No. 14 Trojans Clinch Regular Season Conference Title - Sweep North Greenville In Rain-Shortened Two-Game Series

No. 14 Trojans Clinch Regular Season Conference Title - Sweep North Greenville In Rain-Shortened Two-Game Series

Starter Gunnar Kines tossed five hitless innings and University of Mount Olive belted a season-high five home runs as the nationally 14th-ranked shut out North Greenville 19-0 in game one of a Conference Carolinas baseball doubleheader Friday at Tigerville, S.C. Bradon Reitano and Rob Shipman hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning, while Justin Manning hit a leadoff home run and Reitano and Luke Barry went back-to-back in an eight-run fourth inning as the Trojans clinched the regular season conference title for the fifth consecutive year and seventh time in the last eight years. Kines and two relievers combined on a two-hitter.

The Trojans extended their winning streak to 19 with an 8-3 victory in game two. Shipman went 3-for-3 with two home runs and four runs batted in, while Derek Justice went the distance to become the first eight-game winner in the conference this season.

Rain washed out the third game of the series, scheduled for Saturday. Mount Olive recorded five conference series sweeps and won all seven conference series this season.

Mount Olive (36-11 overall, 18-2 Conference Carolinas) provided all the run support needed as Jay Gonzalez led off the game with a single and Reitano homered to left one out later. Shipman then drove a 2-0 pitch over the right field fence to give the Trojans a 3-0 lead.

After Shipman singled in a run in the third, Manning led off the fourth with a home run to right. Cody Britt and DeAndre Allen followed with singles and both came home on Jay Gonzalez's two-run single to extend Mount Olive's lead to 7-0. After a North Greenville pitching change, Barry belted a two-run homer. Reitano then drove a 3-0 pitch over the left field fence for his second home run of the game and conference-leading 13th of the season to put the margin at double figures at 10-0.

Manning drove in his second run of the inning with an rbi-single and Chase Edwards scored on a balk to give Mount Olive a 12-0 advantage. RBI-doubles by Barry and Britt highlighted a four-run fifth inning for the Trojans.

Kines (7-1) struck out seven, walked two and hit two batters. He recorded a strikeout for the final out of the first and struck out the side in the second. He got into and out of trouble in the bottom of the third, walking the first two batters and hitting a batter with two outs to load the bases. Kines got a flyout to right to end the inning.

Kines retired the side in order in the fourth and fifth innings before being lifted. He threw 83 pitches.

North Greenville (7-35, 2-18) avoided being no-hit as Mike Habas and Foley George both singled in the bottom of the sixth. Trojan reliever Hunter Barnett got a strikeout to end the sixth and retired the side in order in the seventh and eighth innings. Mark Harris finished with a three-up/three-down ninth.

In game two, Gonzalez reached on an error to lead off the game and came home on Shipman's two-out homer. The Trojans scored an unearned run in the second and Shipman homered again in the third. Shipman, who had five home runs in his first 37 games, belted three home runs in Friday's doubleheader. The Trojans broke the game open with four runs in the top of the fourth as Gonzalez, Shipman and Edwards all delivered rbi-singles in the inning.

Shipman went 6-for-6 in the doubleheader and drew walks in his other three plate appearances for a perfect 1.000 on-base percentage in nine plate appearances.

North Greenville got on the scoreboard for the first time in the twinbill in the bottom of the second after loading the bases on three singles and scoring on Matt Cooper's rbi-groundout. The Crusaders added two more in the fifth as Cooper and Taylor Hollifield advanced on a double steal after leading off the inning with singles and scored on Tyler Mitchell's two-run single. Justice got out of trouble with an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.

Justice (8-1) withstood 11 North Greenville hits, 10 of which were singles. He sandwiched three strikeouts around a pair of singles in the sixth inning. Justice struck out eight and walked only one.

Mount Olive is the No. 1 seed in the 2014 Conference Carolinas Baseball Tournament, which gets underway Thursday at Burlington Athletic Stadium in Burlington, N.C. The Trojans open play at 7 p.m. against the No. 6 seed. The six-team double-elimination tournament concludes Sunday with the championship game.

The tournament champion earns an automatic bid to the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional.