05/29/11 — Levitt almost perfect as Mount Olive wins World Series opener

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Levitt almost perfect as Mount Olive wins World Series opener

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 29, 2011 1:51 AM

CARY -- Pete Levitt remembered his previous appearance on the national stage.

It wasn't very good.

This time, Levitt was darn near perfect Saturday evening.

The right-hander carried a perfect game into the seventh inning, and No. 2-ranked Mount Olive College slipped past Millersville (Pa.) University, 3-1, on day one of the NCAA Division II College World Series.

The Trojans (46-8 overall) face Winona State at 5 p.m. Monday at Coleman Field on the USA National Baseball Training Complex.

Everyone expected projected Major League Draft pick Carter Capps to throw against the No. 10-ranked Marauders, but Mount Olive head coach Carl Lancaster and Levitt talked two nights ago about him starting the CWS opener.

"I was in the World Series last year with a junior college and I didn't do so well, actually did terrible," said Levitt, a transfer from Pitt Community College. "This was my chance to make up for last year."

Levitt did.

His delivery as smooth and slick like a used car salesman, the 6-foot-5, 270-pounder punished the strike zone with a slider and fastball most of the afternoon. His slider lost a little pace as the game wore on, but Millersville batters couldn't catch up to the fastball that constantly danced around the plate.

"He pitched as good as he's ever pitched for us," said Lancaster.

Levitt (10-2) induced eight ground-ball outs and six flyouts, and fanned seven Marauders. He lost his perfect game, no-hit and shutout bid on an unearned run during a four-batter sequence in the seventh inning.

David Combs threw the eighth inning and Capps threw the ninth.

Mount Olive improved to 5-0 in CWS outings after winning the national championship in 2008.

"This is an outstanding win," said Lancaster. "That team just wouldn't go away. They kept hanging in there and gave us a battle. Pete threw his best game of the year ... hot and humind, and the bottom line is he ran out of gas there in the seventh."

Levitt got the run support he needed in the third and sixth innings.

Jacob Rogers bounced a two-run triple off the wall in left center to put the Trojans ahead 2-0. Designated hitter Mike Knox, who returned to the lineup after a four-week absence, swatted his team-leading 23rd home run of the season in the sixth.

Knox played with padding on the upper and lower parts of his left hand.

"This was huge," said Knox. "Sitting and watching regionals definitely was hard on me, but my team played great and they got us here through regionals. Getting to take part in this is something I've dreamed of my whole life.

"Getting to play is a blessing."