Mount Olive Takes The Opening Round From Barton 3-1

Mount Olive Takes The Opening Round From Barton 3-1

The No. 12 ranked University of Mount Olive wins a close opening round match-up against rival Barton College. Junior Justin Manning went 3-for-4 with two runs scored to push the Trojans in front to take a 3-1 victory in Burlington, N.C. at the 2014 Conference Carolinas Baseball tournament.

Barton had the opening salvo in the first round as Dylan Rudio hit a full count pitch over the left field wall to give the Bulldogs the lead.

Mount Olive (37-11) got their offensive rolling in the bottom of the third. Senior Jay Gonzalez doubled down the left field line with one away to give the Trojans a base runner. Junior Luke Barry got on with a walk and was then taken out at second by a fielder's choice from Senior Bradon Reitano. On a steal attempt by Reitano the throw from the catcher went off the glove of the pitcher and allowed Gonzalez to steal home and tie the game up for Mount Olive.

The Trojans took the lead in the fourth off another unusual play. Manning singled into center to start off the inning. Junior DeAndre Allen singled with two away after back to back strikeouts and as the ball was being fielded it rolled past the center fielder and Manning scored from second on the error to give Mount Olive the 2-1 lead.

Senior left hander Josh Frederick came into the game out of the pen for Mount Olive in a jam with runners at second and third and was able to get a strikeout and a fly out to halt the Bulldog (14-31) attack.

Manning led off the bottom half of the sixth with a shot down the right field line that dropped in for a double. Manning then took third on a failed pickoff attempt as the throw rolled under the second baseman's feet. Cody Britt drove him in with a single into right center.

Allen reached on a fielder's choice that eliminated Britt at second. Zak Orrison beat out the first baseman for a two out base hit. However a ground out ended the chance for Mount Olive to plate anymore runs in the sixth.

"In a big game like this all you can do is try and get the team rolling and three of the hits i had were leading off the inning so that was big to get us some momentum going and be able to scratch across a couple of runs and that was the difference in the game. Their starter switched things up on us from last time and mixed it up and threw us off but we were able to get to him" said Manning in a post game interview.  

Freshman Kodi Whitley (6-1)picked up the win as he threw five and a third allowing just one run off three hits. Frederick (4) came in the game in the fifth and shutdown the Bulldogs to pick up the save. For Frederick he went three and two thirds of shutout baseball with six strikeouts and one hit allowed.

"I didn't feel great coming out of the pen but if you can come in and throw strikes you're going to get outs and thats what I felt like I needed to do" said Frederick on his night.

Mount Olive moves into the winner's bracket where they will face Pfeiffer University as the visiting team. First pitch from Berlington, N.C. will be at 3 p.m. Mount Olive extends their win streak to 20. "We feel good. We feel like we have a chance against anybody. We did lose one to them (Pfeiffer) earlier this year so we got a little bit of fire in our stomachs coming out" Manning.