04/16/12 — Trojans' Smith tosses shutout

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Trojans' Smith tosses shutout

By MOC Sports Information
Published in Sports on April 16, 2012 1:48 PM

MOC Sports Information

MISENHEIMER -- Zach Smith tossed a seven-hit shutout and No. 4-ranked Mount Olive College clinched the No. 1 seed for Conference Carolinas tournament with a 3-0 triumph over in-state nemesis Pfeiffer University on Sunday afternoon.

JUCO transfer Geno Escalante extended his hitting streak to 34 games with a two-out double in the ninth inning. The Trojans (34-7 overall, 20-3 CC) emerged victorious for 23rd time in their last 24 outings.

Smith fanned three Falcons and did not issue a walk. The 6-foot-3 junior left-hander, who started his career at Middle Georgia Community College, twice allowed more than one base runner in an inning. He coaxed Pfeiffer into a game-ending double play in the ninth.

MOC did not commit an error behind Smith.

The Trojans managed just five hits offensively, but capitalized on 11 walks and two hit batsmen which sparked two rallies. All nine MOC batters drew at least one walk in the contest.

Mike Mercurio, Antonio Callaway and Jacob Rogers walked to load the bases for Escalante with no outs in the first inning. Escalante's groundout to third was enough to put the Trojans ahead 1-0.

Pfeiffer pitcher Jeff Barkley retired the first two batters of the third inning. But a walk to Escalante opened the door for the Trojans. Braden Reitano singled and Jermaine Berry walked to load the bases. Nick Gaeta forced in a run when he drew a walk, then Cameron Sherrer singled to stretch the lead to 3-0.

MOC returns home Tuesday for its "Battle of the East" contest against archrival Barton College. The game is dedicated to Eastern Wayne senior Jake May, who was diagnosed with leukemia in January and is currently in remission.

Proceeds from the game will benefit the May family.