and give the Trojans a 14-8 lead. Cooper, who reached base in all six of his plate appearances, ranks seventh in the nation in triples.
"'Ant' (Anthony Williams) got a big hit for us with two outs and I just wanted to keep it going," said Cooper, who reached base in all six of his plate appearances Saturday.
Limestone attempted a rally in the bottom of the ninth as Matt Reel led off with a single and Wise drew a walk. Paul Pesca hit a one-out RBI double to draw the Saints within 14-9. But Daniel Wood took over on the mound for Mount Olive and ended the game on a pair of ground outs.
Mount Olive finished with 19 hits as Nordan and Williams collected three hits apiece. Carter, Harrison and Martin each had two hits for the Trojans. Pesca, Reel and Joey Asis had three hits apiece for Limestone.
Lancaster earned his third consecutive win as Mount Olive starters improved to 15-0 with three no decisions in the Trojans' last 18 games.
"We've been getting some good pitching as of late and the bats really came alive today," said Trojan head coach Carl Lancaster.
Limestone starter Evan Denton (2-2) took the loss.
Mount Olive opens CVAC Tournament play Friday against No. 6 seed Pfeiffer. Game time is 1 p.m. at Wilson. Mount Olive and Pfeiffer are in the half of the bracket with No. 2 seed Erskine and No. 7 seed Anderson. Barton College is hosting the tournament.
For the first time, the tournament champion earns an automatic berth in the South Atlantic Regional of the 2006 NCAA Division II Baseball Championship.
"We've had a lot of injuries this season, especially on the mound," said Carl Lancaster. "We were kind of down earlier in the season, but the kids are starting to believe. Hopefully, we can keep the momentum going in the tournament."
Limestone 6, MOC 5
MOC 2, Limestone 1
Justin Staatz notched his third consecutive complete game victory as Mount Olive withstood a seventh-inning rally for a 2-1 victory over Limestone in game two of a Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference baseball doubleheader Friday at Gaffney, S.C.
Mount Olive had its 12-game winning streak snapped in the first game as Taylor Cook's two-run single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth capped a four-run rally to lift Limestone to a 6-5 win over the Trojans.
Mount Olive escaped a jam in the bottom of the first inning of game two after Limestone loaded the bases with one out. The Trojans got out of the inning on an unusual 1-2-3 double play as a pitch hit off the end of Joey Asis' bat and rolled to the mound. Staatz threw the lead runner out at the plate and catcher Dustin Richardson doubled up Asis at first.
The Trojans escaped another threat in the bottom of the fourth after back-to-back doubles with nobody out put runners on second and third with nobody out and Staatz threw a wild pitch. But the ball bounced right back to Richardson, who threw to Staatz to get the runner out at the plate.
The game remained scoreless until the top of the fourth when Graham Wooten singled with one out and keeping the Trojans out of a double play when he was safe at second on a hit-and-run attempt. Jon Skelly, who reached base on all three plate appearances, singled to right to drive in Wooten with the game's first run.
The Trojans added a run in the top of the fifth when David Cooper hit his 10th triple of the season and scored on Lance Martin's sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 2-0.
Staatz (7-4) struck out five and held Limestone scoreless through six innings, despite allowing a baserunner in every inning. Limestone got the leadoff batter on base in five of the seven innings.
Limestone nearly put together another last-inning rally as Daniel Lydon drew a leadoff walk and Donald Wynn followed with a pinch-hit single. Martin's two-strike sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third and Lydon scored on a sacrifice fly. But Staatz sealed the win with a ground out to Cooper at short.
Limestone starter Ryan Maxa (2-2) allowed two runs on seven hits in six innings pitched, striking out eight and walking two.
In the first game, Mount Olive rallied from an early deficit in the top of the second as Josh Harrison's leadoff double and a pair of walks loaded the bases and Lance Martin's two-out two-run single tied the game 2-2.
Limestone opened the game with three consecutive base hits as RBI singles by Matt Reel and Paul Pesca staked the Saints to a 2-0 first-inning lead.
Trojan starter Phillip Pennington allowed 10 hits in seven innings pitched, but held Limestone scoreless after the first inning. Pennington struck out and walked one.
The Trojans took their first lead of the game in the top of the seventh inning when Jesse Lancaster's double to center plated Kyle Curtis. Cooper was hit by a pitch and one out later, Stephen Nordan hit a two-run single to give Mount Olive a 5-2 lead.
Limestone loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the seventh on an error, a walk and a single, but Pennington got out of the inning on a line out to Wooten in right. The Saints loaded the bases against Trojan reliever Patrick Ball, but closer Donald Huff entered the game and got out of the inning on a 4-6-3 double play.
Limestone pulled within 5-4 in the bottom of the ninth on B.J. Bowling's RBI double and Rob Bouknight's sacrifice fly. Leadoff batter Ian Martin overcame an 0-2 count to draw a walk and load the bases, and Cook drove the first pitch from Huff (5-2) into left-center field for the game-winner.
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