NEWBERRY, S.C. - Indian freshman Anthony Dillenger (Gaffney, S.C.) went yard on Justin McLeymore's second pitch of the game, blasting a three-run eighth inning homer to break a 2-2 tie and giving Newberry the lead for good in college baseball action at Kirkland Field Sunday afternoon. With the 5-2 win, Newberry (7-8) grabs the advantage in the series with Lenoir-Rhyne and opens conference play with a 2-1 record. The Bears (8-7) drop to 1-2 in the South Atlantic Conference.
L-R's Jesse Jordan (Englewood, Fla.) started the eighth inning by grounding out the leadoff hitter, then allowing singles to Travis Moore (Blythewood, S.C.) and Matt Webb (Cheraw, S.C.). Dean Walker's (Afton, Tenn.) fielder's choice left runners on the corners with two down. The Bears substituted Justin McLeymore (Cherryville, N.C.) for Jordan with Dillenger at the plate. The 6-2 shortstop let one pitch go, then hammered a shot intended for straightaway left field, but the strong east wind carried the ball hard to the third base line. The ball passed the foul pole fair, then landed such that in a left field 10 feet deeper, it would have dropped foul. The round-tripper was the first of Dillenger's career.
L-R scored two runs in the third off three hits, a Newberry fielding error, and a passed ball. Jason Raines (Mebane, N.C.) batted in Jason Bridges (Kings Mountain, N.C.), and Taylor MacCurdy (Charlotte, N.C.) came home from third on Brian Neill's swinging third strike that escaped the catcher's mitt. ewberry answered those runs in the fifth. Walker and Dillenger, reaching on a single and fielding error respectively, scored when Billy Alm fired a single up the middle.
Newberry starter Stuart Kay (Greer, S.C.) was an out away from picking up the win, but ran into trouble in the eighth inning after allowing two two-out singles. Pete Stuppiello (Gilbert, S.C.) struck out the final eighth inning batter, and was the pitcher of record, thus the winning pitcher, when Newberry gained the lead. Stuppiello retired the first two L-R batters in the final frame and walked the third. Newberry closer Tyson Azevedo (Charleston, S.C.) entered the game with the potential tying run on deck, walked his first batter, and struck out John Verdinek (High Point, N.C.) for the save.
Newberry hosts Fairmont State in a doubleheader Tuesday at 2 p.m., then plays Jamestown and Bluefield State in a duet of seven-inning games on Wednesday.