04/21/12 — MOC baseball sweeps NGU

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MOC baseball sweeps NGU

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 21, 2012 11:20 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Geno Escalante kept his hitting streak alive.


Hitless in three previous at-bats, the JUCO transfer from California delivered a seventh-inning walk-off single that propelled No. 3-ranked Mount Olive College to a 5-4 victory over North Greenville (S.C.) University in game one of their doubleheader Saturday afternoon.

Escalante extended his hitting streak to a phenomenal 37 games in the nightcap, a rain-shortened 11-5 victory at Scarborough Field. The Trojans (38-7 overall) swept a Conference Carolinas opponent for the sixth time this season.

North Greenville right-hander Ryan Woodring limited Mount Olive to four hits through five innings, and permitted just one runner to reach third base in the opener. The sophomore retired 13 of 15 batters he faced during four-plus innings and recorded seven strikeouts.

"He could spin that breaking ball for a strike any time he wanted to," MOC head coach Carl Lancaster said of Woodring. "He just really gave us a fit out there. We out of the zone after a few early and when we got people we did want on base, we'd beat the ball into the dirt or pop it up."

The Trojans finally tagged Woodring in the sixth inning.

After a strikeout and base-running error on a fielder's choice grounder by Escalante, Jermaine Berry singled into left center field. Cameron Sherrer, one of eight seniors recognized before the game, slapped a two-RBI single up the gut which closed the gap to 4-2.

"Cam got a big hit there," Lancaster said.

Antonio Callaway pushed Sherrer home with a single into right center field. Woodring, who threw more than 100 pitches in his 5 2/3-innings stint, gave way to reliever Allen Staton. He induced an inning-ending flyout to left field, but MOC clearly had regained the momentum.

The Crusaders (26-23, 14-13 CC) attempted a seventh-inning rally. Trojans' senior Chris Hinton, who relieved starter Zach Smith, gave up a single and coaxed David Frazier into an inning-ending out in the seventh.

Staton plunked MOC's Mike Mercurio with one out in the seventh and surrendered a base hit to Bradon Reitano. Jacob Rogers loaded the bases with a walk, which set the table for Escalante.

"I knew he had to pitch to me, so I was hunting a fastball, found it and hit it pretty hard," Escalante said.

The ball took a hop over Frazier's glove and capped the Trojans' 22nd win against conference opposition this season.

"Geno, I was afraid he was going to lose his hitting streak there," Lancaster said. "I thought when he made his third out, he was done for his streak. But we put a few hits together, got him back up again and he came through with a big hit for us."

Mount Olive pounded three North Greenville pitchers for 11 hits in game two. Rogers, Escalante, Berry and Reitano drove in two runs apiece. Mercurio, Callaway, Reitano and Sherrer each delivered two hits.

The Trojans built an 11-5 advantage through seven innings, but the Crusaders drew back-to-back walks to start the eighth against reliever Derek Justice. Lightning and heavy rain caused a 30-minute delay, and eventually rendered the field unplayable.