Trojans' Dillon hurls 1-hit shutout
By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on April 26, 2013 1:47 PM
BURLINGTON -- Mount Olive junior Matt Dillon might not have been looking for a way to justify his selection as Conference Carolinas Pitcher of the Year, but he certainly deserved it Thursday night.
Dillon held sixth-seeded Erskine hitless for 81/3 innings before settling with a one-hitter as the No. 1-ranked Trojans began defense of their tournament title with a 6-0, opening-round victory at Burlington Athletic Stadium.
Mount Olive (44-4 overall) faces fourth-seeded Belmont Abbey at 3 p.m. today. The Crusaders dropped a 7-6 decision to King (Tenn.).
Dillon (10-1) allowed just three base runners -- two on walks and one on catcher's interference -- heading into the eighth inning. He coaxed a groundout from Will Huff to start the inning before Logan Galliher broke up his no-hit bid with a clean double down the right-field line.
Dillon rebounded to strike out three of the last five Erskine batters to end the game. He threw 113 pitches and struck out 13 in the complete-game performance.
Erskine starter Heath Gray (5-8) was up for the challenge for the first three innings, retiring Mount Olive in order twice and getting a double play grounder to get out of second inning trouble.
In the fourth, however, the Trojans flexed their muscles.
Bradon Reitano broke the scoreless tie with a long home run to left field -- his ninth of the season. Mike Mercurio followed with a double, then raced home on a double from Geno Escalante.
Tyler Farmer completed the three-run rally with a two-out, two-strike RBI-single.
The cushion was more than enough for Dillon, who retired 13 in a row at one point.
The Trojans put together a two-out rally in the seventh, when Zak Orrison doubled to left after Gray struck out the first two batters in the inning. Petrone followed with a single to center and a 4-0 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, Daniel Oliver singled home Mercurio and a wild pitch brought in Escalante to cap the scoring.
Escalante and Oliver delivered two hits apiece. In all, eight of the nine starters delivered at least one hit.
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