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NCAA Div II Baseball Championships: South Atlantic Regional
Mount Olive 6, Virginia State 1

May 17, 2007

Phillip Pennington took a shutout into the seventh inning and Stephen Nordan keyed a 12-hit attack with three hits as top-seeded Mount Olive defeated No. 6 seed Virginia State 6-1 in the first round of the South Atlantic Regional of the 2007 NCAA Division II Baseball Championship Thursday at Grainger Stadium in Kinston. In the first inning, Virginia State turned what is believed to be the first-ever triple play in the history of the NCAA II Baseball Championship.

With the win, Mount Olive (47-11) takes on No. 4 seed Armstrong Atlantic State Friday at 3 p.m.. Virginia State (22-32) faces No. 2 seed Columbus State Friday at 11 a.m. in the first elimination game of the tournament.

Mount Olive had runners on first and second as David Cooper singled and stole second, and Stephen Nordan drew a walk. With both runners going on a hit-and-run, Dustin Richardson lined out to right fielder DeWayne White, whose throw to second beat Cooper back to the bag by a step. Shortstop Michael Knight threw to first to complete the 9-6-3 triple play.

The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the third when Jason Sherrer hit a leadoff double and eventually scored on Cooper’s rbi-single. The Trojans added a pair of runs in the fourth as Richardson led off with a triple and scored on Erik Lovett’s double. Lovett came home on Josh Carter’s single.

Mount Olive scored single runs in the next two innings on Nordan’s rbi-single in the fifth and a bases-loaded walk with nobody out in the sixth to extend the lead to 5-0. Virginia State pitcher Jeff Shelton retired the next three batters on two strikeouts and a fly out to prevent a big inning.

Pennington (4-1) allowed three hits through six scoreless innings before loading the bases in the seventh on two singles and a walk. Virginia State got on the scoreboard when Andrew Holt drew a two-out walk. Anthony Hernandez took over for Pennington and got out of the inning on a foul out.

Hernandez used a double play ball to escape trouble in the eighth and retired the side in order in the ninth. Hernandez allowed one hit in 2 1/3 scoreless innings.

Virginia State had runners on base in all but two innings, but left 12 runners stranded. Shelton (6-7) threw 118 pitches in seven innings and finished with five strikeouts.

Virginia State is honoring the memory of those who lost their lives in the Virginia Tech shooting by wearing Virginia Tech baseball caps during the tournament. The Trojans are making their first-ever NCAA II Baseball Championship appearance.

Post-Game Comments “We were rusty and it was obvious that we were off the last three weeks. I think we were kind of nervous. Also, their kid pitched a great game.” Mount Olive head coach Carl Lancaster

“Everyone struggled a little at the plate and we didn’t do a good job of pitch selection, but we battled and broke through in places. If we do a better job of pitch selection, then that should really help us down the line.” Mount Olive shortstop David Cooper.

“The triple play was very big and really helped us get some early momentum to keep us in the game. I have seen very few in my time. As the No. 6 seed, we needed an early break and that really did give us some momentum.” Virginia State head coach Merrill Morgan.

“We were a little nervous, but I even get nervous before scrimmages, so it wasn’t anything big. I feel we did alright and it’s something to build on.” Virginia State left fielder Merv Woodlin.

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