Mount Olive Earns Highest Baseball Ranking Ever

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MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. – Mount Olive earned its highest-ever national ranking in any sport, tying at No. 2 in this week’s Collegiate Baseball Division II Top 30 and taking sole possession of the No. 2 spot in the Ping Baseball Division II Top 30. The Trojans moved up two spots in the Collegiate Baseball Poll and one spot in the Ping Baseball Poll.

In last week’s Ping Baseball Poll, the Trojans matched a school record for the highest national ranking, coming in at No. 3. Mount Olive was ranked No. 3 in the Collegiate Baseball Top 30 during the 1999 baseball season.

Mount Olive (6-1) posted a 4-0 record last week, including a three-game sweep over Lenoir-Rhyne over the weekend. The Trojans scored at least 10 runs in each of their four games and outscored their opponents 45-17.

Defending national champion Tampa (Fla.) holds at No. 1 in both polls. Ouachita Baptist (Ark.), No. 3 in the Ping Baseball Poll, shares the No. 2 spot with the Trojans in the Collegiate Baseball Poll. Mount Olive and Ouachita Baptist each received 456 points in poll, 24 points behind top-ranked Tampa and 26 points ahead of No. 4 Cal State Chico. Mount Olive is the highest ranked of six South Atlantic Region teams in the top 30.

Trojan head coach Carl Lancaster is appreciative of the ranking, but is also quick to put it in perspective.

“It’s an honor to receive such a high ranking, but it’s early,” said Lancaster, last year’s Conference Carolinas Baseball Coach of the Year. “I think the ranking is as much a tribute to what we did last year and to the tradition we’ve built here.”

Mount Olive was ranked No. 6 in last year’s final regular season poll and was the top seed and host for the 2007 NCAA Division II South Atlantic Regional. The Trojans were regional runners-up, coming within a game of advancing to the national finals.

Baseball is one of three Trojan sports teams to earn top 10 national rankings. The Mount Olive men’s basketball was ranked as high as No. 5 during the 2005-06 season and the Trojan men’s soccer team peaked at No. 7 during the 2005 season.

Lancaster notes there will be little, if any, celebration over his team’s ranking.

“As a team, we don’t even discuss the rankings,” said Lancaster. “It’s just a matter of coming out here every day, working hard and playing our game. It’s not about where you start, but rather a matter of how we improve throughout the season.”

Lancaster added, “Of course, this probably makes us a bigger target.”

Mount Olive has six games on tap this week, including the season’s first road trip. The Trojans head to Wingate Wednesday for a doubleheader, then play host to Shippensburg for doubleheaders Saturday and Sunday at Scarborough Field.

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