05/30/08 — Mount Olive awaits opponent

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Mount Olive awaits opponent

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on May 30, 2008 1:57 PM

SAUGET, Ill. -- The Mount Olive College baseball team is making its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Division II College World Series championship contest.

But who will be in the opposing dugout?

Ouachita (Ark.) Baptist refused to go quietly and turned back No. 2-ranked Sonoma State (Calif.) 2-1 late Thursday evening. The victory set up a second game between the two schools today with the a title-game berth on the line.

Since losing to Mount Olive in a wild opening game of the World Series, Ouachita has won three straight contests behind the bracket's best pitching.

Steve Smith, who took a hard-luck no decision against the Trojans, came back to twirl 61/3 innings of one-run baseball against the Seawolves. In three appearances in Sauget, Smith has pitched 14 innings and allowed just three runs.

If the Tigers complete the upset, they'll have fulfilled head coach Scott Norwood's vision. Norwood confidently predicted his team would be around on the weekend after the two-day, weather-delayed fiasco against No. 1-ranked Mount Olive.

"Someone has to come out of the losers' bracket and I fully expect it to be us," said Norwood. "We have a long week ahead of us but I know we can do it."

Sonoma State has experienced a week of ups and downs.

In their first game, the Seawolves rolled past Shippensburg University 10-1. The Seawolves slipped passed Central Missouri in round two, winning in 19 innings by a 6-5 final.

The West Regional champions have been paced thus far in the CWS by second baseman David Adler and third baseman Travis Babin. Known for his glove, Adler has stepped up his offensive effort during the World Series notching six hits in 14 at-bats. Babin is five out of 14 at the plate with five runs batted in.

As far as Mount Olive is concerned the opponent makes little difference.

"We are already getting ready for the next game," said Trojan shortstop David Cooper. "The last game is over, and now it's time to look forward and prepare for the final."

Trojans coach Carl Lancaster will be in the stands today watching the Ouachita-Sonoma State clash.

"Of course I am going to watch the Ouachita and Sonoma State game," he said. "We have seen OBU already and we have a pretty good idea what they bring to the table, but we need to learn as much as we can about Sonoma."