Mount Olive sophomore Alex Regan improved to 6-1 on the season, tossing a complete game three-hitter as the nationally top-ranked Trojans rallied for a doubleheader split with Conference Carolinas baseball foe King (Tenn.) 7-1 Saturday afternoon at Scarborough Field. In the opener, King broke open a pitcher's duel late for a 5-1 decision.
Regan limited the Tornado (16-11 overall, 5-6 Conference Carolinas) to just three singles and did not allow a King runner past first base in any inning but the second when the Tornado scored an unearned run.
Mount Olive (22-3, 9-2) got all the offense Regan needed in the bottom of the first. Patrone singled, then raced to third when a two-out error King kept the inning alive. Berry made the Tornado pay with an RBI-single to left.
King cut the lead to 2-1 in the top of the second thanks to a Mount Olive miscue. Despite two singles, a hit batsman and an error, King managed just one run. The potential tying run was gunned down at the plate by Daniel Oliver.
The Trojans got the run back in the bottom of the frame as Zak Orrison was hit by a pitch and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Bryan Dunlavey. After Will Bynum was hit by a pitch, Patrone legged out an infield single to drive in the third run.
With Regan sailing along, the Tornado was in trouble. Regan allowed only a single, a hit batter and a walk over the next four innings.
The Trojans got some breathing room in the fourth on RBI-hits from Braden Reitano and Mike Mercurio. Then in the sixth, Patrone led off with his first home run of the season. Reitano followed with a single and raced home on a two-out double by Berry.
In the opener, Dunlavey single-handedly broke up a scoreless tie in the bottom of the fifth. He led off with a single to left, stole second, then raced home on an error.
With Trojan hurler Matt Dillon (4-1) cruising along, having allowed just two hits through six innings, it appeared one run just might be enough for a win. Then King broke even in the seventh when a pair of Trojans errors allowed Geoffrey Cieslewitz to score the tying run.
In the eighth, the Tornado took the lead for good. A hit-batsman, two singles and a double brought home the go-ahead runs. Two more in the ninth put the game away.
The teams will play the rubber game of their weekend series tomorrow beginning at 1 p.m.