02/16/11 — Mount Olive routs N.C. Wesleyan

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Mount Olive routs N.C. Wesleyan

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on February 16, 2011 1:47 PM

MOC Sports Information

ROCKY MOUNT -- Preseason All-American candidate Michael Knox emerged the first-ever player in Mount Olive College baseball history to hit for the cycle in a 12-5, non-conference win over N.C. Wesleyan at Bauer Field on Tuesday afternoon.

The junior from Cary singled in the first inning, doubled in the third, homered in the fourth and tripled in the seventh. Knox spearheaded a 17-hit parade against the Battling Bishops, who fell to 3-4 on the season.

JUCO transfer Andrew Manning provided three hits. Nick Gaeta, Daniel Coffey and Dan Hayduk supplied two hits apiece. Coffey and Hayduk each delivered two RBI, and Gaeta scored three runs.

Trojan reliever David Combs, a Southern Wayne alum, held NCWC scoreless for 3-plus innings and improved to 2-0 on the hill. Combs permitted two hits, walked two and fanned five.

Mount Olive, ranked No. 14 in the latest Collegiate Baseball Division II top 30 poll, raced to an 8-0 lead after 3 1/2 innings. The Trojans survived a late Battling Bishops charge for their fifth win in seven tries this season.

Down 8-0, NCWC erupted for five fourth-inning runs against Mount Olive starter Nick Barone. The Battling Bishops collected five hits in the inning, including four in a row. Justin Rahm and Zach Alexander both had RBI doubles during that span.

Leading 8-5, Mount Olive pulled away again with a pair of runs in the sixth. Gaeta drew a one-out walk and Rogers delivered a two-out single, which set the stage for consecutive RBI singles by Coffey and Hayduk.

The Trojans capped their scoring -- and Knox completed his rare cycle -- in the seventh. After Murray drew a walk and scored on a two-out error off the bat of Gaeta, Knox collected the final piece of the cycle, a triple to center that scored Gaeta. The RBI was Knox's third of the day and 14th of the young season. He also raised his batting average to .436 after the four-hit game.

MOC opens the home portion of its season at home today against in-state foe Shaw University. First pitch is 2:30 p.m. at Scarborough Field.