05/14/13 — MOC hopes layoff hasn't affected team's timing at the plate

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MOC hopes layoff hasn't affected team's timing at the plate

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on May 14, 2013 1:47 PM

The college baseball season can drag on for players and coaches.

Whether the team has a losing record or it is the defending College World Series champion, the schedule can take its toll.

Mount Olive College admittedly needed a rest after the Conference Carolinas tournament in late April. Head coach Carl Lancaster and his staff just hope that the Trojans' break has not cost his team its offensive rhythm.

"It's tough having such a long break for whatever reason," MOC assistant coach Rob Watt said. "We (the coaching staff) have to keep trying to find ways to create intensity in practice and that is hard to do."

Mount Olive won 23 consecutive games from March 19-April 26. The Trojans looked unflappable during that span, scoring 193 runs -- an average of nearly nine runs per game.

A pair of close losses in the conference tournament on April 27 left the Trojans waiting for another opportunity. Mount Olive has only played one game in the past 20 days -- a 6-3 win over Winston-Salem State on May 5.

A break for final exams as well as the two-week layoff prior to the Southeast Regional has forced Mount Olive to play intra-squad games to break up the monotony of practice.

"I think our guys are honestly sick of playing each other," Trojans' assistant coach Jesse Lancaster said. "Going against the same guys every day is tough and it wears on you as a player. I know when the regional begins our guys will be ready to face someone else."

Pitchers have the luxury of resting tired arms and are traditionally more comfortable with the extended layoff. Hitters, on the other hand, have to worry about seeing the baseball, retaining confidence and remembering their situational responsibilities.

"The pitchers can throw bullpen sessions and things to keep themselves ready," Watt said. "It's different for hitters. Some guys love it and some guys hate it ... guys that were hot in the conference tournament want to stay hot and keep playing. Guys who were cold in the conference tournament can take a couple weeks to work the kinks out."

Mount Olive opens Southeast Regional play against Lincoln Memorial on Thursday evening. First pitch is 7 p.m. at Scarborough Field.