NEWBERRY, S.C. - Sophomore catcher Clark Mullins hit three two-out singles against West Virginia State University, none bigger than the twelfth inning bases-loaded flare to left that dropped in front of two Yellow Jacket outfielders that won Monday's contest, 10-9, at Kirkland Field. Newberry (14-15, 3-6 SAC) halted an 11-game win West Virginia State (18-5) winning streak, and in so doing, made the Indians' last five wins one-run ball games.
After Stuart Kay (Greer, S.C.) tied the contest with a leadoff home run in the ninth, WVSU reliever Neal DeFazio (Bridgeport, W.Va.) escaped trouble by intentionally walking Travis Moore (Blythewood, S.C.) to try to set up the double play with one away and two on base. The Jackets were unsuccessful in that effort, but put the lead runner Daniel Till (Lexington, S.C.) out with the second out, and ended the frame with a groundout.
Newberry encountered a similar situation the next inning when Billy Alm (Pine Plains, N.Y.) was handed first base with an out. Till's two-out single loaded the bags and put Mullins at the plate. The 6'3" right-hander fanned in his first chance to be hero, but came through in the twelfth. With bases loaded and two outs, Mullins dropped a 2-2 pitch into the gap that neither left nor center could reach.
Newberry sprinted to a 5-1 lead, fell into ties twice, and went into the eighth inning down two runs. Ryan Easterby (Charleston, S.C.) dropped a three-run bomb past right center in the fourth inning to give the Indians a four-run cushion. Alm preceded that shot with a homer to left in the third that put the home team ahead 2-1. Dustin Smith (Conway, S.C.) maintained his status as team leader in homeruns, leading off the sixth inning by going yard, tying the game for the third time.
West Virginia State was not without its share of sluggers. Ryan Taylor (Morgantown, W.Va.) and Justin Gray (Nitro, W.Va.) were a combined 3-for-12, but all three hits were round-trippers. Taylor's long ball scored a pair in a four-run fifth. Gray's two homers, nearly identical in the sixth and seventh innings were good for three RBI and the last of the Jackets' scoring.
Newberry's 17 hits dominated WVSU's 11, but seven Indian errors coupled with 14 stranded base runners kept the game close down the stretch. The Jackets committed three errors on the day, but two of those allowed crucial Newberry runs.
West Virginia State plays tomorrow and Tuesday against SAC member Presbyterian in Clinton. Newberry hosts Coker College in a night affair Wednesday at 6.
### GO INDIANS ###