Southeast Region foes MOC, Catawba split baseball twinbill
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on May 1, 2011 1:51 AM
MOUNT OLIVE -- If Mount Olive hopes to host the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional, it has some work to do.
The No. 2-ranked Trojans split a pivotal doubleheader with No. 11-ranked Catawba on Saturday afternoon at Scarborough Field. MOC claimed the opener, 9-1, and the Indians took the nightcap, 7-2.
The teams conclude their three-game series today. First pitch is 1 p.m.
The in-state rivals hold the top two spots in the latest Southeast Region poll with the Trojans ranked No. 1 and the Indians ranked No. 2. MOC is in contention to host the regional, scheduled for May 19-22.
"Tomorrow (today) is huge," said Trojans' head coach Carl Lancaster. "Tomorrow is real huge. I just told our guys we've got to have a short memory. Let's put it behind us and come out here tomorrow and win a series."
Ryan Faison scored on an Indians' error in the bottom of the first inning of game one to give Mount Olive a 1-0 lead. Joseph Westbrook's RBI single scored Jason Simone to increase the lead to 2-0.
Nick Gaeta scored on Simone's groundout in the bottom of the second inning to stretch the margin to 3-0. Daniel Coffey belted a two-run home run to left field in the Trojans' third to push the lead to 5-0.
Mike Knox's two-run home run to left field in the bottom of the fourth inning pushed the Trojans farther ahead at 7-0. It was Knox's 22nd homer of the season and the 46th of his career.
Simone and Gaeta both contributed three hits in the opener.
Catawba stranded a runner on third base in the first inning. Mount Olive starting pitcher Carter Capps got Julio Zubillaga to ground into an inning-ending double play with runners on first and second base in the top of the fifth inning.
Capps allowed one earned run on five hits with eight strikeouts and one walk in eight innings to improve to 21-0 in his collegiate career. Chris Hinton worked a scoreless ninth inning.
"Capps was Capps," said Lancaster. "I didn't think his velocity was like it normally is, but I thought he really threw some off-speed stuff that was pretty dern good."
Jacob Rogers and Dan Hayduk both trotted home on wild pitches in the bottom of the seventh inning as the lead swelled to 9-0.
Josh Hohn's RBI single in the top of the eighth cut the deficit to 9-1.
Catawba (40-12) grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the third inning of game two on Hohn's two-run double. Chris Dula followed with an RBI single to right field. Jordan Kuhn's two-run single gave the Indians a 5-0 lead and chased Trojans' starting pitcher Curtis Hudson from the ball game.
Dan Hayduk's RBI double in the bottom of the fourth inning scored Knox to pull the Trojans to within 5-1. The Indians tacked on a run on a Trojans' error in the top of the fifth inning. Brett Underwood's RBI single extended the lead to 7-1.
Knox grounded into a double play in the bottom of the sixth inning that scored Faison and trimmed the margin to 7-2. Mount Olive had the bases loaded but Catawba reliever Clay Watson got Coffey to ground into a fielder's choice to end the inning.
"We just had some very poor approaches from guys at the plate down in the order," said Lancaster. "That's baseball. We just didn't play well on either side of the baseball."
In his first start of the season, Indians' starter Nathan Furr allowed two earned runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and two walks in 5 2/3 innings to earn the win on the mound.
Tyler Smith led the Trojans (38-7) with three hits in game two.
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