NEWBERRY, S.C. – Newberry College took the rubber match against visiting #24 Catawba College Sunday afternoon, as the hometown Indians were victorious 5-3 in South Atlantic Conference baseball action. With the win, Newberry improves its record to 10-18 (2-7 SAC), while Catawba drops to 21-12 (6-3 SAC).
As it was the case all weekend between these two old foes, both teams came out swinging in the first inning. Catawba designated hitter Jimbo Davis (Salisbury, N.C.) doubled down the left field line, scoring Matt Kepley (Greensboro, N.C.) from second base, handing Catawba the early 1-0 lead.
Davis, reigning SAC Position Player of the Week, had another outstanding game from the plate, going 3-for-5 with an RBI.
Newberry would answer in the bottom of the first with RBI singles from T.J. McCord (Manning, S.C.) and Josh Buckley (Greer, S.C.), giving the Indians a 2-1 lead.
After the quick start by Newberry, Catawba starting pitcher Matt Smith (Browns Summit, N.C.) settled down to retire ten of the next 12 Indian batters. Smith lasted six innings, fanning nine Newberry batters while only surrendering five hits.
Catawba would tie the game in their half of the fourth inning, when third baseman Zach Evans (Greensboro, N.C.) hit a leadoff triple to left center, and would later score after a Casey Morris (Granite Falls, N.C.) single. During that inning, Newberry starting pitcher Joel Crisp (Summerville, S.C.) would be replaced by Will Folk (Charleston, S.C.), who inherited runners at first and second. Folk would get out of the inning thanks to a double play and a pop fly to preserve the 2-2 tie.
In the bottom of the sixth inning with two outs and the bases loaded, Newberry shortstop Anthony Dillenger (Gaffney, S.C.) hit an infield single to advance Buckley from third base, giving Newberry a 3-2 lead.
Newberry added some insurance in the eighth, when Dillenger hit a towering two-run homer to give Newberry a 5-2 advantage. Dillenger went 3-for-5 with three RBIs on the afternoon.
With Folk still on the mound in the Catawba ninth, the Indians from Salisbury started a rally with back-to-back singles to lead off the inning by David Thomas (Winston-Salem, N.C.) and Kepley. With runners on first and second with no outs, Folk was lifted in favor of reliever Patrick Egleston (Columbia, S.C.). Egleston shut the door on the visitors, only allowing one hit and striking out two batters, giving Newberry the 5-3 victory.
Folk (1-4) picked up his first collegiate win by means of his five inning stint out of the Newberry bullpen. Egleston also notched his second save of the season. Catawba’s Smith (4-2) was credited with the loss.
Newberry will try and keep its two-game winning streak alive this week, as the Indians play host to West Virginia State on Monday afternoon. First pitch is slated for 3 p.m.