No. 2 Trojans Rally For Doubleheader Sweep Over No. 30 Catawba

No. 2 Trojans Rally For Doubleheader Sweep Over No. 30 Catawba

Braden Reitano's rbi-single in the bottom of the seventh brought Matt Petrone home with the winning run as nationally second-ranked Mount Olive defeated No. 30 Catawba 4-3 in game one of a non-conference baseball doubleheader Tuesday at Scarborough Field. Geno Escalante and Daniel Oliver hit solo home runs, while Chris Orphanos picked up his second win in relief in as many games.

The Trojans completed the sweep with an 8-6 victory in game two to extend their winning streak to 11, Mount Olive's second double-digit winning streak of the season. Zak Orrison's two-run double ignited a five-run fourth inning as Mount Olive rallied from an early four-run deficit. Escalante homered again and Reitano belted a home run. Talton Cherry allowed only one hit in two scoreless innings of relief for the win.

Mount Olive (33-4) was held scoreless on one hit in the opener until Escalante led off the bottom of the fourth with a home run to pull the Trojans within 2-1. Mount Olive had a chance to take the lead, but the Trojans left the bases loaded.

Catawba (27-13) capitalized on two Trojan errors in the top of the fifth to add a run and extend its lead to 3-1. Orphanos (7-0) took over with one out and prevented further damage on a flyout and a strikeout. He overcame a single and a hit batsman in the sixth and retired the side in order in the seventh while the Trojan offense was mounting its comeback.

Jermaine Berry's rbi-single in the fifth pulled Mount Olive within a run and Oliver led off the sixth inning with his fourth home run of the season to tie the game 3-3. Petrone led off the bottom of the seventh with a single, stole second and scored the game winner when Reitano looped a single to right.

In the nightcap, Catawba scored three runs in the top of the first on consecutive two-out rbi-singles by Garrett Furr, Julio Zubillaga and Cameron Beard. The Trojans answered with two runs in the bottom of the first as Petrone drew a leadoff walk and Reitano belted his seventh home run of the season.

Catawba extended its lead to 6-2 in the second after a towering three-run homer by Paul Kronefield. Trojan reliever Matt Hinkle rebounded to end the inning with a strikeout and retire the side in order in the third.

Oliver and Mike Mercurio both singled to lead off the bottom of the fourth and after Bryan Dunlavey's sacrifice advanced the runners into scoring position, Orrison laced a double to bring in both runners and pull the Trojans within 6-4. Mount Olive loaded the bases and Berry's rbi-single made it a one-run game. Tyler Farmer followed with a two-run single to put the Trojans ahead to stay 7-6.

Escalante added an insurance run with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the sixth inning, his second of the doubleheader and seventh of the season.

Cherry (1-1) took over to start the top of the fourth and after allowing a single and a walk, induced a 4-6-3 double play. He got a strikeout to end the inning and ended a 1-2-3 fifth inning with a strikeout. Matt Dillon pitched the final two innings for the save.

Mount Olive opened the season with a 12-game winning streak. Tuesday's doubleheader sweep improved the Trojans' record to 11-0 this season against nationally ranked teams. The Trojans swept a three-game series against No. 27 California (Pa.) over the weekend.

Mount Olive resumes Conference Carolinas action this weekend and plays its first non-neutral site away contests in more than a month as the Trojans travel to Due West, S.C., to take on Erskine in a rematch of last year's conference tournament championship game. The two teams play a single game Friday at 2:30 p.m. and conclude the three-game series with a doubleheader Saturday beginning at noon.