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July 24, 2024 7:51 am

UMO captures Conference Carolinas championship

GASTONIA – After tallying three homers and 16 hits, the University of Mount Olive baseball program secured a 13-3 run-rule victory over Francis Marion to capture its 15th Conference Carolinas Tournament Championship on May 7.

With the win, the Trojans improved to 36-15 overall and secured an automatic qualifier to the NCAA Southeast Regional. Mount Olive won four straight elimination games to secure its first league tournament title since 2017 and 15th all-time in the Conference Carolinas. The Trojans entered the conference tournament as the No. 4 seed and clinched two victories on Sunday over UNC Pembroke and Francis Marion, while finishing the week with a 4-1 record. Meanwhile, the Patriots concluded their season with a 29-25 record after advancing to the finals as the No. 6 seed.

Graduate student Landon Choboy was named the Tournament MVP after hitting .435 (10-of-23) with five homers, 21 RBI, and eight runs scored over five games. Additionally, senior J.T. Stone, senior Joshua Jones, senior Jack Casbarro and junior Vito Patierno were named to the all-tournament team.

Over the five games at the tournament, Mount Olive hit .397 as a team with 71 hits, 13 homers, 19 doubles, 65 runs scored, 22 walks and 10 stolen bases.

In the bottom of the first inning, junior Dylan Jeffries led off with an infield single to third base before Casbarro laced a double down the left field line. With runners in scoring position, Choboy produced an RBI on a ground out before Stone registered an RBI single to center field, 2-0. Stone advanced to second on a stolen base before sophomore Cooper George doubled to center for an RBI to stretch the advantage to 3-0.

Francis Marion countered in the top of the second with a two-run single to left field to close the gap to 3-2. In the bottom of the third, Patierno delivered a leadoff double to center field before advancing to third on a flyout. With one out, Choboy tallied an RBI off a groundout before Stone launched a solo homer to right center, his fifth of the tournament, to extend the lead to 5-2. The Patriots cut the deficit to 5-3 in the fifth frame on an RBI single before the Trojans answered in the bottom half. Patierno drew a leadoff walk before Casbarro recorded a double down the right field line to place runners in scoring position. With one out, Stone was intentionally walked to load the bases before George ripped a two-run single up the middle to give the Trojans a 7-3 edge.

In the seventh, Mount Olive scored six runs on six hits to complete the 13-3 run-rule victory. Casbarro started the frame with an infield single before Choboy blasted a two-run homer to left field to stretch the lead to 9-3. With one out, George registered a double to left field before junior Alden Cottle belted a two-run homer to right field, his fourth of the year, to hold an 11-3 advantage. Later in the frame, junior Mike Kenney reached base on a walk before scoring on a throwing error following a single from Jeffries, 12-3. Patierno followed with a walk before Casbarro, in his second at-bat of the inning, delivered the game-winning RBI single to left field, 13-3.

Senior Dawson Gause earned the win (2-2) after tossing the final 2 2/3 innings and totaling two strikeouts with zero runs and hits surrendered. Junior Justin Koehler recorded the start and yielded two runs on three hits in two innings on the mound. Fellow junior Andrew Ledbetter entered in relief and worked 2 1/3 innings with one run allowed on three hits with two strikeouts.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics