By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on April 28, 2011 1:47 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Jeremy Hall and David Combs combined on a one-hit shutout in the opener, and Michael Knox ripped three two-run homers in the nightcap as No. 2-ranked Mount Olive College swept Chowan, 5-0 and 11-3, at Scarborough Field on Wednesday evening.
The teams played two seven-inning games.
Knox has 21 home runs for the year and matched the second-highest, single-season total in school history. The junior designated hitter is the first Trojan to ever produce back-to-back, 20-home run seasons.
A Cary native, Knox followed consecutive doubles by Ryan Faison and Jason Simone by ripping an 0-1 pitch from Chowan starter Anthony O'Brien (4-4) over the fence in left for his first homer of the game. The blast was part of a five-run first inning for the Trojans that also included an RBI single by Joseph Westbrook and an RBI fielder's choice by Antonio Callaway.
After Simone led off the second inning with a single up the middle, Knox delivered an opposite-field home run to right center. A double by Jacob Rogers and a single through the left side three batters later by Daniel Coffey produced a third run in the inning, giving Mount Olive an 8-0 advantage after just two innings.
Chowan cut the deficit to 8-2 in the top of the fourth when Justin Bagbey collected a two-run homer to left. The Trojans added a single run in the bottom half of the inning and then added two more runs in the fifth when Simone singled and Knox homered again to left.
It marked the fourth time in his career that Knox has had three home runs in a game. Prior to his arrival, there had been only three three-homer games in school history, each by a different player.
Kris Barone (2-0) earned the win for the Trojans, giving up three hits and two runs over four innings, striking out three.
In game one, Hall worked six strong innings, retiring 18 of the 20 batters he faced, including the last 12. The only hit he allowed came in the third inning, when William Ward singled back up the middle. Hall (4-0) struck out seven and did not walk a batter.
Combs worked a perfect seventh inning, striking out two.
Chowan starter Brett Garrett (8-5) kept pace with Hall for the first five innings, holding Mount Olive scoreless while scattering three hits. However, a Knox single, a Rogers double and a Dan Hayduk sacrifice fly broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth.
A two-out error by Chowan extended the inning, and the Trojans scored four more runs on three hits, the biggest a two-run single to left by Faison.
Rogers went 3-for-3 in the contest. Callaway added two of the Trojans' eight hits.
Mount Olive (37-6 overall) plays its final home games of the season this weekend against in-state rival Catawba, which is ranked No. 2 in the Division II Southeast Region poll. The three-game series includes a doubleheader Saturday that starts at 4 p.m. The teams will play a single game Sunday at 1 p.m.
Senior Day festivities will take place Saturday as nine Trojan seniors will be recognized prior to game one -- Combs, Faison, Hall, Hayduk, Curtis Hudson, Greg McDaniel, Simone, Tyler Smith and Westbrook. Smith and Westbrook are the last two remaining players from Mount Olive's College World Series championship team in 2008.
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