Big ninth lifts Mount Olive to win
By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on February 19, 2007 2:08 PM
BELMONT -- Patrick Ball led off the top of the ninth with a pinch-hit home run and Josh Harrison and Graham Wooten hit two-out home runs on consecutive pitches -- Harrison's a game-tying three-run shot and Wooten's the eventual game winner -- as nationally 27th-ranked Mount Olive scored six runs to rally from a five-run deficit for a 9-8 win over Belmont Abbey in Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference baseball Sunday.
Ball took the mound in relief in the bottom of the ninth and after allowing the first two batters on base, struck out the side to earn his second save of the season and give the Trojans two wins in the three-game series.
The home runs by Harrison and Wooten were the second of the game for both players.
Mount Olive (6-5 overall, 2-1 CVAC) fell behind early as Belmont Abbey struck for three runs in the bottom of the first, capped by Jordan Pegram's two-out RBI single. Belmont Abbey (7-4, 1-2) extended its lead to 5-0 in the third as an error on Seth Waller's single helped lead to two runs. The Crusaders took their biggest lead at 6-0 on Alex Castellano's leadoff home run in the bottom of the fifth.
Mount Olive got on the scoreboard in the top of the fifth as Erik Lovett drew a one-out walk on four pitches and Harrison homered to right field. Wooten then followed with a solo shot to center to cut the lead to 6-3 and give the Trojans back-to-back home runs for the first time this season. The Trojans would have to wait only three innings for their second back-to-back homers of the season.
Belmont Abbey, which received votes in the Collegiate Baseball Top 30 Poll for the second consecutive week, built the lead back to five as Nick Popp led off the inning with a home run and the Crusaders had a runner on second with nobody out. Todd Jeffreys took over on the mound for Mount Olive and after Belmont Abbey plated a run on a ground out and a single, Jeffreys retired the next two batters as the Trojans went into the top of the ninth trailing 8-3.
Ball pinch-hit for Anthony Williams -- who had two hits in the game -- in the No. 9 spot and sent a 2-1 pitch over the left field fence to pull Mount Olive within 8-4. Dustin Richardson doubled one out later, advanced to third on Stephen Nordan's single and scored on Scott Houin's ground out to close the gap to 8-5. Lovett drew a two-out walk on a full count, setting the stage for Harrison and Wooten.
With the count even at 1-1, Harrison drilled his second home run of the day over the right field fence, tying the game 8-8. Wooten then sent the first pitch he saw over the center field fence, giving the Trojans their first lead of the game.
Ball relieved Jeffreys to start the ninth and Belmont Abbey put runners on first and second with nobody out on a walk and a hit by pitch. Ball got the first out of the inning with a strikeout on three pitches, retired the next batter on a called strike three and closed out the game with a strikeout on a 2-2 pitch.
Jeffreys (1-0) earned his first win as a Trojan.
Harrison finished 3-for-5 with two home runs and five runs batted in, while Wooten was 2-for-4 for with two solo home runs. Richardson also contributed two hits to Mount Olive's 14-hit attack.
Reliever Anthony Hernandez took over for starter Ted Pelech in the first inning and pitched 42/3 innings. Casey Hodges pitched two innings before Jeffreys took over in the eighth inning.
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