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April 17, 2024 4:23 am

Trojans advance past Belmont Abbey

GASTONIA – Behind a complete-game performance from freshman Carson Gipson, the University of Mount Olive baseball team registered a 13-2 run-rule victory over Belmont Abbey in an elimination game on May 6 at CaroMont Health Park.

With the win, the Trojans improved to 34-15 overall and secured a critical regionally ranked win to advance to Championship Sunday. Meanwhile, the Crusaders fell to 38-16 this season after entering the conference tournament at No. 3 in the Southeast Regional rankings.

In just his fourth start of the season, Gipson delivered a career-best performance in the league tournament after tossing a seven-inning complete game victory to improve to 5-0 on the mound. The freshman from Pikeville yielded two runs on six hits with two strikeouts and two walks on Saturday.

In the bottom of the first, Dylan Jeffries produced a leadoff single through the right side, followed by back-to-back singles to load the bases with no outs. The next at-bat, graduate student Landon Choboy launched a grand slam to center field, his fourth homer of the year, to give UMO a quick 4-0 advantage. After a scoreless second inning, the Trojans added to the lead with three runs on three hits. Choboy led off with a single to right field before a walk and a ground out placed a pair of runners into scoring position. With two outs, senior Joshua Jones posted a two-run double down the left-field line before junior Mike Kenney laced an RBI single through the left side, 7-0.

UMO continued its offensive surge in the fourth after junior Vito Patierno drew a leadoff walk to start the inning. Senior Jack Casbarro and Choboy recorded consecutive singles before fellow senior J.T. Stone delivered a sacrifice fly to right field, 8-0. Following a double steal, sophomore Cooper George ripped a two-run single to right field before junior Alden Cottle had an RBI double to right-center, 10-0. In the fifth frame, the Trojans scored on an RBI ground out from Stone before later tallying a run on a fielding error, 13-0. The Crusaders got on the board in the top of the sixth with a two-run homer to right field to cut the deficit to 13-2. Gipson closed out the game in the bottom of the seventh inning to secure the 13-2 run-rule win.

Choboy finished the game three for four with a grand slam, four RBI, three runs scored, and a stolen base. Casbarro went three for four with three runs scored and a stolen base, while Patierno produced a pair of hits, three runs scored, and two walks.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics