MOC baseball wins pair
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on March 31, 2012 11:50 PM
MOUNT OLIVE -- Geno Escalante continues to be a large reason why Mount Olive is rolling right now.
The junior extended his hitting streak to 25 games and the Trojans moved their winning streak to 16 games with a doubleheader sweep of Erskine on Saturday at Scarborough Field.
Escalante hit a pair of home runs in game one as Mount Olive prevailed 3-1. The No. 11 ranked Trojans (27-6, 15-2 CC0 claimed game two 9-1 and swept the three-game series.
In game one, Drew Willingham's solo home run to center field in the top of the fourth inning broke up Trojans' starting pitcher Jake Moser's shutout bid to give the Flying Fleet (20-15, 9-9) a 1-0 lead.
Escalante delivered a towering, two-out solo home run to left field in the home half of the fourth inning to tie the game at 1-1.
Trojans' third baseman Jermaine Berry's turned in a diving catch on Cody Spence's foul ball in front of the Mount Olive dugout in the top of the fifth inning. Two batters later, second baseman Cameron Sherrer made a diving top on Brandon Wooten's ground ball and flipped the ball to shortstop Mike Mercurio to get a force out at second base.
Escalante belted a two-run homer to left field in the bottom of the sixth inning to put the Trojans in front 3-1. Berry, Escalante and Braden Reitano each finished with two hits in the opener.
"He's special," Mount Olive head coach Carl Lancaster said of Escalante. "He can hit the ball either way and he's pretty good. I think he has a pretty nice streak going."
Senior right-hander Jake Moser earned the win on the mound and allowed one earned run on three hits with two strikeouts and two walks.
Erskine strung together three consecutive singles with two outs in the top of the first inning of game two. Will Huff's RBI single gave the Flying Fleet a 1-0 advantage.
Jacob Rogers' RBI double in the bottom of the first inning scored Antonio Callaway to tie the game at 1-1. Berry's two-out RBI double put the Trojans in front 2-1.
Mike Mercurio provided an RBI single in the home half of the second inning. Antonio Callaway drove home a run on a fielder's choice as the margin grew to 4-1. Rogers followed with his second RBI double of the game to increase Mount Olive's advantage to 5-1. Escalante's added an RBI groundout and later extended his hitting streak to 25 games with a single in the fifth inning.
Mercurio's RBI double in the bottom of the sixth inning moved the Trojans' lead to 7-1. Callaway followed with an RBI single. Greene Central product Will Bynum capped Mount Olive's scoring with a sac-fly in the top of the ninth inning.
Trojans' starting pitcher Zach Smith retired 17 Flying Fleet batters during a stretch of game two that extended from the second inning through the first two outs of the seventh inning. Smith tossed a complete game and surrendered 1 run on six hits with four strikeouts and no walks to pick up the win.
"We did some very nice things offensively and we had three complete games from our pitchers," Lancaster said. "We had a really nice weekend, we really did. If you make pitches against Erskine early in the count you can get quick innings like we did all weekend."
Mount Olive plays host to Chowan at 7 p.m. on Tuesday.