Trojans earn sweep of Limestone
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on April 11, 2009 11:27 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Mount Olive made sure the cheering didn't stop when the Senior Day festivities concluded at Scarborough Field on Saturday.
The Trojans collected 19 hits and routed Conference Carolinas opponent Limestone 17-4 to complete a three-game series sweep. Every Mount Olive starter collected at least one hit on Saturday en route to a sixth consecutive win.
Seniors Pat Ball, Andy Hilliard, Paul Novicki, Ryan Kussmaul, Rich Racobaldo and Alex Vertcnik were honored before the ballgame.
Airlon Vinson's RBI single to center field gave the Trojans a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
Tim Welsh's RBI single in the top of the second tied the game at 1-1. Adam Vafides' RBI single to right field gave the Saints a 2-1 lead. Aldo Mendez's RBI single scored Adam Vafides and pushed the margin to 3-1.
Mount Olive (26-16, 12-6) answered with nine runs on seven hits in the home half of the second while sending 13 batters to the plate. Kevin Kearney began the rally with an RBI double to left field.
Tyler Smith's single to left field scored Kearney and tied the score at 3-3. Vertcnik lined a two-run double to left to give the Trojans a 5-3 advantage. Racobaldo followed with a two-run doubled and Vinson tacked on an RBI groundout.
Joseph Westbrook capped the outburst with a two-run double.
"We felt like today we were going to put some runs up we just didn't know how many we were going to have to score," Mount Olive head coach Carl Lancaster said. "The guys are comfortable now. I thought we had some very good at-bats laying off pitches out of the zone that we didn't do early. Overall, this club is coming together."
Jonathan Smith's RBI single in the bottom of the third scored Vertcnik and stretched the lead to 11-3.
Tyler Smith's RBI groundout and Dylan Holton's RBI single increased the Trojans lead to 13-3 in the bottom of the fourth. Vertcnik's single down the third base line scored Holton and extended the margin to 14-3.
Jesse Lancaster's home run to left field in the bottom of the fifth gave the Trojans a 15-3 lead. Tyler Smith tacked on an RBI double and Holton added a run-scoring sacrifice fly to bury Limestone in a 17-3 hole.
Joe Maloney's solo homer to left in the top of the sixth off of Kyle Jones pulled the Saints to within 17-4.
Craig Beasley earned the win on the mound in three scoreless innings of relief.
Jonathan Smith finished 4-for-5 at the plate and Vertcnik added three hits. Holton, Kearney, Westbrook and Tyler Smith each had two hits.
Mount Olive will begin defense of its back-to-back conference tournament titles when the Conference Carolinas tournament begins on Thursday at Fleming Stadium in Wilson.
"Nothing is ever going to beat a national championship," Lancaster said. "But, nothing could be more satisfying than to see a team that was really struggling and could have quit to go up there next week and win that tournament. That would be unbelievable."
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