GAFFNEY, S.C. – Jesse Lancaster belted a pair of two-run homers, the second home run highlighting a tie-breaking 10-run seventh inning as nationally top-ranked Mount Olive defeated Limestone 16-5 in Conference Carolinas baseball Saturday at Gaffney, S.C. Rich Racobaldo added three doubles and five runs batted in as the Trojans extended their winning streak to eight and swept their fifth straight conference series to remain unbeaten in conference play. The Trojans have won 31 of their last 32 games.
Mount Olive (33-2 overall, 15-0 Conference Carolinas) fell behind 3-0 for the second consecutive game as Limestone struck for a run in the bottom of the first and two in the second. A.J. Bshara keyed both second-inning runs, driving in a run with a single and scoring on an rbi-ground out.
The Trojans evened the score in the top of the fourth as Erik Lovett and Jason Sherrer drew back-to-back one-out walks. Josh Harrison and Racobaldo followed with back-to-back doubles, as Racobaldo’s two-run shot tied the game 3-3.
Mount Olive took its first lead of the game one inning later as David Cooper hit a leadoff single and Lancaster followed with his third home run of the season to make the score 5-3.
Limestone (18-17, 9-9) came back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth. Phillip Soden hit his second sacrifice fly of the game and Adam McSwain singled home a run as the Saints tied the game 5-5. The score remained tied until the floodgates opened in the top of the seventh.
Cooper beat out a bunt single to lead off the inning and went to third on Lancaster’s hit-and-run single. Cooper came home on an infield error and Lovett walked to load the bases. Lancaster scored on a wild pitch and Sherrer drew a walk to load the bases again.
Limestone got a force at the plate for the first out, but a wild pitch brought home Lovett and advanced Harrison and Sherrer to second and third. Racobaldo’s double brought home both runners to make the score 10-5.
Dylan Holton doubled home Racobaldo, went to third on a ground out and scored on Cooper’s second single of the inning. Lancaster then drove a pitch over the center field fence to extend the Trojans’ lead to 14-5. After the second pitching change of the inning, Alex Vertcnik made it back-to-back home runs to cap the scoring.
Racobaldo added another rbi-double in the eighth inning. His three doubles tie a school record set by Stephen Nordan in 2005 and tied by Lovett earlier this season.
Lancaster, who did not homer during his freshman year, entered Saturday’s game with two home runs on the season. Vertcnik’s home run was his second of the year.
Michael Williams (6-0) struck out four and allowed five runs and nine hits in seven innings. Anthony Hernandez and Paul Novicki each pitched a scoreless inning in relief.
Mount Olive has won 14 consecutive conference series, dating back to 2006. Including conference tournament games and regular season non-conference contests, the Trojans are 49-4 in their last 53 games against Conference Carolinas opponents.
The Trojans’ 33-2 mark is the second best in school history after 35 games. Mount Olive was 34-1 after 35 games in 1999.
Mount Olive returns to action Tuesday as the Trojans play host to Catawba in a non-conference doubleheader at Scarborough Field. Game time is 2:30 p.m.