No. 9 Trojans collect a pair of walk-off wins over FMU
MOUNT OLIVE – Juniors Mike Kenney and Dylan Jeffries each delivered walk-off hits, as the Trojans swept a doubleheader versus Francis Marion on April 21 at Scarborough Field in Conference Carolinas action, posting a 5-4 win in game one before registering an 8-7 extra-innings victory in game two.
With the wins, the University of Mount Olive baseball team continued its seven-game winning streak and improved to 31-10 this season with a 17-8 mark in conference play. The Trojans continued to keep pace in the league standings for second place alongside UNC Pembroke. Meanwhile, Francis Marion dropped to 24-23 overall with a 15-13 record in league action.
In game one, the Trojans jumped ahead by a 2-0 margin after scoring the opening two frames of the contest before the Patriots countered in the top of the third with an infield RBI single to close the gap, 2-1. In the fourth inning, Francis Marion tied the game at 2-2 on an RBI double to left field before eventually taking the lead in the fifth with an RBI single to left-center, 3-2. In the bottom half of the fifth, Kenney led off with a double down the right field line before a sacrifice bunt advanced him to third. With one out, Jeffries reached base on a fielding error, which allowed Kenney to score to tie the contest at 3-3.
After a scoreless sixth frame, junior Zach Zoltoski drew a one-out walk before advancing to second on a wild pitch. Jeffries followed with an RBI single through the left side to take a 4-3 edge before FMU responded with an RBI single to knot the game at 4-4. In the bottom of the ninth, Kenney stepped to the plate with one out a laced a walk-off homer over the left-field wall, his first of the season, to secure the 5-4 win.
Jeffries finished two for four with one RBI, and one run scored while senior J.T. Stone went two for four with one run scored. Kenney at the plate went two for four with a solo homer and two runs scored.
Junior Hayden Myrick earned the win (3-1) after tossing the final inning in relief with one hit allowed. Senior Dawson Gause started the contest and yielded three runs on six hits with four strikeouts in 4 2/3 innings pitched. Junior Ethan Imbimbo entered in relief and surrendered one run on one hit with four strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings of relief.
In game two, the Patriots leaped in front by a 1-0 margin after scoring on a throwing error by the pitcher in the top of the first inning. In the bottom half, junior Vito Patierno launched a solo homer to left field, his third of the season, to tie the contest at 1-1. After retiring the side in order in the top of the second, the Trojans took the lead with an RBI double to right-center from Zoltoski, 2-1. In the bottom of the third, UMO stretched the advantage to 3-1 on an RBI groundout by sophomore Cooper George before Francis Marion countered in the fourth with RBI double down the left-field line to cut the deficit to 3-2. The Patriots regained the lead in the top of the fifth with three runs on three hits, highlighted by a two-run homer to left field, 5-3. The Patriots extended their advantage in the top of the sixth after scoring on a wild pitch, 6-3.
The Trojan offense answered in the bottom half of the sixth with an RBI single through the left side by Patierno before senior Jack Casbarro reached on a fielder’s choice following a muffed throw to put runners in scoring position. The next at-bat, graduate student Landon Choboy delivered a two-run single through the right side to tie the game at 6-6. After a scoreless seventh, FMU reclaimed the lead in the top of the eighth with an RBI groundout, but UMO countered after scoring on a wild pitch to knot the game at 7-7. In the bottom of the ninth, senior Joshua Jones led off with a single to center field before advancing to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Jeffries produced a walk-off single to left field to score Jones and earn an 8-7 victory.
Patierno finished three for four with one homer, two RBI, three runs scored, and a walk while Choboy went three for five with two RBI.
Junior Andrew Ledbetter secured the win (3-2) after pitching the final inning with two strikeouts and one walk while surrendering one hit. Senior Cole Newgaard pitched effectively in relief, yielding one unearned run on two hits with two strikeouts in three innings.
— From University of Mount Olive Athletics