Trojans Defeat Armstrong 7-3 - Remain Unbeaten In Southeast Regional

Trojans Defeat Armstrong 7-3 - Remain Unbeaten In Southeast Regional

Daniel Oliver's sixth-inning three-run homer put Mount Olive ahead to stay and shortstop Mike Mercurio thwarted a rally with an unassisted double play as the top-seeded and the nationally top-ranked Trojans remained unbeaten with a 7-3 victory over No. 4 seed Armstrong Atlantic State University in the Southeast Regional of the 2013 NCAA Division II Baseball Championship Friday at Mount Olive, N.C. Mount Olive College is the host for the regional.

Mount Olive (48-6) advances to the winner's bracket final Saturday at 11 a.m. against the winner of Friday night's contest between No. 2 seed USC Aiken and No. 4 seed Coker. Armstrong (31-17) is eliminated from the regional.

Trailing 3-1 going into the top of the sixth, Mount Olive had runners on first and second with nobody out as Mercurio drew a leadoff walk and Jermaine Berry singled to center. Armstrong starter Chris Base (4-5) retired the next two batters on a flyout to right field and a strikeout before Oliver turned the tide in the game. Oliver blasted a 1-1 pitch high over the fence down the left field line and the third base umpire signaled fair ball as the Trojans took their first lead at 4-3. The home run was Oliver's eighth of the season.

Mount Olive added two more runs in the seventh on rbi-singles by Berry and Geno Escalante, and Oliver narrowly missed another three-run homer as his drive was ruled just outside the left field foul pole. Escalante added an opposite-field home run to right in the ninth, his 10th home run of the season.

Armstrong collected 12 hits off of Trojan starter Matt Dillon (11-1), who went the distance and benefited from defensive help. Trojan left fielder Matt Petrone had two assists as Mercurio relayed a throw to nail a runner at second base in the third inning and Berry relayed a throw in the fifth to gun down a runner at the plate. Chris Fritts and Casey Sherlin had rbi-singles for Armstrong to give the Pirates an early lead.

The Pirates put runners on first and second with nobody out in the bottom of the eighth as Chase Butler beat out an infield single and R.J. Dennard drew a walk. Clayton Miller followed with a line drive to the left side and Mercurio went up to attempt a leaping catch. The ball was in Mercurio's webbing, but came out after he landed on the infield dirt. Mercurio picked up the ball, tagged Butler and stepped on second for the double play. Dillon got one of his seven strikeouts to end the inning.

Mount Olive goes into day three unbeaten for the second time in the last three years and the fourth time in the Trojans' last five NCAA II Southeast Regional appearances.