Rob Shipman leads the way for the nationally 19th-ranked University of Mount Olive as he had the key hit in the five run fifth inning to push the Trojans ahead for good as they took game one of the series from Belmont Abbey College 6-3 in Mount Olive, N.C. for Conference Carolinas Baseball. Luke Barry tripled home two also in the fifth to help Mount Olive get the lead back.
Belmont Abbey got the opening salvo in the first as they plated one. Kayden Krause was hit by a pitch to lead off the game. After a strikeout, Anthony Dimino reached on a fielder's choice as Krause was eliminated at second. Weston Clarke singled up the middle and Dimino reached third. Levi Wright drew a walk and Dimino scored on the next pitch as the wild pitch allowed the first run to come home.
Mount Olive (31-11 Overall, 14-2 Conference Carolinas) tied the game up in the bottom half. Chase Edwards drew a one out walk to give the Trojans a base runner. Following a strikeout Shipman doubled down the left field line with a ball that rolled all the way to the wall and Edwards scored to tie the game up.
The key inning of the game was in the Trojan half of the fifth. Cody Britt walked to lead off and then stole second two batters later. Edwards and Bradon Reitano both drew walks to set up Shipman. Shipman wasted no time as he took the first pitch he saw and hit a shot over the first baseman's glove to drive in Edwards and Britt.
Justin Manning followed the single with one of his own as his base hit landed in shallow right to push Shipman over to second and bring in Reitano. Barry continued the two out base hits for Mount Olive as he hit a rope into right center field past a diving Connor Kwalwasser and Barry ended up a third with a two RBI-triple and Mount Olive took a 6-1 lead.
Belmont Abbey (17-24, 7-12) brought home a run in the top of the sixth. Lorenzo Wright walked on four straight to lead the inning off. Kwalwasser singled past first base and moved Lorenzo Wright to second but a throwing error at first after Kwalwasser was safe led to Wright being allowed to take third. Krause drove him in with a sacrifice fly to center field and BAC drew one run closer to the Trojans.
The Crusaders could only manage to add one more run in the eighth. A solo home run by Lorenzo Wright to left field was the final Belmont Abbey runner to cross in the series opener as Mount Olive took game one 6-3.
Kodi Whitley (5-1) was the winning pitcher for the Trojans picking up his fifth win on the season after throwing six innings. Whitley allowed two runs –one earned- off five hits and fanned seven Crusaders. Hunter Barnett came in to pitch one a one thirds and gave up one run off two hits and added two strikeouts. Zach Bernard (3) came in to close out the game for UMO. Bernard pitched one and two thirds of scoreless ball and only gave up one hit and added three strikeouts on his way to get the save.
Cody Stull (2-6) got hooked with the loss as he gave up all the Trojan runs off five hits and struck out eight. Kyle Rodgers and Robert Taft both pitched one inning of shutout ball in relief of Stull.
Mount Olive returns to Scarborough Field tomorrow for the series ending doubleheader. It will also be senior day for Will Bynum, Bradon Reitano, Josh Frederick, Talton Cherry, Tyler Joyner, Zach Bernard, and Derek Justice. The seniors will be recognized in a special celebration between games. The games as well tomorrow will be a special fund-raiser for the Miracle League of Johnston County (N.C.). First pitch tomorrow from Mount Olive will be at 12 p.m.