Trojans advance to finals
By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on April 29, 2012 1:52 AM
WILSON -- Just what the doctor ordered.
In the four-day Conference Carolinas baseball tournament pitching is always at a premium. Mount Olive College ace Jake Moser made sure all of the Trojan's other arms will be available today.
Moser pitched a complete-game shutout and allowed just two hits as Mount Olive dropped North Greenville University 4-0 at Fleming Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Trojans advance to the conference championship game today at 1 p.m. Mount Olive's opponent is yet to be determined. Mount Olive, which played its way through the winner's bracket, only has to win one out of two games to claim the tournament crown.
"Today I thought both starting pitchers did an excellent job," Mount Olive head coach Carl Lancaster said. "Moser was just a little bit better than their guy and we were able to get a couple of two-out hits that pushed runs in."
Mount Olive got on the board in the third inning when Cameron Sherrer walked and eventually scored on a base hit by Mike Mercurio. The game remained 1-0 until the ninth inning as Moser and North Greenville's Ryan Woodring waged a pitcher's duel as good as any ever thrown in the conference tournament.
Over the first eight innings the teams combined for one run on five hits and only were able to manage just three runners in scoring position.
"I was able to get the off-speed pitches over the plate early in the count and that really set the tone," Moser said. "When you get ahead with the curve or the changeup it opens up both sides of the plate for the fastball."
Mount Olive broke the game open in the top of the ninth inning with three unearned runs.
Jacob Rogers led off with a walk and Geno Escalante followed with a single. Two batters later Sherrer loaded the bases when he reached on a Crusader error. Will Bynum plated one run with an infield single and Bryan Dunlavey capped the rally with a two-run base hit that made the score 4-0.
Moser strode to the mound and finished what he started. North Greenville put two runners on base before Moser induced a groundout to end the game.
"The last three outings Moser has been a little off," Lancaster said. "But tonight we needed him to be great and he certainly was."
Moser allowed two hits, two walks and struck out four batters.
"It felt good to go out today and know that I helped the team make it to the championship game," Moser said. "I told the coaches that whenever they needed me I would be ready."
Mount Olive will likely turn to left-hander Derek Justice for today's championship game.
"Pretty much everyone is available for (today) with the exception of Moser and Zach Smith," Lancaster said. "We have plenty of arms to go to if we need them."
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