04/15/11 — Knox homers twice, Trojans advance

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Knox homers twice, Trojans advance

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on April 15, 2011 1:47 PM

WILSON -- At least for one night, Mount Olive's troubles offensively were nowhere to be found.

The Trojans belted three home runs and got eight innings from starting pitcher Pete Levitt in a 10-4 win over Barton in opening-round play of the Conference Carolinas tournament on Thursday night at Fleming Stadium.

Top-seeded Mount Olive (31-6 overall) faces Belmont Abbey at 3 p.m. today. The Crusaders lost 6-4 to Pfeiffer earlier in the day on Thursday. Belmont Abbey took two out of three games from Mount Olive earlier this season in Belmont.

"I think our guys will be ready for Belmont Abbey," said Trojans' head coach Carl Lancaster. "When they beat us up there they celebrated after game one, to the point they got warned for excessive celebration. You don't forget stuff like that."

Michael Knox's solo home run to left field in the home half of the second inning gave Mount Olive a 1-0 lead. Barton's Phillip Williams grounded into a fielder's choice that scored a run to tie the game at 1-1 in the top of the third inning.

Chris Rawlings' two-out RBI single in the top of the fourth inning put the Bulldogs in front 2-1. Mitchell Wheeler later scored on a wild pitch.

Knox's two-out RBI double in the bottom of the fourth inning cut the margin to 3-2. Knox later scored on an error to tie the score at 3-3. Daniel Coffey's RBI single gave the Trojans a 4-3 advantage.

Knox's towering two-run homer to left field, his 17th of the season, in the bottom of the sixth inning pushed the lead to 6-3. Joseph Westbrook followed with a solo home run. Ryan Faison's RBI single scored Antonio Callaway to increase the margin to 8-3.

Westbrook tacked on an RBI single in the bottom of the seventh inning. Coffey's RBI single pushed the lead to 10-3.

Mount Olive finished with 10 hits as six different Trojans got in the hit column. Knox contributed three hits with four RBI and four runs scored. Faison and Westbrook each had two hits.

"Knox had a huge night tonight," said Lancaster. "Maybe we got our confidence back tonight. It's good to see our offense come back around and score some runs for us. That was a big win for us because we haven't done a lot the last two weeks."

Levitt (6-2) continued to get stronger as the game wore on. The junior right-hander surrendered three earned runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and two walks on 128 pitches. Levitt didn't allow a run or a hit after the fourth inning.

Kris Barone pitched the ninth inning in relief.

"After the fourth inning, Pete said, 'The heck with it,' and he stopped spotting the baseball," said Lancaster. "He started throwing the ball as hard as he could and he was untouchable after the fourth inning. Pete's as good as he wants to be. When he just reached back and let it go and it had velocity on it they couldn't touch it."

Barton picked up a run on Rawling's RBI double in the top of the ninth.