Trojans' Capps tosses three-hitter
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on May 20, 2011 1:47 PM
If this was Carter Capps' final start at Scarborough Field he went out in grand fashion.
The sophomore right-hander scattered three hits and pitched a complete-game shutout in a 6-0 win over Wingate on Thursday night on day one of the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional. Capps, who is 13-0 on the mound this season, tied Ryan Schlecht for the most wins (23) in program history.
Using a mixture of lively fastballs and off-speed pitches, Capps recorded nine strikeouts in a 121-pitch performance. The North Lenoir graduate didn't allow a hit after giving up a single to Cody Shelton in the fourth inning.
"I was flying open a little bit the first two innings and luckily I was able to make an adjustment," said Capps. "It definitely helped my command on my fastball. I made a little adjustment and was able to bring it back down. I was able to calm my nerves down.
"This was a big game and I was pretty amped up."
Capps used back-to-back strikeouts in the top of the first inning to work out of trouble with runners on first and second base. He got Wingate's Cale Rogers to pop up to third baseman Jacob Rogers with runners on first and second to end the second inning.
The Trojans turned in a pair of stellar defensive plays behind Capps in the top of the third inning. Right fielder Joseph Westbrook made a running catch of Dodson McPherson's fly ball and threw to first base to double-up Chris Vazquez. Shortstop Ryan Faison made a diving stop on Brian Yeung's ground ball up the middle and his throw to first was in time to end the inning.
Yeung lined out to Faison in the top of the sixth inning, and Faison fired to Daniel Coffey at first base to double-up McPherson.
"My defense was unbelievable behind me," said Capps. "Those guys were really playing hard and this was really a team effort."
After being recruited as a catcher and redshirting his freshman season, Capps has transformed into one of Division II's most dominant pitchers. A projected third-round pick in this summer's Major League Baseball draft, Capps has cemented his place among the legendary hurlers in Mount Olive's prestigious history.
"We will probably never have another kid like that on the mound for us," said Trojans' head coach Carl Lancaster. "I think that speaks very highly of him because we have had some outstanding pitchers the last five years, and there is no question in my mind he is atop of all of them. That is a credit to his work ethic, it is beyond belief.
"There is a real possibility that we could use him again in relief this weekend."