Barton’s men’s baseball team faced the nation’s number two ranked University of Mount Olive three times last month and defeated the rival in twice.
In the first game over the March 13-15 series, the Bulldogs defeated Mount Olive, 5-3. The Bulldogs had 11 hits with one error while Mount Olive recorded seven hits and two errors. Avery Harper led the Bulldogs with three hits.
Sophomore Andrew Webster hit a home run in the game as well, and senior Zach Breen pitched a complete game.
In the second game, the Bulldogs dominated Mount Olive 12-3. The Bulldogs recorded 14 hits while Mount Olive recorded six. The Bulldogs defense was as good as their offense as they also had no errors at all while Mount Olive again had two errors.
Tyler Garrett led the Bulldogs with three hits, while senior Brandon Warren pitched a complete game. Also, Jacob Willis added one home run.
In the third game, Mount Olive rallied to defeat the Bulldogs, 6-2.
The Bulldogs offense was slowed this time, getting five hits to Mount Olive’s 10. Both teams each had two errors.
Even though the final game did not end how the Bulldogs wanted it to end, the Barton men team still was able to defeat a number two ranked team in the nation twice. Also, this nationally ranked team is Barton’s long-time school rival.
Along with defeating a nationally ranked team twice and defeating a huge rival, this was the first time Barton has defeated Mount Olive in baseball for six years.
The Bulldogs had to be mentally strong coming into this three game series.
Senior Spiers Miller said, “I just tried to treat it like another game and not get too amped up because it was Mount Olive and I knew if we played our game we could beat them.”
Warren also said that it took “Going hard and owning the plate. Control what you can control, one batter at a time.”
The players were also aware about the losing streak against Mount Olive, especially the seniors.
Senior Avery Harper said, “I’ve heard from previous seniors the stories of playing UMO. I used it as a motivator.”
These seniors were excited to beat their long school rivals.
Warren said, “I was very ecstatic. The reality didn’t hit me at first that we beat Mount Olive, but once I was back on the bus I knew it was my turn to handle business. I wasn’t happy with just beating them once.”
The overall satisfaction for the three games was also very high.
Miller gave his overall satisfaction rating a nine out of 10 and added, “We hadn’t beaten them in a while but it would have been a 10 if we had swept them.”
Finally, there was still a little room for improvement after these three games in the minds of the seniors.
Harper said that the Bulldogs should have “maintained better focus going into game three. Everything else was outstanding.”
By: Tyler Dew