MOC takes CVAC baseball tourney
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 25, 2006 2:12 PM
WILSON -- An at-large selection?
Not by a longshot.
Mount Olive College erased any postseason doubts with an impressive -- and phenomenal -- performance Monday afternoon against Limestone (S.C.) College on the historic Fleming Stadium diamond. The Trojans (39-12) cranked out a tournament-high 23 hits and crushed the Saints 16-1 in the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference baseball title contest.
"We just had a great team effort," said MOC head coach Carl Lancaster, who collected his third CVAC title in the last six years and sixth overall. "I'm the proudest of these guys more than any group I've ever been around.
"We felt like we had the best team coming in."
No one will argue with Lancaster now.
The third-seeded Trojans outscored their opponents 52-18 in four games and averaged 13 runs an outing -- nearly doubling their season average of 7.8. They batted a crisp .423 as a team and five different players each belted at least one home run.
Seven batters accounted for 21 extra-base hits and nine of 11 starters -- in four games combined -- combined for 49 RBIs.
"The thing that's happening is we've got speed at places and if those guys stay on base, (opposing pitchers) know they've got to throw a fast ball or we're going to steal," said Lancaster. "We just got good pitches to hit and we have for quite awhile."
Limestone left-hander Josh Cochran held Mount Olive scoreless the first two innings, but yielded seven runs over the next three. Lance Martin, Stephen Nordan and Josh Carter each provided an RBI single in the third.
Kyle Curtis and Anthony Williams each delivered a two-strike, two-RBI single in the fifth.
"We had some huge hits," said Lancaster. "(Curtis, Williams) were our eight and nine hitters, who just stayed in there and battled. A lot of balls had eyes for us. It just must have been our day."
Mount Olive, winners in 18 of its last 19 contests, tallied a combined nine runs in the final three innings. The 23-hit output was the most since a 28-hit effort in a 21-5 victory at Elizabeth City State on March 2.
Stephen Nordan, who received tournament Most Valuable Player accolades, batted 4-for-6 with a home run and two RBIs. It was Nordan's third homer of the tournament and sixth overall. Curtis, David Cooper, Lance Martin, Dustin Richardson and Graham Wooten each contributed three hits. Williams finished with two hits.
Limestone (22-30) used five different pitchers, but didn't call CVAC pitcher of the year Kevin Pucetas from the bullpen. An all-tournament pick, Pucetas threw 158 pitches in his only appearance -- a 9-5 victory over regular-season champion Barton.
Meanwhile, Trojan right-hander Daniel Wood scattered five hits in a five-inning stint and earned his fifth victory on the mound against one defeat. Justin Staatz gave up one hit in three innings. Donald Huff, the team's closer, retired the side in order in the ninth.
When Saints pinch-hitter Josh Izokovic flied out to Martin in left field, Huff threw down his glove and removed his bright yellow jersey. He waved it in the air as his teammates mobbed him on the mound.
"When the guys came out today, I didn't know how they were going to be," admitted Lancaster, who owns a 9-2 record in CVAC tournament play over the past three seasons. "They were all solemn before the game ... not a lot going on and I didn't know how to read that. But I think I do now.
"They were ready to play."
And burst that playoff bubble on their own.
2006 NCAA Division II
(at Fleming Stadium, Wilson)
MOC 031 040 441 -- 16 23 1
Limestone 000 010 000 -- 1 6 4
Leading hitters -- Mount Olive College -- David Cooper 3-6, 2 RBIs; Lance Martin 3-5, 2B, 2 RBIs; Stephen Nordan 4-6, 2 RBIs; Dustin Richardson 3-6; Graham Wooten 3-4; Kyle Curtis 3-5, 2B, 4 RBIs. Limestone -- Reel 1-2, RBI.
DP -- MOC 1, Limestone 4. LOB -- MOC 9, Limestone 9. HR -- Nordan (6). SB -- Martin (23). CS -- Williams.
IP H R ER BB SO
Wood (W, 5-1) 5 5 1 1 1 1
Staatz 3 1 0 0 2 2
Huff 1 0 0 0 0 0
Cochran (L, 3-2) 3 5 3 3 0 1
Maxa 2 6 4 4 1 1
Gold 21/3 10 8 6 0 1
Phillips 12/3 2 1 1 1 0
WP --Staatz. HBP --Wooten (by Cochran), Williams (by Cochran), Wooten (by Phillips), Reel (by Wood).
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