03/11/12 — Mount Olive splits double-header

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Mount Olive splits double-header

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on March 11, 2012 12:42 AM

MOUNT OLIVE - League newcomer King (Tenn.) College didn't have much time to savor its series-opening triumph over No. 28-ranked Mount Olive College on Saturday afternoon.

The Trojans made sure of it.

Jacob Rogers smashed two home runs and Antonio Callaway continued his torrid offensive streak in a 12-2 crowning of King in the nightcap at Scarborough Field. The shellacking eased some of the sting from a listless, 10-4 defeat -- MOC's second setback in Conference Carolinas play this season -- in game one.

The teams conclude their three-game series today at 1 p.m.

"We always talk about if we ever lose the first game, then people usually don't sweep us or beat us two games in a row on our home field," said Rogers. "We didn't want them to come into our house and let them beat us two games in a row, so we had a little fire under the seat of our pants ... if you know what I mean."


Mount Olive (12-6 overall, 5-2 CC) lashed out 17 hits against four King pitchers, and scored at least one run in five of six innings. Rogers' two-run blast, his fifth of the season, highlighted a four-run, first-inning uprising against Tornado right-hander Cory Rhodes. The sophomore, who boasted a team-best 2.08 earned run average, was tattooed for a whopping nine earned runs on 13 hits in four innings on the mound.

Rhodes (3-1) tasted defeat for the first time this season.

Jermaine Berry snapped an 0-for-6 hitting streak with a two-RBI single in the second inning. Geno Escalante, designated hitter Nick Gaeta and Cameron Sherrer each cranked out an RBI single in the fourth.

Rogers ripped his second homer, a towering shot over the scoreboard in right field, in the fifth inning. Callaway, who reached on a one-out single, also scored on the round-tripper. The reigning Conference Carolinas player-of-the-week, Callaway is 14-of-19 at the plate with 10 RBI, seven stolen bases and 22 putouts with no errors in his last six outings.

"I'm just trying to get on base and once I get on base, I cause problems with my speed," said Callaway. "I'm seeing the ball good for some reason, getting my foot down and (swinging) short to the ball, just trying to make things happen."

The woodshed-like whipping overshadowed a superb six-inning performance by JUCO transfer Matt Dillon. The junior right-hander carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning before giving up a two-out, two-RBI single to Hunter Smith.

Dillon (2-0) fanned seven Tornado batters and scattered three hits. Nolan Lancaster provided one inning of one-hit relief.

"I was trying to live on the fastball, something that we saw in the first game because they didn't do very well with the velocity on the outer part of the plate," said Dillon. "I tried to keep them guessing, work both sides of the plate (and) tried to backdoor a couple of curveballs and a couple of sliders.

"I didn't throw but one or two change-ups."

Mount Olive carried a 3-2 lead into the top of the seventh inning in game one, but allowed a combined eight runs in the final three innings. The bullpen couldn't close the door against King, which collected 15 hits off four Trojan hurlers.

Starting pitcher Jake Moser logged a season-high nine strikeouts and permitted four runs (three earned) on 11 hits in 7 1/3 innings of work. He was victimized by an anemic Trojan offense which batted just 3-for-16 with runners in scoring position and stranded 12 men on base.

Moser was saddled with his first loss in five decisions this season.

"Timely hitting," said Rogers. "We had some guys in scoring position and we didn't produce. We had chances to extend the lead, and either struck out or just didn't get them in."