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May 24, 2024 1:49 pm

UMO dealt loss at Catawba in season opener

SALISBURY – The No. 12 ranked University of Mount Olive baseball team was unable to overcome an eight-run fourth inning in a 12-5 loss at Catawba on Feb. 7 in non-conference play.

In the top of the first, junior left fielder Vito Patierno reached base on an infield single before stealing second base. He would advance on a fielding error and scored on a groundout as the Trojans established an early 1-0 lead. After a scoreless second frame, senior second baseman Jack Casbarro laced a double down the left-field line and eventually stole third base. Patierno stepped to the plate and delivered an RBI single to left field to increase the advantage to 2-0 in the third. The Trojans brought across three more runs in the top of the fourth after opening the frame with back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases. A pair of wild pitches scored two runners before Patierno produced another RBI single to stretch the lead to 5-0.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Indians responded with a massive eight-run inning on seven hits to take an 8-5 advantage. Catawba registered four extra-base hits in the frame, highlighted by a grand slam to left-center field. The Indians scored one run in the bottom of the fifth on a sacrifice fly to increase the lead to 9-5. In the bottom of the sixth, Catawba recorded its third homer of the game, a three-run blast to left field to extend the advantage to 12-5.

The Trojans managed just two hits over the final five innings while stranding five runners on base, including two in scoring position. UMO featured a trio of players with at least two hits on Tuesday. Patierno went three for five with two RBI, one run scored and one stolen base. Senior Joshua Jones finished two for five with one RBI, while junior transfer Mike Kenney went two for four with one run scored in his debut with the program.

Mount Olive brought a total of eight pitchers to the mound in the loss. Senior Dawson Gause earned the opening day start and tossed two scoreless innings with one strikeout. Fellow senior Blake Gipson was saddled with the loss (0-1) after surrendering six runs on five hits with one walk in 1 1/3 innings. Junior Andrew Ledbetter also had a solid relief appearance after scattering two hits with two strikeouts over 1 2/3 scoreless innings.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics