03/26/08 — Trojans, Indians split doubleheader

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Trojans, Indians split doubleheader

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 26, 2008 2:42 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Taxes and death are two guarantees in life.

When Mount Olive and Catawba meet on the baseball diamond, you're also assured of another thing -- a split.

Jesse Lancaster's one-out, walk-off single lifted No. 1-ranked Mount Olive to a come-from-behind, 3-2 victory in 10 innings Tuesday afternoon at Scarborough Field. But the Indians prevailed 9-3 in the nightcap and snapped the Trojans' nine-game win streak.

"Win one apiece ... that's always the case with us," said MOC head coach Carl Lancaster. "We split every year, no matter whose place it is and who is pitching."

Mount Olive (34-3 overall) leads the series 8-6 since 2002 with five of those wins coming at home. The Trojans improved to 7-2 against South Atlantic Conference teams this season.

However the 1-1 split didn't please Lancaster.

The Trojans labored through the first game against Catawba starter Blake Ketner and reliever Tim Smith. The duo permitted just three hits in six innings combined and conceded a first-inning run on Jesse Lancaster's groundout.

Mount Olive had three base runners in the sixth, but came up empty when Smith posted an inning-ending strikeout against Erik Lovett. But Smith couldn't duplicate his effort in the seventh.

Jason Sherrer mashed his team-leading 10th homer of the season to create a 2-2 deadlock. Rich Racobaldo, who was named the Conference Carolinas player of the week, followed with a one-out single. Smith induced back-to-back groundouts to force extra innings.

Catawba (23-12) put runners aboard in the ninth and 10th innings, but failed to score. Lovett singled, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch in the Trojans' ninth. The senior first baseman didn't move from that spot as Indians right-hander Tim Holmes wiggled out of trouble.

In the 10th, Anthony Williams drew a lead-off walk and aggravated a quadriceps injury when he stole second. One out later, a gimpy Williams hustled home on Lancaster's game-winning, two-strike single to left field.

Lancaster finished the contest 2-for-4 with two RBI.

"The first game was a great game ... could have went either way," said coach Lancaster. "We just happened to get the big hit. I really felt like after winning the first game against their best arms, we'd come back in the second game and put up a bunch of runs."

The Indians provided the offense, instead.

Craige Lyerly delivered a two-out, two-RBI single in the first inning. After the Trojans tied the game at 3-3, Lyerly cranked a three-run, fourth-inning homer off losing pitcher Jesse Lancaster.

Catawba led 7-3.

"We got down 7-3 and I thought we'd come back ... make a run at it," said coach Lancaster.

The Trojans managed two base runners during the final four innings. Dylan Holton, who batted 3-for-3 with an RBI in game two, laced a lead-off single in the sixth. Indians reliever Brett Hatley, who started in the designated hitter spot, induced a double-play grounder.

The right-hander retired the final five batters he faced.

"It was just a bad baseball game all the way around," said Lancaster. "It was just one of those games you have occasionally. There's no sense fussing at the guys and worrying about it.

"We've got to come back tomorrow, go to work and get ready for the weekend."

Mount Olive resumes its Conference Carolinas schedule at home Saturday against Coker (S.C.) College. The doubleheader begins at 3 p.m.