02/17/08 — MOC baseball wins pair

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MOC baseball wins pair

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on February 17, 2008 2:13 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Regardless of size, deficits simply don't seem to faze Mount Olive.

The Trojans (10-1 overall) rallied in both contests to sweep a doubleheader from Shippensburg (Pa.) University on Saturday afternoon at Scarborough Field.

Mount Olive pounded out 10 hits and picked up a 9-3 win in the opener, and benefited from a game-ending balk to take the nightcap, 3-2.

Originally scheduled for seven innings, game two ended in the bottom of the ninth when Shippensburg reliever Jason Kelly was called for a balk with David Cooper at the plate and Dylan Holton on third. Holton trotted home to complete the comeback win.

"That was a well-played game on both sides," Mount Olive head coach Carl Lancaster said. "I can't imagine the umpire making that call if it wasn't a balk, but it's hard to make that call. This team does not panic. I've never had a team that doesn't panic when they get down."

The Raiders (0-2) threatened in the top of the ninth with the bases loaded and no outs. However, Trojans reliever Paul Novicki induced a double play and an inning-ending groundout to wiggle out of trouble.

Justin Garber put Shippensburg on top 1-0 taking the first pitch from Mount Olive starter Weston Curles to deep right-center field for a solo homer in the top of the first. Kevin Scholly added an RBI single later in the inning.

Raiders starter Matt Wright kept the Trojans off balance most of the ballgame, and didn't surrender a hit until Rich Racobaldo's solo homer in the fourth cut the lead in half at 2-1. Alex Vertcnik's sacrifice fly tied the game at 2-2 in the fifth. Wright lasted five innings and allowed just two runs on two hits while striking out six.

"We beat a good arm today," Lancaster said of Wright. "Racobaldo got the ball up and hit the ball out of the ballpark and we scratched around and got the other run in. I don't know how we got our runs when three hits was all we had. You've got to give (Wright) credit."

Curles went six innings, surrendering two runs on four hits to go with four strikeouts and a pair of walks.

"You've got to give Curles a lot of credit because in the first inning they roughed him up a little bit," Lancaster said. "After that he settled in and did a great job. After that they didn't score again. He really made some great pitches and got out of some jams."

Shippensburg took an early 1-0 lead in game one on Tyler Reddick's run-scoring groundout in the top of the first. The Raiders added two more runs in the third stretching the lead to 3-0.

Mount Olive answered with a pair of runs in the home half of the third and two more in the bottom of the fourth. The Trojans used a four-run, fifth inning to break open a two-run ballgame. Racobaldo's two-RBI double to center drove home Vertcnik and Erik Lovett. Josh Harrison followed with an RBI single and Anthony Williams later added a sac fly.

Mount Olive starter Ryan Schlecht worked six innings, allowing three unearned runs on three hits, while striking out four and walking one. Craig Beasley pitched three innings of no-hit relief.

Vertcnik ended the day with a pair of hits and three RBI. Racobaldo added three hits, three runs and three RBI.

Mount Olive has now won eight straight games.

The teams play a doubleheader today.