Trojans take two of three from Fleet
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on March 8, 2009 9:55 AM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Ryan Kussmaul pitched a complete game shutout as Mount Olive earned a split of their Conference Carolinas double header against Erskine on Saturday at Scarborough field. The Trojans claimed game two of the twin bill 3-0 and won an important series over the nationally ranked Flying Fleet.
Kussmaul struck out four Fleet batters and only allowed five hits over the seven inning span.
"I thought Ryan did a fantastic job tonight," MOC head coach Carl Lancaster said. "Erskine is hitting .400 as a team and he shut the door on them."
The Trojans were robbed of an opportunity to grab an early lead when Erskine center fielder Keith Hill reached over the fence and snared a potential two-run home run off the bat of Kyle Hinrichs.
Mount Olive gained its first advantage in the fourth frame.
Jesse Lancaster led off the inning with a single and advanced to second when the ball was misplayed in the outfield. Two batters later Rich Racobaldo plated Lancaster with an RBI single.
The Trojans added an insurance run in the fifth inning when Andy Hilliard singled, stole second and was chased home on a Fleet error two batters later.
"I am really proud of how these guys battled back today," Lancaster said. "We have struggled a little bit early in the season, and these guys could have packed it in, but to their credit they came ready to play this weekend."
After Mount Olive plated its final run in the home half of the sixth inning Kussmaul buried the Fleet to lock up the win.
With a runner on first and one out, Kussmaul struck out Jon Bolding on a devastating off-speed pitch and followed by overpowering Tyler Layton.
"This team isn't the offensive team that we have become accustom to, but our pitching is coming along and we keep improving," Lancaster said. "To come home and beat a good hitting team, that will hopefully give our guys a little confidence."
In game one Erskine jumped on top early and held on for a 6-3 victory.
Bolding crushed a two-run home run in the top of the second to put the Fleet out in front. Greg Huff doubled and was chased home on Hill's single in the top of the third. Chas Anthony reached on an error and scored on a Kevin McElhaney sacrifice fly.
Pat Ball took the hard-luck loss after going seven innings and striking out four batters.
Saturday's split combined with a win in the series opener on Friday night improves the Trojans record to 13-10 overall (5-4 CC). Erskine falls to 16-6 overall (4-5 CC).
Mount Olive will be back in action on Monday when they continue an 11 game home stand against Post University.
The stretch at Scarborough Field is a welcome sight for Lancaster and his road weary ball club.
"It is nice to be playing some games back here," said Lancaster. "It seemed like we were on the road forever at the beginning of the year, and it makes a difference on the field."
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