04/20/07 — CVAC baseball tournament: Top-seeded MOC pounds Limestone 16-0

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CVAC baseball tournament: Top-seeded MOC pounds Limestone 16-0

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 20, 2007 3:17 PM

WILSON -- "Relax and just look to drive the baseball."

Dustin Richardson silently chanted that mantra every time he stepped into the batter's box Thursday afternoon. And the Mount Olive College outfielder turned in a memorable offensive outing on day one of the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference tournament.

Richardson singled, doubled twice and slugged a two-run home run in the Trojans' 16-0 thrashing of Limestone on the Fleming Stadium diamond. Top-seeded Mount Olive (41-11 overall) opposes Erskine (S.C.) in a second-round game today at 1 p.m.

Eighth-seeded Limestone (20-30) faced in-state rival Anderson (S.C.) University in an elimination game at 10 this morning.

Richardson belted his 14th homer of the season in the second inning and drove in five runs on the day. He now has 56 RBI, the third-highest output behind teammates Erik Lovett and Scott Houin.

"I had a clear mind and stayed with my approach (in the box), which is what Coach (Rob) Watt has been working with me on," said Richardson. "He told me to stay nice and relaxed, and just look to drive the baseball and good things will happen."

Watt's philosophy proved true for the entire Trojan team. Six of nine starters combined for 11 extra-base hits, including two-run homers from Stephen Nordan and Houin.

Overall, eight of nine MOC players contributed at least one hit during the rematch of last year's CVAC tournament final -- also decisively won by Mount Olive. The Trojans claimed their sixth straight triumph over the Saints and 12th overall in the last 23 meetings since 2002.

"We came out today and played like we used to play," said Mount Olive head coach Carl Lancaster. "We came out with a little fire in our eye and put the game away early."

The No. 15-ranked Trojans tagged Limestone starter Chris Zimmerman (3-7) for six runs in the first two innings. Saints relievers Jeremy Riggs and Evan Denton didn't fare much better against the CVAC's top-hitting team.

Houin's round-tripper spearheaded a five-run, fourth-inning uprising against Riggs. Anthony Williams' lead-off triple and Nordan's two-run blast highlighted a five-run, fifth inning against Denton.

Richardson was pleased that Mount Olive didn't relax after building an early six-run advantage.

"That's one major thing we've talked about," said Richardson. "If we get ahead early, stay ahead. Don't waste any at-bats and don't take off any innings or any pitches.

"Today, we played really well as a team and got a good result."

The offensive onslaught nearly overshadowed a sterling pitching performance from Judson Smith. The right-hander threw 17 first-pitch strikes to 25 batters and scattered five hits in seven innings work.

Smith retired 13 of the final 15 batters he faced.

"I just focused on getting ahead early and often," said Smith, who improved to 7-2 on the mound. "When you do that, it makes it a lot easier to finish guys off and throw your strikeout pitch.

"If our offense came to play, I knew it was going to be a pretty easy day if they put up the runs they needed to. They got it done and made my job a lot easier."

Paul Buhrow and Phillip Pennington combined for two innings of scoreless relief. Neither hurler allowed a base runner as the Trojans, according to available records, posted their first-ever CVAC tournament shutout in program history.

In other first-round games contested Thursday, seventh-seeded Coker upset league runner-up Belmont Abbey 7-5; Pfeiffer fended off Barton 6-4 and Erskine defeated Anderson 10-3.

A combined six contests are on tap today on the Fleming Stadium and Nixon Field diamonds. Play continues Saturday and concludes Sunday with the winner earning an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II South Atlantic Regional.

Limestone 000 000 000 -- 0 5 1

Mount Olive 330 550 00x -- 16 17 0

Leading hitters -- Limestone -- Adam McSwain 2-3; Kyle Brewer 2-3. Mount Olive -- David Cooper 2-6, RBI; Stephen Nordan 2-4, 2B, HR, 2 RBI; Dustin Richardson 4-5, 2 2Bs, HR, 5 RBI; Erik Lovett 3-5, 2 2Bs, 3 RBI; Scott Houin 1-3, HR, 2 RBI; Anthony Williams 3-4, 2 3Bs, RBI.

DP -- Limestone 1, MOC 1. LOB -- Limestone 4, MOC 8. SB -- Richardson.



Zimmerman (L) 11/3 7 6 6 1 0

Riggs 2 4 5 3 1 0

Denton 12/3 6 5 5 2 1

Matheney 3 0 0 0 3 2

Mount Olive

Smith (W) 7 5 0 0 0 1

Buhrow 1 0 0 0 0 1

Pennington 1 0 0 0 0 0

PB -- Brewer.