MOUNT OLIVE – Despite three homers and five doubles, the No. 9 University of Mount Olive baseball team fell short by a 12-11 margin in the series finale versus Francis Marion on April 23 at Scarborough Field on Senior Day.
With the loss, the Trojans still claimed the series win while falling to 31-11 overall with a 17-9 record in league action. Entering the final week of the regular season, UMO and UNC Pembroke are tied for second place in the conference standings with a three-game series between the sides still to be played. Meanwhile, the Patriots improved to 25-23 this season with a 15-14 mark in conference play.
In the top of the first, a Francis Marion batter reached base on a leadoff error in the outfield before scoring later in the inning on an RBI single up the middle, 1-0. Mount Olive answered in the bottom half with a sacrifice fly from senior Jack Casbarro to tie the contest at 1-1. The Trojans jumped ahead in the bottom of the second after totaling two runs on three hits. Following three consecutive walks, junior Zach Zoltoski laced an RBI single to center field to give UMO a 2-1 edge. With two outs, fellow junior Vito Patierno delivered a two-run double down the left-field line to stretch the lead to 4-1. In the bottom of the third, the Trojans drew a leadoff walk before sophomore Cooper George blasted a two-run homer to left field, his first of the year, to give UMO a 6-1 advantage. Later in the frame, junior Mike Kenney delivered a solo homer to left-center to extend the lead to 7-1.
The Patriots responded in the fourth inning with a sacrifice fly and an RBI single through the right side to cut the deficit to 7-3. In the top of the fifth, Francis Marion closed the gap to 7-5 following a two-run homer to left field, but Mount Olive countered in the bottom half of the frame. George produced a leadoff double down the left-field line before senior Joshua Jones ripped a one-out RBI double to left-center, 8-5. With two outs, UMO brought another run across the plate after a throwing error by the shortstop, 9-5. Francis Marion responded in the sixth inning with five runs on three hits while capitalizing on two errors to regain the lead, 10-9. Mount Olive tied the game at 10-10 in the bottom of the seventh with a leadoff solo homer from senior J.T. Stone, his sixth of the season. The Patriots once again answered in the eighth with an RBI single to left field before an RBI double to center field to take a 12-10 edge. UMO trimmed the deficit to 12-11 in the bottom half with a sacrifice fly by George. The Trojans would ultimately strand the game-tying run in scoring position in the final two innings to fall by a 12-11 margin.
Senior Trey Deutsch suffered the loss (1-1) after yielding two runs on three hits with one strikeout in 1 1/3 innings pitched. Fellow senior Hunter Stevens earned the start and took a no-decision after surrendering one unearned run on one hit with five strikeouts in three innings.
— From University of Mount Olive Athletics