MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. – Dan Hayduk’s 10th-inning grand slam home run broke a 2-2 tie and Jeremy Hall pitched 5 2/3 innings of hitless relief as top-seeded Mount Olive remained unbeaten in tournament play with a 6-2 victory over No. 4 seed Columbus State Friday at Scarborough Field in day two of the Southeast Regional of the 2011 NCAA Division II Baseball Championship. Hall retired 17 of the 18 batters he faced. The regional is hosted by Mount Olive College.
Mount Olive (43-7) advances to the winner’s bracket final Saturday at 11 a.m. against the winner of Friday’s UNC Pembroke-Catawba game. Columbus State (32-19) is eliminated from the tournament.
Mount Olive went into the top of the eighth trailing 2-1 when Joseph Westbrook drew a one-out walk and slid head first under the tag advancing to second on a wild pitch. Westbrook came with the tying run when Jason Simone singled up the middle. Jacob Rogers followed with his second double of the game and Hayduk was intentionally walked to load the bases. But a squeeze play went awry when the bunt attempt was popped up to Columbus State first baseman Logan Dollar, who doubled up Simone at third.
The double play was the third turned by Columbus State. A line out to first turned into an inning-ending double play and a Trojan baserunning miscue turned into a 5-3-6 double play in the third.
Columbus State starter Tyler Carpenter went nine innings, despite feeling the effects of a line drive off his leg in the fifth inning. Carpenter had held Mount Olive to three hits through the first seven innings.
In the 10th inning, Mount Olive loaded the bases with nobody out as Westbrook led off with a single and the Trojans had runners on second and third on a throwing error on Simone’s sacrifice attempt. Rogers was intentionally walked to bring up Hayduk with the bases loaded. Hayduk lined a 1-0 pitch over the left field fence for his fourth home run of the season and his first collegiate grand slam. In his excitement, Hayduk broke into full sprint and almost caught up to Rogers between third and home.
Hall (5-0) retired the side in order in the 10th, his third straight one-two-three inning. Hall benefitted from a pair of defensive gems in the bottom of the ninth to force extra innings. Second baseman Hayduk made an acrobatic leaping grab on Cameron Scott’s line drive for the first out of the inning. Trojan shortstop Ryan Faison cut across the second base bag and leaped in front of Hayduk to throw out Noah Watkins to end the inning.
Rogers led off the top of the fourth with a double off the 400 foot sign in straightaway center. He went to third on Hayduk’s groundout and scored on Tyler Smith’s groundout to give Mount Olive a 1-0 lead.
Trojan starter Curtis Hudson took a one-hit shutout into the fifth inning before running into trouble. Cameron Griffin led off the inning with a double and Watkins followed with a walk. Hudson forced Griffin on a close play at third, but Eric Weiss singled to load the bases. Justin Pharr then lined a single to left center to put Columbus State on top 2-1.
Hall took over for Hudson and after a sacrifice advanced the runners into scoring position, a foul out to first ended the inning. Hall retired the side in order in the sixth and a two-out walk in the seventh was the only baserunner he allowed.
Friday’s contest marked the fourth NCAA Tournament meeting in the last five years between Mount Olive and Columbus State. The Cougars beat the Trojans twice on the final day to win the 2007 regional. Mount Olive defeated Columbus State 12-2 in the 2008 regional to eliminate the Cougars.
“Both (Curtis) Hudson and (Jeremy) Hall pitched well for us. It was a very well-played game. They had chances to win and so did we. We just scrapped and came out on top. Columbus State played some great defense.”
Mount Olive head coach Carl Lancaster
“I just wanted to be relaxed. They (the three runners on base) did all the work to set the table. I got a pitch up, swung hard, and made solid contact. When you hit one on the sweet spot like that, you don’t even feel it leave the bat. I usually run pretty fast on home runs – maybe I was a little quicker around the bases on this one.”
Mount Olive second baseman Dan Hayduk on his grand slam home run
“I knew early in the game that if I came in, I would be in for an extended time. My job was to hold them at bay so we could rally.”
Mount Olive pitcher Jeremy Hall
"This is a tough way to end the season because we have such a great group of guys, but it just wasn't in the cards for us. I am proud of the fight our team displayed but we came up just short."
Columbus State head coach Greg Appleton