Mount Olive, North Carolina ---A National Championship Team, an 1,100 career win coach, and five former Trojans make up this year's University of Mount Olive Athletics Hall of Fame Class. The 2008 Baseball team, former Head Baseball Coach Carl Lancaster, and former baseball student-athletes David Cooper, Casey Hodges, Erik Lovett, Jason Sherrer, and Ryan Schlecht will be inducted into the UMO Athletics Hall of Fame in November during the 53rd Annual Pickle Classic Weekend.
"This will be a unique hall of fame induction because it will focus on Trojan baseball, particularly the 2008 national championship team. It will also be a chance to pay tribute to Coach Lancaster for all he's done for the school and athletics program," said Vice President for Athletics Jeff Eisen.
2008 Baseball Team is the only team to bring home an NCAA DII National Championship in the University of Mount Olive's history, winning four straight games in Sauget, Illinois, to claim the school's first-ever championship. The 58-6 Trojans only lost one Conference Carolinas contest that year on their way to a 21-1 record and a regular season and tournament championship. Mount Olive went on to host and win the then South Atlantic Regional to advance to the national championship. The Trojans as a team batted .354 with 60 home runs, 164 doubles, 29 triples, and 528 RBI. The pitching staff had a group ERA of 2.95 while the Trojans' offense belted opponents to an 8.90 ERA.
Carl Lancaster came to the University of Mount Olive as the head baseball coach in 1987, just seven years after the baseball program had been resurrected at the school. Under Lancaster's direction, Mount Olive won an NCAA DII National Championship in 2008, 15 Conference Carolinas Tournament Championships, 15 regular season Conference Carolinas Championships, and made the NCAA postseason 17 times, including eight years in a row from 2010-17. Lancaster amassed an 1134-485-2 overall record and became only the 14th NCAA Division II head baseball coach to reach the career 1,000-win mark. Lancaster finished his career with a .700 winning percentage. He has the 9th highest career winning percentage among all Division II baseball coaches and ranks 5th in career victories.
David Cooper '08 was a three-time first-team All-CVAC selection at shortstop and is 6th in the NCAA DII in fielding assists with 225 in a season. He was a two-time second-team ABCA All-Region selection and a one-time first-team selection. Cooper was named to the CVAC All-Tournament team two times as a Trojan. On the Trojan all-time lists, Cooper sits first in career runs (223) and triples (23), second in stolen bases (102), and third in hits (270). Cooper was selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the 44th round of the MLB Draft in 2008 and played two seasons in the Diamondbacks minor league system.
Casey Hodges '09 was an ABCA All-American pitcher for the 2008 National Championship team and was a 23rd round pick by the Atlanta Braves in the MLB draft in 2008. Hodges was a two-time Conference Carolinas All-Conference selection and Conference Carolinas All-Tournament selection in 2007. Hodges over his career sits 4th in career ERA with a 2.34, is second in consecutive batters retired in a single game (19), holds the record for consecutive batters retired over multiple games (21), and is T-5th in strikes in a single game with 11 (a mark he obtained twice).
Erik Lovett '08 was an ABCA and NCBWA All-American, CoSida National Player of the Year, and Conference Carolinas Player of the Year for the Trojans' baseball team in 2007. He was a two-time ABCA All-Region and Conference Carolinas All-Conference player, as well as an All-Tournament team selection. Lovett had a career batting average of .389 with 49 doubles, 40 home runs, 161 RBI, and 145 runs scored. Lovett was selected by the New York Yankees in the 39th round of the MLB Draft in 2008 and played one season in the Yankees minor league system.
Jason Sherrer '08 was an ABCA All-American, Conference Carolinas Player of the Year, CoSida Academic All-American, and Mount Olive Male Athlete of the Year for the 2008 National Championship team. Sherrer was also named to the ABCA All-Region Team and Conference Carolinas All-Conference Team in 2008. In his two-year career the catcher batted .361 with 112 RBI, 26 doubles, 18 home runs, 125 hits, and had a .598 slugging percentage.
Ryan Schlecht '09 was an NCBWA All-American and Conference Carolinas Pitcher of the Year for the 2008 championship team. In his one season for the Trojans, Schlecht tied for first in NCAA DII in victories with 13 as he went 13-0 on the year, which is third all-time in UMO history. Schlecht is fourth all-time in innings pitched in a season with 101 and threw four complete games with 81 strikeouts in 2008. He was also named to the ABCA All-Region Team and Conference Carolinas All-Conference team. Schlecht was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 34th round of the MLB Draft in 2008 and played one season in the Rangers minor league system.
This year's class is the 13th Hall of Fame Class and brings the total number of inductees up to 58.
The University of Mount Olive Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony takes place Saturday, November 17 at the Lois K. Murphy Regional Center on the UMO campus. For more information, contact Tina Loy at email@example.com or 919-658-7759.