Nationally 4th-Ranked Trojans Take Series Opener From Coker 16-1

Nationally 4th-Ranked Trojans Take Series Opener From Coker 16-1

Mount Olive sophomore Alex Regan improved to 7-1 with seven strong innings, and the Trojan offense batted around in the second and third innings en route to a 16-1 Conference Carolinas baseball win over Coker Friday night at Scarborough Field.

Regan gave up a first-inning run, then settled down to limit the Cobras to five hits, while striking out six in the victory. Senior Matt Hinkle tossed two scores innings to close out the win. For Hinkle, it was his first mound appearance since earning a win against Millersville in the 2011 NCAA Division II Baseball National Finals. He missed all of last season with an injury.

The Trojans came alive in the bottom of the second, trailing 1-0. A single by Jermaine Berry, an error, and a fielder's choice allowed the Trojans to load the bases for Daniel Oliver. Oliver looped a single to right that landed just beyond the glove of a diving Ernie Kirkwood, bringing home the tying and go-ahead runs. The Trojans never looked back. A single by Zak Orrison brought in one, then Braden Reitano doubled in two for a six-run inning.

An inning later, Mount Olive blew the game wide open. Berry again got things going with his second consecutive infield single. He got to trot home moments later on Geno Escalante's fourth home run of the season over the right field wall. After a Bretton Gouthro single, Bryan Dunlavey walked and Orrison singled to set the stage for Matt Petrone. Petrone chased home two more runners with a triple to the right-centerfield gap, then scored on Reitano's single for an 11-1 cushion.

The Cobras (18-5,8-5) had opportunities to whittle away at the lead in the middle innings, but Mount Olive's defense rose to the occasion. An error and a single put runners on the corners in the third with one out before Regan coaxed a ground ball to Berry, who quickly started a 5-4-3 double play. In the fourth and fifth, Coker got two-out doubles, that went for naught. In the fifth, Justin Blechle tried to stretch his double into a triple and was gunned down at third to end the threat.

Coker's biggest threat came in Regan's last inning when they loaded the bases in the seventh on an infield single, a walk and a hit-batsman. T.J. Giczkowski lined out to center to end the inning.

Mount Olive added a pair of runs in the third on a sacrifice fly by Dunlavey and an RBI-single by Orrison. Berry's two-out double in the seventh brought home Mike Mercurio, then a throwing error in the eighth allowed two Trojans to race home.

The Trojans teams conclude their weekend series Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at noon.