03/07/07 — Lovett's two-RBI single spearheads late MOC rally

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Lovett's two-RBI single spearheads late MOC rally

By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on March 7, 2007 2:42 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Erik Lovett's two-run single broke a 5-5 tie and highlighted a five-run eighth inning as nationally 22nd-ranked Mount Olive rallied for a 9-5 victory over No. 27 Francis Marion in non-conference baseball actioni Tuesday at Scarborough Field.

The win was the Trojans' 12th in their last 13 games.

Trailing 5-4 heading into the bottom of the eighth, Mount Olive (17-6) started the rally when David Cooper was hit by a pitch with one out. Cooper, who went 3-for-4 and was twice hit by a pitch, reached base in each of his first five plate appearances. After Stephen Nordan was hit by a pitch, Scott Houin doubled to deep right to drive in Cooper and give the Trojans runners on second and third.

With a drawn-in infield, Lovett worked the count full and hit a high chopper through the right side to bring home Nordan and Houin with the go-ahead runs. The Trojans went on to load the bases and add two more runs on a single by Josh Carter and a walk to Anthony Williams, who batted twice in the inning as Mount Olive sent 11 batters to the plate.

Patrick Ball closed out the win in the top of the ninth, winning a foot race to the bag on a ground ball to Lovett at first for the final out. Todd Jeffreys (3-1) pitched the eighth inning and picked up the win.

Francis Marion (12-7) took advantage of two Trojan errors to plate three unearned runs in the top of the second. Derek Kennamer capped the inning with an RBI-single to left.

Mount Olive got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second as Carter singled with one out and Williams drew a two-out walk. Carter scored on Cooper's single through the left side and Williams scored on Nordan's line single to center to pull the Trojans within 3-2. Carter reached base on all five of his plate appearances, going 3-for-3 with two walks.

Francis Marion added a run in the top of the third as Michael Ward led off with a double to right and scored on consecutive ground outs to give the Patriots a 4-2 lead.

Houin's two-out RBI single in the bottom of the fourth pulled the Trojans back within a run and Josh Harrison scored on a fielder's choice in the fifth as Mount Olive tied the game 4-4. Houin was 2-for-3 for Mount Olive.

Francis Marion regained the lead in the top of the second when Nick Stewart reached on a fielder's choice and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Jeffreys recorded a strikeout for the second out, but Greg Phelps lined a single to left field to put the Patriots back on top, setting the stage for the Trojans' comeback in the bottom half of the inning.

Mount Olive starter Casey Hodges left after six innings and a 4-4 tie. Hodges struck out four and only one of the runs was earned. Paul Buhrow retired the side in order in the seventh. Brooks Sinquefield (1-3), the fifth of six Francis Marion pitchers, took the loss. The two teams used a combined 10 pitchers in the three-plus hour game.

Tuesday's contest was the second meeting this season between the two teams. The Trojans defeated Francis Marion 4-2 at the Gerald B. Griffin Baseball Classic in February when the Patriots were ranked No. 7 in the Collegiate Baseball Top 30. Both teams competed in last year's NCAA II South Atlantic Regional, with Francis Marion winning the title and advancing to the national finals.

MOC and Francis Marion play again today at Scarborough Field. Game time is 3 p.m.

-- MOC sports information