Jesse Lancaster’s rbi-single ignited a five-run fifth inning and Weston Curles allowed only four hits in seven innings as nationally top-ranked Mount Olive defeated Shepherd 8-3 in non-conference baseball Tuesday at Scarborough Field. The Trojans collected 14 hits and had seven stolen bases on their way to their fourth straight win and 27th in their last 28 games..
Mount Olive (29-2) got on the scoreboard in the bottom of the second as Josh Harrison singled with one out, stole second and scored on Tyler Smith’s double to left. Smith, a freshman from Kinston, N.C., came within inches of his first collegiate home run as the ball hit just below the top of the fence.
The Trojans manufactured another run in the third as David Cooper hit a leadoff single, went to second on a balk and stole third. Alex Vertcnik’s sacrifice fly gave Mount Olive a 2-0 lead. Cooper finished the night with three hits and three stolen bases.
Mount Olive broke the game open in the fifth as Anthony Williams drew a leadoff walk and Cooper singled through the right side. Lancaster hit a fly ball that landed just inside the right field line, scoring Williams from second. After the runners advanced on a double steal, Vertcnik’s single plated Cooper to extend the lead to 4-0.
The Trojans added two more runs in the inning on sacrifice flies by Erik Lovett and Harrison. Jason Sherrer, who reached on a single, stole second and came home on Rich Racobaldo’s single to left center to make it a 7-0 game. Mount Olive stole four bases in the inning.
Shepherd (6-7) got on the scoreboard in the sixth as the Rams loaded the bases with one out. Chris Wilkins drew a one-out walk, Trey Stewart singled and Josh Wenderoth reached on an error. But the Rams’ lone run of the inning came on Dirk Webb’s sacrifice fly as Curles got out of the jam with a strikeout.
Shepherd added another run in the top of the seventh as Justin Everhart led off the inning with a home run. The home run was the first of the season for Everhart, who entered the game with only four at-bats this year.
Curles (3-0) allowed a one-out single in the inning, but closed it out with a strike out and a line out. Anthony Hernandez pitched the final two innings for the Trojans.
Mount Olive added a run in unusual fashion in the bottom of the seventh as Andy Hilliard struck out with one out, but reached first on a wild pitch. Another wild pitch moved Hilliard to second, and after what would have been the third out, Harrison drove in the Trojans’ final run of the game with a single to center.
Dirk Webb belted a two-out solo home run in the top of the eighth to complete the scoring.
Curles allowed two runs, striking out five and walking two. Hernandez retired the side in order in the ninth.
Shepherd starter Brian Stern (0-2) pitched 4 2/3 innings and took the loss. Freddie Peters allowed one run and struck out three in 3 1/3 innings of relief.
The two teams conclude their two-game series Wednesday at Scarborough Field. Originally scheduled as an evening game, the contest was moved up to an afternoon start due to the threat of rain. Game time is 2 p.m.