No. 2 Trojans Extend Winning Streak To 17 - Clinch Regular Season Conference Title

No. 2 Trojans Extend Winning Streak To 17 - Clinch Regular Season Conference Title

Bryan Dunlavey and Mike Mercurio combined for six hits and seven runs batted in, and Alex Regan became the first 10-game winner in the conference as nationally second-ranked Mount Olive extended its winning streak to 17 and completed a three-game series sweep with a 15-4 victory over Limestone in Conference Carolinas baseball Sunday at Scarborough Field. By virtue of the sweep and this weekend's conference results, the Trojans clinched their fourth consecutive regular season conference title and the No. 1 seed in the 2013 Conference Carolinas Baseball Tournament.

For the second time in the series, Mount Olive (39-4 overall, 17-3 Conference Carolinas) broke open a one-run game with a five-run inning. With the Trojans leading 5-4 going into the bottom of the third, Will Bynum and Matt Petrone had rbi-singles and Mike Mercurio added a two-run single to extend Mount Olive's lead to 10-4.

Dunlavey, drove in a run on a fielder's choice in the third, also drove in runs in each of the next two innings with a sacrifice fly and single as the Trojans built the lead to 14-4. Dunlavey went 3-for-4 with three rbi's to go with a pair of stolen bases. He has 32 stolen bases on the season, tops in the conference and 10th best in the nation.

After spotting Limestone a run in the top of the first, Mount Olive used three consecutive two-out hits in the bottom of the first to take a 3-1 lead. Jermaine Berry singled home Bradon Reitano, then scored on Geno Escalante's opposite-field triple to the right field fence. Daniel Oliver followed with a single to drive in Escalante.

Mercurio belted a two-run double in the second to give Mount Olive a 5-1 lead. Mercurio was 3-for-5 with four runs batted in. Bynum also contributed three hits to Mount Olive's 20-hit attack, the third time this season the Trojans have collected 20 hits in a game.

Limestone (20-22, 7-16) struck for three unearned runs in the top of the third to get back into the game. A two-out error gave the Saints runners on first and second, and Cooper Gunter's double to the gap in right-center brought home both runs to cut the lead to 5-3. Gunter scored from second when Kyle Riveria's bouncer to the right side changed directions after hitting the fringe of the infield grass for an rbi-single.

Regan (10-1) got out of trouble in the first inning on a 5-4-3 double play and retired 13 out of 16 batters after the third inning. He allowed only one earned run in seven innings pitched. Josh Frederick and Zach Smith each tossed a scoreless inning to finish the game.

Mount Olive has a 4 1/2 game lead over second-place Coker with only three conference games remaining. The Trojans wrap up conference play next weekend with a three-game series at Pfeiffer. The conference tournament takes place April 25-28 at Burlington, N.C. The Trojans are the three-time defending champions and have won eight of the last 10 conference tournament champions.

The Trojans are at home again Tuesday as Mount Olive plays host to Francis Marion in a non-conference match-up. First pitch is 6 p.m. at Scarborough Field.