Mount Olive two wins away from setting school record
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on April 27, 2008 2:04 AM
MOUNT OLIVE - What was billed as a battle between top ten teams in the Division II South Atlantic Region, quickly turned into a Trojan takeover.
Number one ranked Mount Olive scored in three consecutive innings and went on to beat Armstrong Atlantic State 4-0 on Saturday night at Scarborough Field.
The Trojans jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the second inning when a Rich Rocobaldo single was misplayed in the Pirate outfield. The error moved Erik Lovett to third base and allowed Rocobaldo to take second.
Two pitches later Armstrong Atlantic starter Cody Waldon balked home the game's first run.
Mount Olive went back to work at the plate in the third inning adding two insurance runs on four hits. David Cooper led off the stanza with a base hit and was promptly driven home by an Alex Vertcnik single. Two batters late Vertcnik was chased home by a Lovett single.
Armstrong Atlantic threatened for the first time in the sixth inning when Josh Wilson and Juan Dorado ripped back-to-back singles with only one out.
Trojan right hander Casey Hodges promptly ended the rally before it gained any momentum by inducing a third-to-first double play.
Hodges cruised the rest of the evening.
The right hander finished a complete game shutout, and allowed only four hits in the process. A performance that drew head coach Carl Lancaster's attention.
"Casey was Casey again tonight," Lancaster said. "He came out and knew when to go hard and when to save some for the later innings. He was throwing as hard in the ninth as he was in the first."
The nine innings of scoreless baseball extend Hodges current scoreless innings streak to 17.
Lancaster was quick to give credit to the pitchers on both sides.
"Armstrong Atlantic's kid did a nice job too," Lancaster said. "He isn't the kind of guy thats going to light up a radar gun, but he hit his spots and we were fortunate to hit some balls hard early and find some holes."
With the win Mount Olive improves to 48-5 on the season. The Trojans have strengthened their hold on the number one ranking with four shutout victories in the last four days. The Trojans have outscored opponents 36-0 over that span.
"To throw four straight shutouts is a real accomplishment, especially with the teams we have played this week," Lancaster said.
Mount Olive and Armstrong Atlantic State will take to the diamond at 1 p.m. today for a doubleheader.
If the Trojans takes both games Mount Olive will reach the 50 win plateau for the first time in the history of the program.
"Our guys all know that 50 is out their," Lancaster said. "That was one of our goals coming into the year because we have had 49 and we'd love to get that 50th win."
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