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March 3, 2024 9:14 pm

UMO defeats UNCP to advance to title game

GASTONIA – Behind a three home run performance from graduate student Landon Choboy, the Trojans cruised to a 21-1 run-rule victory over UNC Pembroke in the semifinals on May 7 to advance to the Conference Carolinas Championship Finals.

With the win, the University of Mount Olive baseball team improved to 35-15 overall and advance to the title game of the league tournament against Francis Marion. Meanwhile, UNC Pembroke fell to 38-15 this season and were eliminated after entering the tournament as the No. 3 seed.

The Trojans established an early lead after scoring six runs on five hits in the top of the first inning. After a pair of runners reached base with one out, Choboy launched a three-run homer to center field, his second of the tournament, to take a 3-0 edge. Following a walk, sophomore Cooper George laced an RBI double down the left-field line, 4-0. The next at-bat, junior Alden Cottle delivered an RBI double to right-center before junior Mike Kenney registered an RBI single up the middle, 6-0. In the bottom half, the Braves answered back with an RBI single to right-center to cut the deficit to 6-1.

In the top of the second, Mount Olive reached base on consecutive hit by pitches before executing a double steal to move the runners into scoring position. Choboy produced an RBI on a ground out before a wild pitch allowed senior Jack Casbarro to score from third, 8-1. The following at-bat, senior J.T. Stone belted his fourth home run of the tournament to stretch to advantage to 9-1. Later in the frame, senior Joshua Jones hit an RBI single to left field to give the Trojans a 10-1 lead. The Trojans continued to build their advantage in the third after Casbarro ripped a two-run double down the left field line before Choboy blasted a two-run homer to left field, his second of the game, to extend the lead to 14-1.

The Trojans added three more runs in the top of the fourth after junior Dylan Jeffries laced a two-run double to left field before Casbarro tallied an RBI on a single to left field, 17-1. Mount Olive scored on a wild pitch in the fifth frame to stretch the lead to 18-1. In the sixth, UMO had a pair of runners reach base on a fielder’s choice and an error before Choboy launched his third homer of the game to give UMO a 21-1 advantage.

Senior Hunter Stevens earned the win (1-1) after a dominant performance on the mound. He surrendered one run on five hits with eight strikeouts and one walk over five innings pitched. Sophomore Tristan Purser registered two innings of scoreless relief with two strikeouts and one walk to finish the game.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics