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2008 DIV II College World Series 05/29


Mount Olive Advances to National Championship

SAUGET, ILL. – No. 1 ranked Mount Olive secured its spot in Saturday’s national championship game with a 5-3 victory over No. 7 ranked Central Missouri Thursday afternoon in the semifinals of the NCAA Division II National Championships at GCS Ballpark.

The Trojans (57-6), who will be making their first national championship appearance, will face either No. 2 ranked Sonoma State or No. 4 ranked Ouachita Baptist on Saturday at 1 p.m. Central Missouri ends its season at 47-17.

The Trojans earned their spot in the title game by holding off the Mules who scored two unanswered runs between the seventh and eighth innings to trim a four-run deficit to just two. Central Missouri then put two runners on base in the bottom of the ninth with two outs before Patrick Ball entered the game to earn his third save of the season.

“They made things tight near the end of the game,” said Mount Olive head coach Carl Lancaster. “But we were able to work our way out of it.”

Central Missouri put the first run on the board in the bottom of the first inning, but a three-run third inning gave Mount Olive a lead it would not relinquish. The Trojans plated two more runs in the seventh inning before Central Missouri got a pair of runs for the final score.

Kyle Jones (4-0) recorded the win on the hill for the Trojans, making just his second start of the season and allowed only two runs on five hits.

“Kyle was a work in progress,” said Lancaster. “He has been out of baseball for three years, but he’s got a good arm and he got us two wins at regionals. I thought he did well and we had to give him his shot.”

Mark Carey (10-2) was credited with the loss for Central Missouri. The starter lasted four and one-third innings, giving up three runs on five hits, while also walking five.

Rich Racobaldo went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBIs for Mount Olive, while Erik Lovett and Josh Harrison also recorded two hits each.

Will Feil paced the Mules offense with a 3-for-5 performance at the plate.

“I would just like to say thank you to our seniors,” said Central Missouri head coach Tom Myers. “They did a great job of leading us this year as a group and family. This has been the tightest group I’ve ever been with. I’m happy for this club. I’m just proud of the way they played today. We just fell short.”

Ouachita Baptist edges Sonoma State, 2-1

SAUGET, Ill. – Behind the arms of Steve Smith, Zach Wilbanks and Alex Smith, the fourth-ranked Ouachita Baptist baseball team edged second-ranked Sonoma State , 2-1, Thursday night during the NCAA Division II College World Series at GSC Ballpark.

The Tigers (50-14) meet Sonoma State , 12:00 p.m., Friday, May 30 in an elimination game. The winner of that contest will face Mount Olive in the Championship Game 12:00 p.m., Saturday, May 31.

“It was a great game from two very good teams,” Tigers head coach Scott Norwood said. “I thought both teams threw the ball exceptional well.”

Ouachita Baptist wasted little time getting on the scoreboard in the top of the first.

Justin Pennell drew a one-out walk in the inning and moved to second on a base hit by Jim Streicher. With two outs, Destan Makonnen, who went 2-for-4 plated Pennell with a single up the middle to give the Tigers a 1-0 lead.

Drew Maus was hit by a pitch and JoeDan Poulter reached on an error to begin the second. With two outs, Pennell drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases. Streicher, who was 3-for-5, ripped a base hit through the left side to plate Maus.

“I am just trying to be patient at the plate,” Streicher said. “This team is unbelievable and everybody is chipping in.”

The Seawolves (52-14) got on the board in the bottom of the seventh by cutting the deficit to 2-1.

Kyle Jones walked to begin the frame. Travis Babin followed with a base hit up the middle, but Tigers starter Steve Smith got Dave Herman striking out swinging for the first out. After a pitching change, David Adler reached on a bloop single to left to load the bases. Nick Nosti brought in Jones with a base hit to left. After another pitching change, Pennell made an outstanding diving catch in right for the second out and Alex Smith got Ian Bridges swinging to end the inning.

“The catch that Pennell was amazing,” Alex Smith said. “I knew if I threw strikeouts that we could get the win.”

Steve Smith (10-1) pitched 6 1/3 innings. He gave up a run on five hits with four walks and five strikeouts.

“I was tired,” Steve Smith said, who was working on three-days rest.

Zach Wilbanks pitched to two batters, surrendering a pair of hits. Alex Smith pitched 2 2/3 innings of relief. He walked one and fanned three.

Kevin Asselin (9-3) started for the Seawolves, going 5 2/3 innings. He gave up two runs (one earned) on six hits with five walks and five strikeouts. Nick O’Brein worked x-x innings of relief, while giving up a hit with six strikeouts.

The NCAA Division II College World Series contest between Ouachita Baptist and Sonoma State at 12:00 p.m., Friday, May 30 and can be heard on the Ouachita Baptist athletic Web site at:

NOTES: First-ever meeting between Ouachita Baptist and Sonoma State … Third time Ouachita Baptist has faced a Top-5 opponent in the NCAA Division II College World Series… Tigers pitcher Steve Smith made two starts and had a save in the tournament… Ouachita Baptist stranded 11 on base, while Sonoma State left nine on… Top-ranked Mount Olive advanced to Saturday’s Championship by beating and eliminating Central Missouri , 5-3.

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