May 18, 2013

Cobras Advance to Regional Championship Game with 5-3 Win Over Mount Olive

MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. – Freshman Alex Hernandez threw six stellar innings of baseball, leading the No. 4 seed Coker Cobras to a 5-3 win over No. 1 seed Mount Olive Trojans on Saturday (May 18) at the 2013 NCAA Division II Southeast Region Baseball Tournament.

The win advances the Cobras to the NCAA Southeast Region Tournament Championship game on Sunday at 1 p.m. Coker (37-14) awaits the winner of the tonight's elimination game at 7 p.m. between Mount Olive (48-7) and the winner of the 3 p.m. game against the No. 2 seed USC Aiken and the No. 5 seed Georgia College.

Hernandez (6-2) allowed just two runs on two hits with a strikeout in six innings on the mound and had the Trojan hitters guessing all day. Zach Loraine (15) earned his 15th save of the season, throwing two shut out innings. He gave up two hits and had three punch-outs.

After three scoreless innings, the Cobras got on the board with two runs in the top of the fourth. Loraine led of the inning with a double to right center. A deep fly ball by T.J. Giczkowski moved Loraine to third with one out. Fico Kondla followed with a bunt single that scored Loraine, to give the Cobras the 1-0 lead. Ernie Kirkwood singled up the middle to put runners on first and second. Frank Suarez brought home the second run with a fielder's choice to make it a 2-0 game.

A scoreless fifth, gave way to the sixth, where Coker added two more runs, both unearned on an error by the Trojans. An RBI single by Giczkowski in the top of the seventh made it 5-0 in favor of the Cobras. Mount Olive tacked on their first runs of the game in the bottom half of the inning to make it 5-2.

Another Trojan run in the bottom of the eighth made it 5-3, but a strike 'em out, throw 'em out double play by Loriane and Suarez ended the Trojan rally. Loraine then closed out the game with a scoreless ninth, earning his nation leading 15th save.

Kirkwood was the Cobras leading hitter, going 3-for-4 at the plate. Kondla and Giczkowski had a pair of hits and drove in a run each, while Loraine had two hits, including a double with a run scored.

The Cobras have now knocked off the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 seeds in the NCAA Southeast Regional.