05/27/11 — Trojans' main goal is to avoid the losers' bracket

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Trojans' main goal is to avoid the losers' bracket

By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on May 27, 2011 1:47 PM

The opponent may be somewhat unfamiliar, but the objective remains the same.

Mount Olive opens play against Millersville (Pa.) University in the Division II College World Series on Saturday at the USA Baseball Training Complex in Cary. First pitch is 5 p.m.

The Trojans and Marauders are in the same half of the bracket along with Central Missouri and Winona State.

Mount Olive and Millersville (43-10) shared two common opponents this season -- Chowan and Wingate. The Marauders split a two-game series at Wingate in early March and won 19-3 at Chowan.

"We did play a couple of teams on their schedule that they came down South and played," said Mount Olive head coach Carl Lancaster. "We will have what we need to know hopefully by the time we get there. Our goal is to stay out of the losers' bracket."

Millersville won the Atlantic Regional with a 14-3 victory over Mercyhurst and enters the World Series having won 26 of its last 31 games.

Junior shortstop Mike August leads the Marauders with a .357 batting average and a team-high 71 hits in 185 at-bats. August has started all 53 games. Freshman third baseman Zach Stone is hitting .358 and junior outfielder Chris Edgar has a .356 average.

Junior right-hander Brooks Rothschild is 10-1 in 12 starts this season with 52 strikeouts in 791/3 innings. Rothschild has allowed just 25 runs and has a 2.50 ERA with five complete-games.

Right-hander Mike McMonagle (8-1) has compiled a 1.98 ERA in eight starts. Fellow right-hander Derek Kline is 7-2 with a 3.92 ERA and freshman left-hander Tim Mayza is 6-3 with a 3.75 ERA. Zach Eckley has recorded 10 saves in 20 relief appearances with a 3.18 ERA.

No Millersville pitcher has more than three losses.

The Trojans (45-8) navigated through the Southeast Regional without designated hitter Mike Knox. Knox continues to recover from a broken hand after hitting a team-high 22 home runs during the regular season. Freshman Braden Reitano and junior Nick Gaeta split time in Knox's DH spot during the regional.

Senior second baseman Dan Hayduk delivered multiple clutch hits during the regional, including a 10th-inning grand slam in a 6-2 win over Columbus State. He followed that up the next day with a two-run single and a two-run double in a victory over UNC Pembroke that put Mount Olive in the regional finals. He finished the regional with nine RBI.

"We took Knox out of the lineup for a week, and he's not superman but he's a presence," said Lancaster. "When I turned in that lineup last Thursday and my DH was a freshman hitting in the eight hole and I said, 'Whoa.' We won a regional with that lineup.

"To win that regional with Knox out of the lineup is unbelievable."

Sophomore right-hander Carter Capps tossed 61/3 shutout innings of relief in the Trojans' 2-1 victory over Francis Marion in the regional finals. Capps improved to 14-0 this season, which broke a single-season school record. He moved his career record to 24-0, which is an NCAA Division II record for consecutive wins.