Dillon takes no-hitter into eighth inning as Mount Olive opens tourney with win
BURLINGTON, N.C. -- Matt Dillon came within five outs of a no-hitter and finished with a one-hit shutout as No. 1-seeded and top-ranked Mount Olive defeated No. 6-seeded Erskine 6-0 in the first round of the Conference Carolinas tournament on Thursday. The win extended the Trojans' winning streak to 22.
Dillon (10-1) allowed only three base runners through the first seven innings, two on walks and another on catcher's interference. He got a ground out to open the the top of the eighth before Logan Galliher broke up Dillon's no-hit bid with a clean double down the right field line.
Dillon rebounded to strike out three of the last five Erskine batters to end the game.
Erskine starter Heath Gray (5-8) was strong as well through the first three innings, retiring Mount Olive in order twice and getting a double-play grounder to get out of second-inning trouble.
The game remained scoreless until Bradon Reitano ignited a three-run fourth inning with a long home run to left, his ninth of the season. Mike Mercurio followed with a double, then raced home on a double from Geno Escalante. Tyler Farmer rounded out a three-run spurt with a two-out RBI single.
The cushion was more than enough for Dillon, who retired 13 in a row at one point.
The Trojans added a run in the seventh when Zak Orrison doubled to left with two outs. Matt Petrone drove in Orrison with a single to center to give Mount Olive a 4-0 lead.
In the bottom of the eighth, Daniel Oliver singled home Mercurio and a wild pitch brought in Escalante to cap the scoring.
Escalante and Oliver contributed two hits apiece in the Trojans' 10-hit attack. Eight of Mount Olive's nine starters had at least one hit.
Dillon threw 113 pitches and struck out 13.
Mount Olive has now won 14 consecutive Conference Carolinas tournament games, dating back to 2010.