D-II Tournament: Mount Olive Cruises, Champs Ousted

Top-ranked Mount Olive (N.C.) kept rolling and two-time defending champion Tampa was sent packing as the Division II Baseball Championships continued Tuesday at GCS Ballpark in Sauget, Ill.

Mount Olive scattered 19 hits and scored the game’s final 13 runs to rout No. 16 Ashland (Ohio) by a score of 18-7 and advance to the national semifinal. Erik Lovett knocked in five of those runs, going 3-for-6 and coming around to score once. David Cooper was 4-for-6 and scored three runs. Paul Novicki pitched 5 1/3 innings of relief and registered the win, allowing three hits and striking out five.

In the other bracket, No. 3 Tampa saw its hopes of a three-peat come to an end, as fourth-ranked Ouachita Baptist (Ark.) came from behind to win 12-10 and eliminate the Spartans from the tournament. Blake Lockwood’s base hit to right field in the top of the ninth brought home the go-ahead run in a game that Ouachita Baptist could easily have given up on. The Tigers trailed 7-0 after the first three innings, but used a five-run fifth inning to battle back and knot things up at 7-7 in the sixth. After Tampa jumped ahead 10-7 an inning later, Ouachita Baptist’s Justin Pennell hit a three-run shot to tie the game once again and set the stage for the ninth. Pennell finished 4-for-6 with five RBIs, and Chad Taylor went 2-for-3 with four RBIs of his own. Tampa’s season ends at 42-11-1, while Ouachita Baptist (48-15) and Ashland (40-17) will play at 6:30 tonight in an elimination game. Mount Olive (56-6) advances to play the winner of the Central Missouri-Shippensburg (Pa.) game Thursday at 2:30 p.m.

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