NEWBERRY, S.C. - The air was frigid at the Smith Road Complex Wednesday night, but the Newberry College bats were anything but cold as the Indians earned their first ever win at their new home field, 7-5, over 11th-ranked Georgia College and State University.
Newberry (5-10) used nine pitchers in the game, with Brandon Petty (Melbourne, Fla.; 1-5) picking up the win as the starter. GCSU falls to 10-5, with Eric Pettepher (1-1) tagged with the loss on the hill.
The Indians got on the board first in the bottom of the second, when Casio Grider (Hephzibah, Ga.) slapped a hard-hit single to short to drive in C.J. Tyrkala (Palm Harbor, Fla.)
GCSU tied the game in the top of the fourth when Matt Pitts' single up the middle drove in Derek Johns, who had reached on a double to left-center.
But Newberry exploded in the bottom of the frame to jump out to a big lead. Tyrkala led off with a double down the left field line and Tyler Hartman (Deland, Fla.) reached on a walk. Phillip Bartz (LaCrescent, Minn.) singled to drive Tyrkala home and move Hartman to third. Grider ran out a bunt single to load the bases and Hartman scored on a wild pitch.
After Tyler Manasa (Miami, Fla.) walked to re-load the bases, John Kirkland (Orlando, Fla.) grounded into a fielder's choice for the first out of the inning, but the bases were still full of Indians. A pop foul by Jovan Rohena (Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico) became the second out, but David Tunstill (Melbourne, Fla.) drove in two runs on a single to keep the rally going. Thomas Berryhill (Aynor, S.C.) drove in one more with a single to left center, before Tyrkala struck out to end the inning with Newberry ahead by a 6-1 margin.
However, the Bobcats made things interesting with a two-out rally in the top of the sixth. Pete Paris led off with a double down the right field line and scored on a single by Johns. Brooks Robinson reached on a walk before Pitts drove a homerun over the left field fence. Pitts' bomb was the first-ever at Smith Road and was part of a 4 RBI night for the first baseman.
With only a one-run lead, Newberry turned to freshman sensation Josh McElwee (Andrews, S.C.) in the eighth and he did not disappoint, striking out two batters and allowing only one hit to pick up his first save. Newberry added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth on a pair of Bobcat errors.
The Indians trek down to South Florida for a four game weekend set with Nova Southeastern University beginning on Friday. The Indians and Sharks will play a doubleheader on Saturday and close with a single game Sunday.