WILSON – The No. 12 Trojans combined for 24 strikeouts in a doubleheader sweep at Barton on Feb. 11 in non-conference action, posting a 2-0 shutout in game one before earning a 9-6 victory in game two.
With the sweep, the University of Mount Olive baseball team improved to 2-1. The two rivals met on short notice this week after weather concerns and cancellations left both teams looking for a replacement opponent. Meanwhile, Barton dropped to 2-4 this spring after beginning the season with a three game series versus nationally ranked Millersville.
In game one, senior Caleb Irwin earned the win (1-0) in his season debut by tossing six scoreless innings with seven strikeouts and two walks while scattering six hits. A Murphy product, he forced seven groundouts and two fly outs while leaving six runners in scoring position. Fellow senior Dawson Gause collected the save after yielding just three hits with five strikeouts and one walk in three innings of scoreless relief.
The Trojans worked out of trouble in the bottom of the first inning after a pair of walks and a single loaded the bases with two outs. The following at-bat, Irwin registered the swing-and-miss strikeout to leave three runners stranded. After a scoreless second inning, junior Dylan Jeffries delivered a critical two-out double to right-center before scoring on a fielding error by the shortstop for a 1-0 UMO lead. Barton left a runner in scoring position in four of the following six frames but was unable to score the tying run. In the top of the ninth, junior Vito Patierno earned a walk before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt. With one out, graduate student Landon Choboy laced a triple to right field to extend the lead to 2-0. Barton managed a pair of singles in the bottom half of the inning before a fly-out to right field secured the victory.
Jeffries finished two for two with one run scored and a walk, while Choboy and senior Joshua Jones registered extra-base hits.
In game two, the Trojans got on the board in the first inning after senior Jack Casbarro posted a single before stealing back-to-back bases to reach third. Junior Alden Cottle recorded the RBI on a groundout before Jones hammered a homer to left field to stretch the advantage to 2-0. In the top of the second, Mount Olive brought another run across the plate on an RBI single by Casbarro to lead 3-0. Over the next two frames, the Trojans left a total of five runners on base, including four in scoring position.
UMO brought in three runs on two hits in the top of the fifth after loading the bases on two hit by pitches and an error. Casbarro stepped up the following at-bat and delivered a two-run single to right field for a 5-0 UMO lead. After a pitching change, Patierno registered an RBI single to left field to give the Trojans a 6-0 advantage. In the sixth inning, the Trojans tallied three additional insurance runs off a two-run single from Jeffries before a runner scored on an error to increase the lead to 9-0. Barton halted the scoreless drought in the bottom half of the sixth with a two-run single before leaving the bases loaded in the seventh. The Bulldogs registered four more runs in the ninth inning before Mount Olive sealed the win.
Casbarro went three for six with three RBI, one run scored and three stolen bases in the win. Jones also finished three for six with a solo homer, while sophomore Cooper George went two for three with three runs scored and one walk.
Junior Hayden Myrick earned the win (1-0) in his debut with the program after transferring from Gaston College. He yielded two runs (all earned) on seven hits with 11 strikeouts and three walks over eight innings pitched.
— From University of Mount Olive Athletics