NEWBERRY, S.C. - The Newberry College baseball team put together a late rally but was unable to push the winning run across in the bottom of the ninth, as the Indians dropped a 6-4 decision to the Coker College Cobras on Wednesday.
Newberry (5-15) looked to be off to a hot start as Nick Martin (Morehead City, N.C.) led off the bottom of the first with a double down the left field line and advanced to third on a Chad Perschbacher (Makanda, Ill.) groundout. David Tunstill (Melbourne, Fla.) flied out to right field in what looked to be a sacrifice fly, but Martin was gunned down at the plate to end the inning.
Coker (8-12) scored single runs in the second and fifth innings, and shut down the Newberry offense until the eighth inning.
After Phillip Bartz (LaCrescent, Minn.) led off the inning with a walk and Casio Grider (Hephzibah, Ga.) was hit by a pitch, Martin's sacrifice bunt put two runners in scoring position with only one out. Brandon Mand (Laurinburg, N.C.) came into the game as a pinch hitter and immediately delivered with an RBI single up the middle. Tunstill's hard hit grounder appeared to be a double play ball for the Cobras, but the shortstop threw past second base, allowing Grider to score and tie the game at 2-all. However, Robert Danise (Vero Beach, Fla.) grounded into a double play to end the threat.
In the top of the ninth, the Cobras struck with a two-out rally to take a four-run lead. Trey Lynch, Julio Gomez and Karl Ankerson all drove in runs for Coker.
Thomas Berryhill (Aynor, S.C.) led off the final frame with a walk, followed by a single through the right side by C.J. Tyrkala (Palm Harbor, Fla.). Tyler Hartman (Deland, Fla.) lined out to first base, and the Coker first baseman turned it into a double play by throwing Berryhill out at second on a bang-bang play.
Down to their final out, the Indians refused to give in as Bartz singled and Grider hit a two-run double to the left field fence. Martin and Mand were walked consecutively to load the bases, but the deep configuration of the Smith Road Complex played against the home side as Tunstill's deep drive fell just short and into the glove of the Coker left fielder to end the game.
Stephen Byrd (Vero Beach, Fla.; 0-2) was tagged with an unfortunate loss, as he allowed three runs in the top of the ninth, none of which were earned. Mikael Owens picked up the win for Coker.
The Indians will look to put an end to their losing skid this weekend with the first South Atlantic Conference series at the Smith Road Complex. Newberry will take on the Eagles of Carson-Newman College on Friday at 7 p.m. to begin the weekend, and will begin a doubleheader at 1 p.m. Saturday.