The University of Mount Olive fought back early to tie the game in the third but was unable to take over the game as they dropped a 16-4 decision to Catawba College in the elimination game of the 2014 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Friday morning in Greenwood, S.C. Senior left fielder Bradon Reitano went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and an RBI to lead the offense for Mount Olive.
Mount Olive (40-13) opened the game swinging against the Indians after being shutout last night against Georgia College but quickly recorded two outs in the first. Reitano hit a rifle shot back up the middle with two away to spark the Trojans. Junior, Rob Shipman came up and drew a walk to move Reitano to second. Junior catcher, Justin Manning drove a ball to right field that sank quickly on the right fielder who could not make the grab and Reitano came in on the error to give Mount Olive their first run of the regional.
Catawba (34-20) answered in the bottom half of the first. Blake Houston singled to left field to lead off for the Indians. Houston advanced to second on a wild pitch and five pitches late Paul Kronenfeld was walked. A passed ball this time allowed Houston to gain another base and for Kronenfeld to move to second. Ethan Satterfield reached on a fielding error by the Trojan shortstop with one away and brought home Houston. T.J. Wharton singled through the five-six hole and drove in Kronenfeld.
Julio Zubillaga followed with a bloop single to center and Satterfield scored the third run for the Indians. Craig Brooks drew a walk to load the bases. A sacrifice fly by Jon Wallace allowed the final run of a four run outburst by Catawba in which three hits scored four runs.
However Mount Olive did not let the lead stand for long as they fought back in the third. Junior, Luke Barry had a lead-off walk for the Trojans. Barry stole second and on the tag from the shortstop the ball rolled into centerfield and Barry who was very alert took off for third and slid in just before the tag to move just ninety feet away from scoring.
Reitano did not wait long to drive in Barry as he found a gap in the left side for an RBI-single. Shipman followed with single that he pulled between the first and second baseman. Manning hit a ball out to right field but was however able to place it far enough for Reitano to tag and come home. Junior, Chase Edwards hit a rope down the left field line just fair to put Shipman at third and he trotted in for a double. After a groundout, Junior DeAndre Allen swung and put a ball into no mans land between short and third and beat out the throw from short to bring home the tying run with Shipman.
Catawba was silenced in the third going 1-2-3 but broke the tie ball game in the fourth. Cameron Beard singled up the middle after the lead-off hitter was retired. Beard advanced to second on a groundout and then to third on the Kronenfeld single. Keaton Hawks drove in the first of two runs for the Indians with an RBI-single through the left side. Satterfield singled into center to bring in the final run of the inning and Catawba regained the lead 6-4.
The Indians then took over control of the game after the fourth as they scored one run in the fifth, two in the sixth, three in the seventh, and four runs in the eighth to jump out ahead of the Trojans 16-4 and the margin was just too much for UMO to come back from as they suffered only their 13th loss of the season.
Kodi Whitley (6-2) took the loss for Mount Olive. Whitley went three and two thirds giving up six runs –two earned- off eight hits. Gunnar Kines, Zach Bernard, Brody McDonald, Jordy Farthing, and Talton Cherry all had appearances in relief. Kines, Bernard, and McDonald went one inning a piece giving up six runs combined off four hits. Farthing and Cherry both went two thirds of an inning. Farthing allowed four runs off four hits. Cherry only gave up one hit in his outing.
John Tuttle (8-2) picked up the win as he went five innings. He surrendered four runs off seven hits and added two strikeouts. Shaefer Shepard and Sean Grant pitched the remainder of the game pitching a combined one hit shutout.
Mount Olive finished the season 40-13 overall and will only lose eight players and return 29 going into next season.