03/16/08 — No. 1-ranked Trojans throttle Barton

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No. 1-ranked Trojans throttle Barton

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on March 16, 2008 2:04 AM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Coming off a loss for only the second time this season, Mount Olive took out its frustration on archrival Barton on Saturday afternoon.

The No. 1-ranked Trojans claimed the Conference Carolinas doubleheader 16-1 and 10-1, giving them 14 consecutive series wins against league opposition. The teams conclude the series today at 1 p.m.

Mount Olive's defense took charge in the opener.

Middle infielders David Cooper and Anthony Williams turned four double plays. Williams made multiple spectacular turns, including a mid-air, turn-and-throw conversion to first baseman Erik Lovett.

"Some guys see a man on first and they get mad or upset," said Williams. "I think Cooper and I get excited about having an opportunity to make a play."

The Trojans established a 9-0 lead through the first four innings. Dylan Holton's third-inning, solo home run highlighted the early offensive surge.

"In the middle of the week we played a very good Bryant team, and we didn't think that we played up to our potential," Mount Olive head coach Carl Lancaster said. "The lineup we had out there today was probably our best. When Jesse Lancaster pitches it changes our batting order, which is tough, but today we were good top to bottom."

Holding a double-digit lead, Lancaster made time for some reserve players as the first game progressed. Sixteen different Trojans got on the field in the opening game.

Lovett provided his seventh home run of the season in the fifth inning, a towering blast over the right field foul pole.

Casey Hodges improved to 4-0 on the mound, pitching eight innings and scattering six hits. Thomas Newsome finished the game, tossing one scoreless inning.

In the nightcap, Mount Olive (27-2 overall, 11-0 CC) again raced to a 4-0 lead during its first at-bat. Cooper and Alex Vertcnik, were both hit by pitches, setting the table for Jason Sherrer and the tone for the rest of the game.

"We have a mix of guys that do different things well," said Lancaster. "We hit the long ball in the first game, and in the second game, we had guys setting the table and letting the middle of the order drive them in."

Ryan Schlect improved to 6-0 for Mount Olive, pitching a complete game. The junior retired 10 of the first 11 batters in the Barton lineup.

"Our pitching was outstanding today in both games," Lancaster said. "I thought our guys did a good job all the way around, in the field and on the rubber."

As game two wore on, things began to get personal between the conference rivals. After hitting three MOC batters in the first game, Barton pitchers continued to miss inside throughout game two, drilling four Trojans in five innings.

When the red-hot hitting Williams strolled to the batter's box, things almost reached a boiling point. A Justin Bye fastball sailed behind Williams' back, drawing the ire of the Mount Olive dugout. The next pitch, a changeup, left its mark in Williams' ribs.

Both teams jumped off their benches, but cooler heads prevailed as the umpire discussed Bye's ejection with Barton coach Todd Wilkinson.

In the top of the seventh, animosity again arose when Schlect grazed Bulldog leadoff batter Jonathan Nichols. Again, words would be exchanged, but an altercation was avoided.

"Two years ago we had some problems when Barton came here, and then today again, I don't know exactly why those things happen," Lancaster said. "We certainly weren't trying to hit their guy in the last inning, especially not a lead-off man."

Williams also downplayed the late gamesmanship.

"I was just wondering why they hit me, I wasn't going to do much damage with nobody on base," he said. "I knew the rest of the guys would be fired up because we are a pretty tight team, but it wasn't a big deal."