02/02/09 — MOC splits pair at Armsrtong Atlantic

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MOC splits pair at Armsrtong Atlantic

By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on February 2, 2009 1:46 PM

MOC Sports Information

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- Dylan Holton swatted a tie-breaking, grand-slam home run in the top of the ninth inning as No. 1-ranked Mount Olive defeated Armstrong Atlantic State 6-2 in the opening game of their doubleheader on Sunday afternoon.

Brent Haynes tossed seven innings of scoreless relief for the Trojans, who won a season-opening game for the fourth consecutive season and eighth time overall in the last nine years.

AASU claimed the nightcap 8-1.

In game one, the Pirates (1-1) broke a scoreless tie with two runs in the bottom of the second. After a leadoff walk, Alex Wyche hit a one-out double and Carlos Cardoza-Oquendo singled home both runners off of Trojan starter Kyle Jones.

Mount Olive (1-1 overall) rallied for a third-inning tie. Tyler Smith led off with a single down the right field line and Montoya Young singled to left one out later. Kyle Hinrichs followed with an RBI triple to center to tie the game.

Haynes (1-0) took over to start the bottom of the third and survived a lead-off infield throwing error to get out of a jam. Kenny Cail singled and a sacrifice advanced the runners to second and third with one out. Haynes induced a ground ball to first and Will Rodriguez threw the runner out at the plate. Haynes got a fly out to right to end the inning.

Haynes retired the side in order in each of the next four innings and set down 15 batters in a row before giving up a one-out single in the eighth. He retired the next two batters on a strikeout and an infield pop-out.

The Trojans hit into three double plays and left two runners stranded in the eighth, but loaded the bases with nobody out in the top of the ninth. Rich Racobaldo drew a lead-off walk, Will Rodriguez singled and everyone was safe on Jesse Lancaster's bunt.

Holton cleared the bases with a drive over the right field fence for his second collegiate home run and first-ever career grand slam.

Haynes gave up a one-out walk in the bottom of the ninth, but ended the game on a line out to third and a strikeout. Haynes struck out four in his first appearance as a Trojan.

Alex Vertcnik entered the 2009 season on a 26-game hitting streak, but went 0-for-3 with a walk in the opener to end the streak.

In the nightcap, Armstrong Atlantic State scored two unearned runs in the bottom of the first against Trojan starter Patrick Ball (0-1). Ball went four innings Sunday and did not allow any more runs after the first inning.

AASU added a run in the fifth and Juan Dorado's two-run triple highlighted the Pirates' sixth-inning outburst. AASU starting pitcher Thomas Gray (1-0) recorded 10 strikeouts in seven innings.

Mount Olive was one out away from having its streak of 66 consecutive games without being shut out come to an end, but Kevin Kearney hit a two-out triple in the top of the ninth and scored on Young's single.

The teams conclude their three-game series today at 2 p.m.