MURFREESBORO. – Following a 13-strikeout performance from starter Erik Johnson, the Trojans split a doubleheader at Chowan in Conference Carolinas play on March 11, falling late in a 12-9 loss in game one before registering a 9-1 win in game two.
With the split, the Trojans moved to 14-5 overall with a 5-3 record in conference play. Meanwhile, the Hawks stand at 3-16 this season with a 2-9 mark in league action.
In game two, Johnson delivered a stellar performance on the mound after surrendering one run on three hits with a season-high 13 strikeouts to earn the complete game win (2-1) in 7 innings pitched. He set down the side in order four times while forcing four flyouts and four groundouts. Jonhson leads the team with 34 strikeouts and 30 innings pitched.
Chowan established an early 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the first with an RBI single up the middle. Following two scoreless innings, the Trojans brought across three runs on four hits to take the lead. After a fielder’s choice, senior J.T. Stone stepped to the plate with one out and blasted a two-run homer to right field, his first of the season, to give UMO a 2-1 advantage. Sophomore Cooper George followed with a single to left field before advancing on a wild pitch. The next at-bat, graduate student Landon Choboy laced an RBI single to left field to extend the lead to 3-1.
In the top of the fifth, junior Dylan Jeffries belted his team-leading fourth home run of the year to left field to stretch the lead to 4-1 before UMO scored three more times in the sixth. Jeffries and junior Mike Kenney each registered an RBI in the frame, as the Trojans took a 7-1 lead. In the top of the seventh, Choboy added some insurance runs with a two-run homer to right-center, his first of the year for the final score of 9-1.
Choboy went 2 for 3 with a three-run homer, two runs scored and a walk, while Kenney finished 2 for 4 with one RBI, one run scored and a stolen base. Jeffries also recorded a pair of hits, including a solo homer, two RBI, two runs scored and two stolen bases.
In game one, the Hawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the second with a three-run homer to right field. Mount Olive immediately responded with four runs in the top of the third after a walk and a single to right field placed runners on the corners. Junior Vito Patierno followed with an RBI single to cut the deficit to 3-1 before a hit by pitch loaded the bases. Stone produced a sacrifice fly to left field and Choboy recorded a two-run single to give UMO a 4-3 advantage. In the top of the fourth, the Trojans extended the lead to 6-3 on an RBI double from Jeffries and a groundout RBI by Patierno.
The Hawks rallied late, scoring nine runs on four hits and three walks in the seventh and eighth innings combined to reclaim the lead 12-6. Mount Olive attempted to recover in the top of the ninth after totaling three runs on five hits with RBIs from Stone, Choboy and senior Gordon Pihl, but Chowan escaped with the 12-9 win.
Junior Hayden Myrick was saddled with the loss (1-1) after yielding four runs (two earned) on two hits in 1.1 innings of relief. Senior Caleb Irwin earned the start and tossed 6 innings with three runs surrendered on eight hits with eight strikeouts.
— From University of Mount Olive Athletics