Mount Olive Defeats Catawba 6-4 At NCAA Southeast Regional

Mount Olive Defeats Catawba 6-4 At NCAA Southeast Regional
 The No. 7 seed University of Mount Olive defeated No. 6 seed Catawba College 6-4 in the first elimination game of the NCAA Division II Southeast Regional in Columbus, Ga. Mount Olive was led by Brett Lang and Bradley Ragan's two RBI performances.

Mount Olive (32-20) got on the boards first in the bottom of the second. Stephen Wallace reached on a lead-off walk. Joe Koehler moved him to second after he was hit by a pitch. David Mayo moved up both runners as he dropped down a sacrifice bunt.

Ragan put Mount Olive on the board as he cleared the bases with an RBI-single to center. The two runs were all the Trojans would get in the inning.

The next two innings came and went without any runs across, until the bottom of the fifth. Jack Sherrill gave the Trojans a base runner with one away as he drew a walk. Lang hit a shot into the alley in right-center and it was deep enough to score Sherrill from first.

Wallace picked up a base hit and the inning continued. Koehler picked up his first base hit of the game as well with an RBI-single to right and Lang scored to make the game 4-0 in favor of Mount Olive.

Catawba (34-21) was able to stop the Trojans' momentum in the top of the sixth. Will Albertson led off the inning with a single to left-center. Back-to-back singles loaded the bases. The Indians had to wait for one more batter before pushing a run across. Zach Almond drove in two with an RBI-single to left. Jeremey Simpson came behind Almond and cleared the bases as well with an RBI-single to left.

The Trojans were able to break the tie in the bottom of the sixth. Orrison reached base with two outs after he was hit by a pitch. He then moved into scoring position on a wild pitch and then stole third base. Catawba attempted to pick off Sherrill after he reached on a walk and a pickle ensued. Orrison took off on the throw to first and the throw home was not in time and Mount Olive regained the lead 5-4.

"I've seen Bryce Harper do it and it just happened to work out with a lefty pitching and a lefty at first and i had been noticing the sequence of signs the catcher was giving from the dugout and just extended my lead further each time. As soon i i saw him throw over to first i just took off," said Orrison.

Lang doubled home Sherrill with his RBI base hit to right and the lead moved to two.

The Indians threatened in the top of the seventh as a lead-off triple put pressure on the Trojans. Mount Olive, however, shut the momentum down as the next three batters were retired in order.

Catawba again tried to scratch across a run in the top of the eighth. A lead-off single and two sacrifice bunts put Kyle Smith at third base. Once again Mount Olive was able to get out of the inning with as a strikeout thwarted the chance for the Indians.

Austin Hutchison closed the door as he got the final three outs of the game to seal the win for Mount Olive.

"I like the way Hutch comes out there and it says a lot about a kid when he gets hit in the ankle after 130 pitches and wants to stay out there," said Trojan catcher Brett Lang.

Hutchison picked up the complete game win after allowing four runs off 11 hits and struck out 12.

"Right now the arm feels good. I can't wait to come out tomorrow and see how it feels. I thought i could have been better but overall it was a good performance," said Hutchison.

Mount Olive will play the loser of USC Aiken/Columbus State at 5 p.m. Saturday. 

"The guys always come out loose and they did tonight and i wish i could say Orri's [Zak Orrison] going to home on that run was called from the dugout, but it was totally him so thanks for that! We are just going to go out and try to win a ballgame like we always do," said Head Coach Carl Lancaster.

Full post-game press conference can be found here.