Matt Dillon Takes No-Hitter Into 8th; Trojans Open Tourney With 6-0 Win Over Erskine

Matt Dillon Takes No-Hitter Into 8th; Trojans Open Tourney With 6-0 Win Over Erskine

Matt Dillon came within five outs of a no-hitter and finished with a one-hit shutout as top-seeded and nationally top-ranked Mount Olive defeated No. 6 seed Erskine 6-0 in the first round of the 2013 Conference Carolinas Baseball Tournament Thursday at Burlington, N.C. The win extended the Trojans' winning streak to 22.

With the victory, Mount Olive (44-4) advances to play fourth-seeded Belmont Abbey Friday at 3 p.m. Belmont Abbey lost to King 7-6 Thursday.

Dillon (10-1) allowed only three baserunners through the first seven innings, two on walks and another on catcher's interference. He got a groundout to open the the top of the eighth before Logan Galliher broke up Dillon's no-hit bid with a clean double down the right field line.

Dillon was threatening to become the first pitcher to toss a no-hitter for Mount Olive since Carter Capps on March 12, 2011, against Coker, the only nine-inning no-hitter in school history.

Dillon rebounded to strike out three of the last five Erskine batters to end the game.

Erskine starter Heath Gray (5-8) was up for the challenge for the first three innings, retiring Mount Olive in order twice and getting a double play grounder to get out of second inning trouble.

The game remained scoreless until Bradon Reitano ignited a three-run fourth inning with a long home run to left, his ninth of the season. Mike Mercurio followed with a double, then raced home on a double from Geno Escalante. Tyler Farmer rounded out a three-run rally with a two-out, two-strike RBI-single.

The cushion was more than enough for Dillon, who retired 13 in a row at one point.

The Trojans added a run in the seventh when Zak Orrison doubled to left with two outs. Matt Petrone drove in Orrison with a single to center to give Mount Olive a 4-0 lead.

In the bottom of the eighth, Daniel Oliver singled home Mercurio and a wild pitch brought in Escalante to cap the scoring.

Escalante and Oliver contributed two hits apiece to the Trojans' 10-hit attack. Eight of Mount Olive's nine starters had at least one hit.

Dillon threw 113 pitches in going the distance, striking out 13.

Mount Olive has now won 14 consecutive Conference Carolinas Tournament games, dating back to 2010.