WILSON, N.C. - Junior Mike Mercurio tagged a single up the middle of the infield that sent home classmate Mike Dunlavey for the walk-off run as No. 1 seed Mount Olive College eliminated No. 3 seed Pfeiffer University 5-4 in 10 innings on day two of the 2012 Conference Carolinas Baseball Tournament hosted by Barton College and the Wilson Tobs Friday afternoon.
The Trojans (40-7) remains undefeated in the tournament and will wait to play the other undefeated team (the winner of Friday’s No. 4 King/No.5 North Greenville game) on Saturday at 11 a.m. The Falcons exit the tournament with a .500 record of 25-25.
Mount Olive held leads of 1-0 and 3-2 but a pair of two-run blasts by sophomore Kevin Price in the fifth and seven rallied the Falcons in front both times to scores of 2-1 and 4-3. Price doubled up his home run total on the season with his two matching bombs down the right field line.
An RBI-groundout by junior Matt Patrone gave MOC its first lead in the bottom of the second.
MOC junior starter Zach Smith took a no-hitter into the fifth inning for the Trojans until Price spoiled the bid with his first homer with two outs in the frame.
Mount Olive regained the lead in the sixth on run-producing singles by sophomore Braden Reitano and Dunlavey before Price launched his second baseball beyond the right field fence in the seventh.
The Trojans were able to tie the game at 4-4 and force extra innings with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by junior Jermaine Berry in the home half of the seventh.
Mount Olive left 11 runners on base in regulation while Pfeiffer stranded nine.
Dunlavey started the decisive 10th by drawing a one-out walk. Dunlavey then advanced to third on a single by sophomore Will Bynum before trotting home on the ensuing game-winning base hit by Mercurio.
Mount Olive outhit Pfeiffer 12-8.
Senior reliever Chris Hinton improved to 5-0 on the season after tossing 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief for Smith. Hinton scattered three hits in three different innings while striking out two and not allowing a base on balls.
Senior Eric Shuford (1-7) took the loss in 3 1/3 innings of relief of Pfeiffer starter Bryan Tuttle. Price led the designated visitors going 2-for-3 with two home runs, a hit-by-pitch and a sacrifice bunt.
Junior catcher Geno Escalante extended his Mount Olive school-record hit streak to 39 games with a single in the bottom of the ninth.