MOUNT OLIVE — The 2022 UMO Baseball season is nearly here, and accolades are already coming in for the Trojans.
The University of Mount Olive enters the spring season ranked No. 13 in the county according to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA). UMO was also ranked second in the Southeast Regional poll, placing the Trojans as the highest ranked amongst Conference Carolinas schools.
The NCBWA also released their preseason all-American and all-region teams ahead of the start of the season. UMO recently was picked second in the Conference Carolinas preseason poll, according to Conference Carolinas coaches. Mount Olive received four first-place votes and a total of 92 points.
Vito Patierno and Hunter Stevens were named to the Southeast All-Region team. While both Trojans were selected as Preseason All-Americans; Stevens earned 1st-team honors, while Patierno earned honorable mention.
Stevens returns as the reining Conference Carolinas and Southeast Regional Pitcher of the Year after a 9-0 season posting a 2.54 ERA, one complete game and 91 strikeouts. Patierno finished the 2021 season hitting .373 with 63 hits, a .562 slugging percentage over 169 at bats.
The Trojans also bring in a few new Division I transfers: Jonathan Peacock (RHP NC Central), Josh Jones (INF JMU), Trey Deutsch (RHP UNC Greensboro), Dawson Gause (RHP LSU), Seth Nightingale (RHP Univ. Charleston) and Erik Johnson (LHP Coastal Carolina).
During the 2021 season, UMO held a 37-12 overall and 27-5 conference record and was ranked as high as No. 5 in Division II. The Trojans went onto finish as the runners-up at the 2021 Conference Carolinas Championship and earned the No. 2 seed in the southeast regional tournament, for their 18th appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
The 2022 spring season gets underway Feb. 5 at Scarborough Field as the Trojans open up the year against Lock Haven University. The Trojans will open up conference play February 25 on the road against Emmanuel College. The conference championship is scheduled for May 4-8 at Fleming Stadium in Wilson, North Carolina.