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April 17, 2024 5:10 am

UMO advances past Georgia Southwestern

TIGERVILLE, S.C. – Sophomore Cooper George went a perfect four for four at the plate with two RBI and two runs scored as the Trojans claimed a 5-4 victory over No. 19 Georgia Southwestern in the opening game of the Southeast Regional on May 18 at Ashmore Park on the campus of North Greenville.

With the win, the University of Mount Olive baseball team improved to 37-15 overall and advanced to play No. 1 ranked North Greenville. The Trojans picked up their first win in the NCAA Tournament since May 29, 2021, when they defeated Catawba by a 6-5 margin in Tigerville. Meanwhile, Georgia Southwestern, the Peach Belt Conference Champion, dropped to 34-18 this season after entering the regional event on an eight game-winning streak.

The Trojans offense tallied 12 hits with three players delivering multi-hit performances. Batting No. 6 in the lineup, George tallied four hits, two RBI, two runs scored and one stolen base. Junior Mike Kenney finished three for four with one RBI and one run scored, while senior Jack Casbarro went two for four at the plate.

In the initial three innings, the Hurricanes stranded four runners on base, including three in scoring position, as the contest remained scoreless. Graduate student Landon Choboy produced a ground-rule double to right center with one out in the bottom of the fourth before reaching third on a fielding error by the second baseman. With runners on the corners, George laced an RBI single to give UMO the early 1-0 edge. In the top of the fifth, the Trojans escaped a bases loaded jam following a call to the bullpen before adding to the lead in the bottom half with an RBI double down the left-field line by junior Dylan Jeffries that gave the Trojans a 2-0 advantage.

Mount Olive extended the lead in the bottom of the sixth with back-to-back RBI doubles from George and junior Alden Cottle to take a 4-0 advantage. After a scoreless seventh frame, the Trojans stretched the lead to 5-0 behind an RBI single to right-center field from Kenney. Georgia Southwestern rallied in the top of the ninth with a sacrifice fly to left field before belting a three-run homer to right-center to cut the deficit to 5-4. The Trojans closed out the game with a fly out and a fielder’s choice to secure the win.

Senior Hunter Stevens earned the start and yielded just two hits in 4 2/3 scoreless innings on the mound. Junior Ethan Imbimbo claimed the win (2-0) after surrendering two earned runs on one hit with four strikeouts in 3 1/3 innings of relief. Fellow junior Hayden Myrick secured his fourth save of the season after retiring the final two batters.

— From University of Mount Olive Athletics