05/11/07 — Mount Olive puts in bid to host tournament

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Mount Olive puts in bid to host tournament

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 11, 2007 1:49 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Wait and see.

That's the approach the Mount Olive College athletics staff is taking this weekend as they await the completion of the Peach Belt Conference baseball tournament. The Trojans, ranked No. 1 in the final South Atlantic Region poll, put in a bid to host the six-team regional next week.

But the NCAA selection committee is also watching the season-ending PBC event. Should regular-season champion Georgia College and State University stage an impressive showing, it could be enough to sway the committee to give the Jaguars homefield advantage for the regional.

"If they don't win, I can't imagine us not hosting," said MOC head baseball coach Carl Lancaster. "If they win, we still have more in-region wins and less losses (than GCSU). Although, with the image of the Peach Belt, I'm not quite sure how the committee will address that.

"There has been some interest from PBC schools that they'd like to see it on a neutral site."

MOC athletics director Jeff Eisen said the school submitted a formal bid on May 1. The paperwork entails three different forms. The school must compile a contact list for tournament purposes, a facility evaluation form and a proposed budget.

Eisen and Lancaster also discussed the possibility of playing at historic Grainger Stadium in Kinston if Scarborough Field and its facilities are not efficient.

"Mount Olive was our first proposal and then we submitted an alternate proposal for Grainger Stadium in case the NCAA committee felt that our campus site was not going to meet their needs," said Eisen. "We elected to do that as an insurance policy.

"We'll be watching that Peach Belt tournament. I like our position and I'm hopeful that it will work out. I like our opportunity."

Eisen said preparing for the regional is comparable to last winter and this past fall when Mount Olive hosted the Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference men's and women's basketball, and men's and women's soccer tournaments.

"I thought we provided a good experience for student-athletes, coaches and fans who participated," said Eisen. "I'm confident that if we host the baseball regional, we'll do an outstanding job as well. We've never been through this process before and it's new to us.

"We wanted to make sure we covered all our bases. We think Scarborough is a fine facility and would do justice to the tournament."

Mount Olive (46-11 overall) qualified by winning the CVAC tournament championship -- its second straight and seventh overall in the league's 12-year history. The Trojans have won 28 of their last 31 games and are currently ranked No. 10 in the latest Collegiate Baseball top 30 poll.

Lancaster is taking his seventh team to the South Atlantic Regional and has an all-time record of 3-10.

"(Hosting) would be tremendous for us, not only giving us an opportunity to win, but recruiting wise as well," said Lancaster. "We've got some good players we're talking to right now and getting the regional would certainly be a (big) influence.

"I don't know anywhere else I'd rather play."