Trojans fall to Armstrong Atlantic
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on March 25, 2010 1:46 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- There would be no comeback this time.
A day after rallying from seven runs down, Mount Olive fell short in a 15-12 loss to Southeast Region foe Armstrong Atlantic State at Scarborough Field on Wednesday afternoon.
The fourth-ranked Trojans endured their first defeat at home this season and third overall in their last five games.
Jeremy Nowak's RBI single and Joseph Westbrook's run-scoring groundout gave Mount Olive a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Nowak extended his school record hitting streak to 31 games.
The Pirates answered with six runs on four hits and a Trojans' error in the top of the second. Mount Olive starting pitcher Jared Mortensen didn't make it out of the second inning.
Trojans pitchers combined to allow 15 hits. Mount Olive allowed double-digit runs for the third time in the last five games.
"Our pitching staff, other than about four guys, I'm really disappointed in them," said Trojans head coach Carl Lancaster. "We can't field a base on balls or a hit batsman. We're going to be fine. It's just a matter of finding that other pitcher than can give us four or five innings."
Solo home runs from Topher Ellis and Jesse Lancaster pulled Mount Olive to within 6-4 in the home half of the second.
Armstrong Atlantic State tacked on four more runs in the top of the fourth including John Roberts' three-run homer to left field to take a 10-4 lead.
Bobby Leeper's RBI single and Nowak's bases-loaded walk cut the margin to 10-6 in the bottom of the fourth.
The Trojans (27-4) had the bases loaded with one out in the fourth and the nation's home run leader Mike Knox at the plate, but Pirates' reliever Ben Jackson struck out Knox. Jackson got Dan Hayduk to fly out to end the threat.
Michael Price raced home on a passed ball in the top of the fifth to extend Armstrong Atlantic's advantage to 11-6. Roberts' two-run homer to right field in the top of the sixth gave Armstrong Atlantic State a 13-6 lead. Price's RBI double stretched the advantage to 14-6.
Leeper's solo home run in the bottom of the sixth trimmed the deficit to 14-7. Topher Ellis' RBI single in the home half of the seventh cut the lead to 14-8. Leeper was later hit by a pitch, which scored Tyler Smith. Mount Olive loaded the bases with two outs but Pirates' reliever Brandon McCreery got Lancaster to ground out to end the inning.
Carlos Cardoza-Oquendo's sacrifice bunt in the top of the eighth scored Roberts and pushed the lead to 15-9. Roberts finished 5 for 5 with five RBI.
The Trojans manufactured three runs in the bottom of the eighth and had Knox as the potential tying run lurking on deck with two outs in the ninth. Armstrong Atlantic reliever Brandon McCreery struck out Nowak to end the game.
"McCreery had an excellent splitter," said Lancaster. "We just couldn't hit it."
Ellis and Leeper both collected three hits for Mount Olive.
The Trojans entertain defending Conference Carolinas champion Belmont Abbey in a three-game series this weekend. The two teams play a doubleheader at 4 p.m. on Saturday.
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