No. 1 Mount Olive Baseball Team Wins Again

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Jason Sherrer’s walk-off two-run double with nobody out capped a three-run seventh inning as nationally top-ranked Mount Olive rallied to extend its winning streak to 23 with a 5-4 victory over Bryant in game two of a non-conference baseball doubleheader Wednesday at Scarborough Field. Sherrer also sparked the offense in the Trojans’ 12-4 win in the opener, driving in six runs with a pair of three-run homers.

Mount Olive (25-1) jumped out to a 2-0 lead in game one as David Cooper drew a leadoff walk and eventually scored from second on Alex Vertcnik’s single to right. The Trojans loaded the bases and Vertcnik scored on Josh Harrison’s sacrifice fly.

Bryant (8-6) rallied for three runs in the top of the second with five consecutive hits, including two for extra bases. Jeff Vigurs and Pat O’Connor hit one-out singles and both runners scored on Dylan Stone’s triple to center. Mark Dondero put the Bulldogs ahead 3-2 with an rbi-double and went to third on Dave Muscatello’s single. Taylor Ferguson walked to load the bases, but Trojan pitcher Weston Curles got out of the inning on a 5-3 double play.

Bryant added a run in the third on back-to-back doubles by Pat McKenna and Vigurs. Kyle Jones took over for Curles and retired the next two batters on ground outs.

Mount Olive used the long ball in the bottom of the third to regain the lead. After Vertcnik reached on an error and Lovett followed with a single, Sherrer cleared the bases with his sixth home run of the season to put the Trojans back on top 5-4.

Lancaster hit a one-out solo home run in the fourth and Lovett added a two-run shot over the center field fence to extend the Trojans’ lead to 8-4. Lancaster’s home run was his second of the season, Lovett’s homer his team-leading seventh.

Bryant threatened in the top of the fifth with runners on second and third with two outs. But Trojan shortstop Cooper robbed O’Connor of a two-run single with a backhand stop on a hard bouncer on the left side for the final out.

In the bottom of the sixth, Vertcnik drew a leadoff walk and Lovett was hit by a pitch. Sherrer then sent an 0-1 offering over the left field fence to make it an 11-4 game. Rich Racobaldo hit a one-out triple and scored on Jackson Massey’s pinch-hit sacrifice fly.

Jones (1-0) retired nine of 10 batters in 2 2/3 scoreless innings for the win. Bryant starter Luke Cowan (0-1) took the loss.

In the nightcap, Bryant used a two-out error to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the third. The Trojans had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of the first, but were held to one run and left the bases full. Racobaldo drove in a run when he was hit by a pitch.

Bryant regained the lead in the third after Jason Alexander’s sacrifice moved two runners into scoring position. Muscatello scored on Campbell’s rbi-ground out and Ferguson came home on an error to give the Bulldogs a 3-1 lead.

The Trojans got a run back in the bottom half of the inning when Harrison homered high above the right field fence. The home run was his fifth of the season.

Bryant extended the lead to 4-2 when Ferguson led off the fifth with a double, went to third on Alexander’s sacrifice and scored on Campbell’s ground out to second. Ferguson scored three of the Bulldogs’ four runs.

Mount Olive escaped trouble in the top of the sixth when Vigurs led off with a single and advanced to second. Patrick Ball (1-1) took over on the mound for starter Lancaster and sandwiched a fly out and a strike out around a walk to keep the Bulldogs off the board.

Bryant starter Brett Almeida entered the game having allowed seven runs in four innings, but handcuffed the Trojans to two runs on six hits. Eric Polvani retired the side in order in the sixth for the Bulldogs. Mount Olive’s winning streak appeared to be in jeopardy when closer Adam Vuolo, who was 1-0 with two saves and a 0.00 earned run average in his first four appearances, started the seventh.

Cooper led off the inning with an opposite-field single through the left side and Vertcnik singled up the middle. The Trojans loaded the bases when Vertcnik beat the throw to second on Harrison’s sacrifice attempt. Lovett pulled Mount Olive within 4-3 on a line single off the glove of second baseman Muscatello. Sherrer then drove a pitch to the left field fence to drive in the winning runs, coming within 10 feet of a walk-off grand slam.

For the day, Sherrer was 4-for-6 with nine runs batted in.

The two teams conclude their three-game series with a single game Thursday at Scarborough Field. First pitch is 6 p.m.