Trojans salvage road series
By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on February 9, 2009 1:46 PM
HICKORY -- Airlon Vinson and Alex Vertcnik each slugged an eighth-inning home run as defending NCAA Division II national baseball champion Mount Olive hammered Lenoir-Rhyne 17-5 on Sunday afternoon.
The Trojans improved to 3-3 overall.
Leading 6-5 after seven innings, Jonathan Smith started the MOC eighth with a pinch-hit single and Montoya Young followed with an infield hit. Jesse Lancaster sacrificed the runners to third and Vertcnik grounded out.
Rich Racobaldo drew an intentional walk to load the bases as LRC opted to pitch to Hilliard, who had two hits in his previous four at-bats. Hilliard drilled a two-RBI single to right center to extend the Trojans' advantage to 8-5.
Defensive miscues buried LRC.
Dylan Holton walked to load the bases and Racobaldo scored on a passed ball. Hilliard and Holton both scored when Tyler Smith reached on a throwing error. Vinson, who red-shirted during Mount Olive's national championship season last year, hit his first home run as a Trojan to make the score 13-5.
After a pitching change, Jonathan Smith was hit by a pitch and stole second. Young drove home Smith with his second hit of the inning. Lancaster doubled and Vertcnik cleared the bases with his first homer of the season -- a three-run shot to center field.
Hilliard, Racobaldo (three RBI) and Vinson (three RBI) pounded out three hits apiece in the Trojans' 17-hit parade.
Ryan Kussmaul (2-0) yielded three runs on four hits and posted two strikeouts in a five-inning stint. Williams tossed the sixth and seventh innings, and left-handed closer Paul Novicki threw a scoreless eighth and ninth inning.
Mount Olive opens its home schedule Tuesday against in-state member Wingate University. The non-conference doubleheader begins at 2 p.m. on the Scarborough Field diamond.
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