SALISBURY, N.C. - The Newberry College Indians allowed only three hits to No. 29 Catawba College, but David Thomas' homerun in the bottom of the tenth gave the hosts the victory at Newman Park on Friday in the South Atlantic Conference opener for both teams.
Newberry (3-6 overall, 0-1 SAC) opened the scoring in the top of the first on Jovan Rohena's (Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico) first homerun of the season.
Catawba (7-2, 1-0 SAC) took advantage of a shaky start from Newberry starter Josh McElwee to score its only run of regulation in the top of the first. Thomas was hit by a pitch in the opening plate appearance and stole second. After Craige Lyerly struck out, Jerry Sands drew a walk and the two runners moved ahead a base on a McElwee balk. After Ryan Query drew the second walk of the inning, Chad Baker fouled out to first baseman David Tunstill (Melbourne, Fla.). However, Andrew O'Neal drew the third walk of the inning to push across a run. McElwee struck out Chris Ahearn to strand three Catawba players on base and end the inning.
From there, a pitcher's duel broke out, with McElwee striking out eight Catawba batters in 4.1 innings of work. However, the freshman from Andrews, S.C., did not earn a decision. Catawba starter Tim Smith pitched nine innings, giving up four hits and striking out 12 Newberry batters.
Nick Martin (Morehead City, N.C.) led the Indians with two hits and was hit by a pitch on a full count to lead off the top of the 10th. After a sacrifice hit by Thomas Berryhill (Aynor, S.C.) moved the senior left fielder to second, he was stranded in scoring position when Jose Rosa (Keystone Heights, Fla.) struck out and Phillip Bartz (LaCrescent, Minn.) grounded out to third.
Stephen Byrd (Vero Beach, Fla.; 0-1) had the misfortune of picking up the loss for Newberry despite giving up only two hits in 4.2 innings of work. The Thomas round-tripper was only the second hit of Byrd's evening, but gave Catawba the win.
The two sides will wrap up the weekend series Saturday with one nine-inning game and one seven-inning game. Chris Bremer (0-1) is slated to start the first game, with preseason All-SAC selection Brandon Petty (0-3) expected to start the series finale.