05/30/11 — Right-handed Levitt earns redemption in opener

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Right-handed Levitt earns redemption in opener

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on May 30, 2011 1:47 PM

CARY -- The importance of this start wasn't lost on Pete Levitt.

Nor could he forget his last outing on the national stage.

The junior right-hander erased the bittersweet memory of a disastrous performance in last year's Division I JUCO World Series, and turned in a record-tying outing against Millersville (Pa.) University on Saturday.

In his 15th start of the season, Levitt retired the first 19 batters he faced and matched an NCAA tournament record set by former Mount Olive hurler Casey Hodges during a third-round contest in the 2007 South Atlantic Regional in Kinston.

Levitt carried a perfect game into the seventh.

"For the first five or six innings, he hit every spot ... threw the ball exactly where he wanted to," said MOC head coach Carl Lancaster. "When he got tired, you started see him fly open a little bit and his arm was dragging, that's when the balls started getting up in the zone.

"He did well."

Millersville scored an unearned run and spoiled Levitt's perfect-game, no-hit and shutout bid in the seventh inning. The Marauders managed just three hits in the game.

"I personally feel like we were thinking too much in the batter's box," said Millersville shortstop Mike August, who had one of the team's three hits against Levitt. "We were thinking curveball, splitter and he was throwing right past us. Our bats were real slow today. I guess that could be contributed to jitters or whatever.

"We just didn't get it done as a team."

Levitt threw 103 pitches, including 68 strikes in undoubtedly his most-impressive showing of the season.

"...when I got this assignment, I was fueled," said Levitt. "This was my chance to make up for last year. Our main goal this whole year has been to win the World Series, not just to get to it. Up to this point, we've met every goal."

Touch 'em all Mike Knox

CARY -- A partisan Mount Olive College crowd gave a huge cheer when Mike Knox stepped into the batter's box Saturday afternoon.

It was the designated hitter's first appearance in the lineup since missing the Southeast Regional with a broken left hand. Knox received clearance from his doctor, and the MOC training staff padded the upper and lower half of his hand.

Knox walked his first at-bat and struck out swinging during his second plate appearance.

His third trip to the plate was vintage Knox. Millersville right-hander Brooks Rothschild hung a pitch up in the zone and the Daktronics second-team All-American slapped it a good 25 feet over the left-field wall.

"Their guy was doing a good job of mixing speeds, for sure," said Knox. "He had just struck me out the at-bat before on two curveballs, so I went into that at-bat looking for another curveball and that's what he gave me. I tried to put a good swing on it, felt like I was close during my first two at-bats."

It was Knox's 23rd homer of the season.

"I was glad to see him get some good ABs," said Lancaster. "I didn't care about the long ball he hit, but I liked it. I was really hoping he wouldn't go in and have some bad at-bats after being out four weeks. That was just uplifting to the entire club."