Mount Olive Survives Late Rally To Beat Saint Augustine's 11-8

Mount Olive Survives Late Rally To Beat Saint Augustine's 11-8

Matt Petrone had three hits and four RBI, and nationally second-ranked Mount Olive survived a furious rally to down Saint Augustine's 11-8 in non-conference baseball Wednesday night at the USA Baseball Complex in Cary, N.C. The win extended the Trojans' season-best winning streak to 14 games.

Petrone's two-run double in the third broke a 2-2 tie and gave the Trojans the lead for good. Mount Olive (36-4) went on to score nine unanswered runs and cruised into the final two innings with an 11-2 cushion. Saint Augustine's (24-18) did not go away quietly, however.

The Falcons got a three-run double from Carey Cheek in the eighth to cut the lead to 11-5, then Clarence Peace slugged his fourth home run of the season, with two runners on and two out in the bottom of the ninth to make things even more interesting.

Mount Olive survived, however, as Derek Justice came in to record the final out for his second save of the season.

The Trojans took a 2-1 lead of Falcon starter Alex Edwards (3-1) in the top of the second on RBI-singles by Geno Escalante and Jermaine Berry. Saint Augustine's answered in the bottom of the frame, tying the game on an RBI-single by Arie Polanco.

Mount Olive soon pulled away from the Falcons, scoring all 11 runs over a five-inning span. After Petrone's double in the third, he added a two-run single an inning later to bring home teammates Bryan Dunlavey and Daniel Oliver. Mike Mercurio and Berry followed with run-scoring singles to extend the lead to 8-2.

The Trojans continued to apply pressure to the Falcon defense. In the sixth, Oliver scored on a wild pitch, then an inning later, Escalante singled home Braden Reitano, then Escalante and Luke Berry pulled off a double steal to make it 11-2.

The Trojans finished with 16 hits from 10 different batters. Mercurio's two hits marked his fourth consecutive multi-hit game. He is 9-for-15 with a double and a homer during that span.

Mount Olive hurler Talton Cherry (2-1) picked up the win with two innings of work out of the bullpen. Cherry was the second of seven Trojan pitchers to work in the game.

Mount Olive returns home to meet Conference Carolinas rival Limestone for a three-game series beginning with a single game Friday beginning at 6 p.m. at Scarborough Field. On Saturday, the teams will play a doubleheader beginning at noon.

Saturday's games will serve as a fund-raiser for the Kevin Wise, Jr. Memorial Endowed Athletic Scholarship Fund at Mount Olive College.