04/11/07 — Trojans split at Catawba

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Trojans split at Catawba

By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on April 11, 2007 1:47 PM

SALISBURY -- Erik Lovett slugged a two-run home run in the sixth inning to break a 2-2 tie and spark nationally-ranked Mount Olive College to a 5-3, non-conference victory over in-state rival Catawba on Tuesday afternoon.

Catawba rallied for six seventh-inning runs and claimed the opener 9-8.

Lovett cranked his 15th homer of the season for No. 15-ranked Mount Olive, which improved to 38-11 overall. Tom Layne threw the final 2 2/3 innings in relief for the Trojans, who became the first Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference team to defeat Catawba this season. Catawba was 9-0 against the CVAC before the second-game loss of the doubleheader.

Mount Olive jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning of the nightcap as the first four Trojans reached base on two walks and two singles. Dustin Richardson singled home the first run and Stephen Nordan scored on a double-play ball.

Catawba (28-14) answered with two runs in the bottom of the first and the game remained tied until the sixth.

Richardson led off the sixth with a single and Lovett, who is tied for fourth in the nation in home runs, drove a 2-2 pitch over the center-field fence to put the Trojans on top 4-2.

Catawba pulled within a run in the bottom of the sixth, but Nordan doubled in a run for the Trojans in the top of the seventh.

Layne (7-1) entered the game with one out and two runners on in the bottom of the fifth, but got out of the inning with back-to-back strikeouts. After allowing a run in the sixth, Layne retired the side in order in the seventh. Layne was going on three days rest after pitching a nine-inning complete game victory Friday against Limestone.

In the opener, Mount Olive jumped out to an early 4-0 lead as Nordan's RBI double highlighted a three-run second inning.

After Catawba plated two runs in the bottom of the second, Scott Houin drove in a run in the fourth with a sacrifice fly and singled home a run in a two-run sixth inning. Josh Harrison added an RBI-double in the top of the seventh as the Trojans extended the lead to 8-3.

Catawba scored in the bottom of the sixth and the flood gates opened in the seventh as Mount Olive was unable to retire a batter. A two-run homer pulled the Indians within 8-5 and a bases-loaded, two-run double cut the lead to a run.

Catawba tied the game on an RBI single and another rbi-single brought home the game-winner.

Trojan starter Casey Hodges went 5 2/3 innings, allowing three runs and striking out four. Ted Pelech, Patrick Ball and Todd Jeffreys pitched in the seventh. Jeffreys (4-2) took the loss. Ball, who entered the game with a 0.00 earned run average in 20 innings pitched, allowed his first two earned runs of the season and only his second and third runs overall.

Mount Olive wraps up regular-season conference play this weekend with a three-game CVAC series against in-state foe Pfeiffer University. The teams play a doubleheader on Saturday at Scarborough Field with first pitch slated for 4 p.m.

The series concludes Sunday at 1 p.m.