CARY, N.C. — Carter Capps wasn’t the starter for second-ranked Mount Olive in the opening round of the NCAA Division II National Finals on Saturday afternoon against No. 10 Millersville.
In the end, it didn’t matter.
Capps, who is 14-0 on the year and 24-0 in his career, was given extra time to rest, although he did pitch a third of the ninth inning to slam the door shut on the Marauders in a 3-1 win at the USA Baseball National Training Complex.
It was Pete Levitt who was the workhorse in this game. The junior went seven innings and had a perfect game heading into his final frame of work. He struck out seven and did not issue a walk on a day when he allowed one run on three hits.
Winning the first game of a double-elimination tournament is always critical, but Levitt wasn’t fazed by the high stakes riding on the moment.
“Our whole goal this year has been to win the World Series, not just get up to it,” Levitt said. “Up to this point, we’ve met every goal. Now, I was getting to start off the tournament, and it was up to me (to pitch well).”
Levitt, who threw 68 of his 103 pitches for strikes, improved to 10-2 with the win. Head coach Carl Lancaster said it was his standout pitcher’s best outing of the season.
“Pete threw his best game of the year,” Lancaster said. “For the first five or six innings, he hit every spot. He threw the ball exactly where he wanted to. When he got tired…you started seeing the ball up in the zone a little bit. But he did well.”
Jacob Rogers provided a boost for the offense. He ripped a two-run triple in the third to give the Trojans (46-8) a 2-0 lead they would not give up against Millersville (43-11)
Michael Knox played a role in the win as well. Lancaster said earlier in the week that he was going to find a way for Knox to play at some point despite his broken hand. Knox not only played, he crushed his 23rd home run of the season in the sixth inning.
“Getting to take part in this is special,” Knox said. “It’s something I’ve dreamed about my whole life, and just getting to play is a blessing.”
Rogers and Ryan Faison each tallied two hits in the win. Mount Olive tallied eight hits in all. Brooks Rothschild took the loss. He worked 7.1 innings, allowing three runs and striking out three.
The Marauders managed three hits, with Zach Stone breaking up Levitt’s no-hit bid with a single in the seventh. Mike August delivered a base hit of his own to knock in Millersville’s only run of the game. Mike Perez registered the other hit for the Marauders.