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Kinston's Capps Named Conference Carolinas Pitcher Of The Year

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WILSON, N.C. – Carter Capps was named Pitcher of the Year and was among nine Mount Olive College players to earn all-conference honors as the 2011 All-Conference Carolinas Baseball Team was announced Thursday during the opening day of the Conference Carolinas Baseball Tournament at Wilson, N.C. Five Trojans were named to the first team and four were selected to the second team.

Joining Capps on the first team were designated hitter Michael Knox, second baseman Dan Hayduk, third baseman Jacob Rogers (utility) and left fielder Jason Simone. Earning second team honors were catcher Tyler Smith, shortstop Ryan Faison and starting pitchers Curtis Hudson and Pete Levitt.

Capps, a sophomore right-hander from Kinston, N.C., is 8-0 this season with one save and a 1.92 earned run average. Capps, who is 18-0 in his collegiate career, is one of only three NCAA Division II pitchers nationwide still unbeaten with at least eight decisions. Capps tossed the first nine-inning no-hitter in school history March 12 in the Trojans’ 4-0 win at Coker. He has 75 strikeouts and only 11 walks in 70 1/3 innings pitched, including a career-high 12 strikeouts against Alderson-Broaddus. In January, Baseball America selected Capps as the 2011 Preseason Division II National Pitcher of the Year and as this year’s top prospect among Division II players for the Major League Baseball Draft.

Knox, a junior from Cary, N.C., ranks third in the nation with 15 home runs and fifth with an .833 slugging percentage. Knox is batting .350 with 11 doubles and 38 runs batted in. He has also drawn 44 walks (15 intentional), most in the nation. Knox became the first player in Trojan baseball history to hit for the cycle in a game and to hit four home runs in one game, achieving both feats in a span of 11 days. Knox had a single, double, triple and home run February 15 against North Carolina Wesleyan, then had a four-homer game February 26 against St. Andrews. Knox, an All-America last year, becomes a two-time All-Conference Carolinas first team selection.

Hayduk, a senior from Browns Mills, N.J., is batting .346 with nine doubles, three home runs and 32 runs batted in. He ranks third in the conference with 14 stolen bases and 10th with 37 runs scored. Hayduk has had 13 multi-hit games this season, including three-hit performances in conference games against Barton, Belmont Abbey and St. Andrews.

Rogers, a junior from Clearwater, Fla., leads the conference and ranks 19th in the nation with a .431 batting average. He’s tied for ninth in the nation with nine triples and tied for 19th with 15 doubles. Rogers batted .800 (8-for-10) in Mount Olive’s regular season-ending three-game series against Erskine to help the Trojans clinch their fourth regular season title in the last five years.

Simone, a senior from Utica, N.Y., is tied for 11th in the nation with 16 doubles and ranks third in the conference with a .409 batting average. Simone also ranks ninth in the nation among toughest to strikeout with only four strikeouts in 110 at-bats. He has four home runs and 29 rbi’s in 27 games. Simone missed the early part of the season with an injury.

Smith, a senior from Kinston, N.C., is batting .349 this season with six doubles. He has had a pair of three-rbi games, most recently April 2 in a conference game against Belmont Abbey. Behind the plate, he has a .967 fielding percentage. Smith is joined by starting right fielder Joseph Westbrook as the only two players remaining from Mount Olive’s 2008 national championship team.

Faison, a senior from Oldsmar, Fla., has been the Trojans’ leadoff batter for most of the season and is batting .306. He has 11 stolen bases in 13 attempts to go with eight doubles and two triples. He ranks seventh in the conference in runs scored. Defensively, Faison has a .955 fielding percentage with only seven errors in 154 chances. He has been part of 22 of Mount Olive’s 34 double plays turned, which is tied for 13th in the nation.

Hudson, a senior left-hander from Elgin, Ill., has a 5-1 record with a 3.35 earned run average. He has a 3-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio with 36 strikeouts and 12 walks in 43 innings pitched. Hudson has one complete game shutout in six starts, a 134-pitch seven-hitter March 25 against Barton. He has a 2.29 earned run average in six appearances and 35 1/3 innings in conference play this season.

Levitt, a junior right-hander from Chesapeake, Va., has a 5-2 record with a 3.43 ERA. He has three complete games, including two shutouts, in 10 starts on the season. Levitt has recorded 50 strikeouts in 60 1/3 innings pitched. Levitt compiled a 2.89 ERA in conference play and both of his shutouts were against conference opponents, a three-hitter against St. Andrews and a six-hitter against Coker.

Mount Olive, ranked No. 3 in two national polls and No. 4 in a third, entered the Conference Carolinas Tournament with an overall record of 30-6 and a 16-4 mark in league play. The Trojans are seeking their fifth conference tournament and NCAA Tournament bid in the last six years. The championship game is scheduled for Sunday, with the winner earning a berth in the Southeast Regional of the 2011 NCAA Division II Baseball Championship.


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