02/12/07 — Lenoir-Rhyne ends MOC's run in Griffin Baseball Classic

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Lenoir-Rhyne ends MOC's run in Griffin Baseball Classic

By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on February 12, 2007 2:08 PM

FLORENCE, S.C. -- After posting back-to-back wins over national top 10 teams, Mount Olive closed out play in the Gerald Griffin Baseball Classic with an 11-8 loss Sunday at Florence, S.C.

Dustin Richardson homered for the third consecutive game to help stake the Trojans to a five-run lead, but Lenoir-Rhyne capped its comeback with five unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Mount Olive (3-4) opened play Friday with a 6-4 win over No. 5 Georgia College and State, then defeated No. 7 and tournament host Francis Marion 4-2 Saturday.

Erik Lovett staked the Trojans to an early 3-0 lead with a three-run homer in the top of the first, his second home run of the weekend. Graham Wooten's two-run double in the second extended Mount Olive's lead to 5-0 before Lenoir-Rhyne (6-2) got on the scoreboard with run in the bottom of the second.

Richardson, who went 4-for-5 on the day, led off the top of the third with a home run to give Mount Olive a 6-1 lead. Richardson's home runs in three straight games matches the feat most recently accomplished by Josh Carter last March, although Carter's home runs did not come on consecutive days.

Lenoir-Rhyne used a leadoff home run and three consecutive walks to rally for three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Stephen Nordan answered in the top of the fifth with a two-run single to give the Trojans an 8-4 advantage. But Lenoir-Rhyne reliever Justin Crowell (1-0) would hold the Trojans scoreless over the final four innings.

Lenoir-Rhyne cut the Trojans' lead to 8-6 in the fifth, then capitalized on a pair of Mount Olive errors in the bottom of the sixth, hitting three consecutive singles with two outs to take the lead for good.

Trojan shortstop David Cooper went 4-for-5, while Lovett and Wooten added two hits apiece to pace Mount Olive's 15-hit attack.

Starting pitcher Phillip Pennington went 31/3 innings, allowing three runs and five hits. Casey Hodges (0-1), the third of four Trojan relievers, took the loss.

Despite Sunday's setback, Mount Olive head coach Carl Lancaster was pleased with his team's performance over the weekend.

"It's tough to come home with a loss in the final game, but overall, we had a great weekend," said Lancaster. "We beat two outstanding teams in our region and I think we accomplished most of what we wanted to do this weekend."

Mount Olive returns to action Tuesday -- weather permitting -- as the Trojans travel to Rocky Mount to take on North Carolina Wesleyan in a non-conference match-up. Forecasts are calling for an 80 percent chance of showers. Game time is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

-- MOC sports information