NEWBERRY, S.C. - The Newberry College baseball team opened its 2009 campaign with a marathon 6-5 victory over Limestone College in 13 innings. Senior third baseman John Kirkland (Orlando, Fla.) hit a bases-loaded single with no outs in the bottom of the 13th inning to propel Newberry to the win.
Newberry (1-0) fell behind in the top of the first when Limestone's Aldo Mendez (Cidra, Puerto Rico) scored from second on a throwing error after a sacrifice fly attempt. But the scarlet and gray tied the game in the bottom of the first. Thomas Berryhill (Aynor, S.C.) led off with a bunt single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. After reaching third on a passed ball, Berryhill was plated on an RBI single up the middle from Scott Horvath (Apopka, Fla.).
The hosts took the lead in the bottom of the second after loading the bases with no outs. Phillip Bartz (LaCrescent, Minn.) hit a ball hard up the middle, but caught the pitcher on the leg, which was converted into a 1-2-3 double play. With two men on and two outs, Berryhill's single plated C.J. Tyrkala (Palm Harbor, Fla.) and Tyler Hartman (Deland, Fla.) to give Newberry a 3-1 lead.
Limestone cut the lead to 3-2 in the top of the third on an RBI single from first baseman Drew Lydon (White Plains, Md.) - the first of three RBIs for Lydon in the game. Newberry pushed out to a 4-2 lead on an RBI single from right fielder Jim Pollack (Homer, Alaska) in the bottom of the third. Limestone tied the game at 4-all in the top of the fifth on a pair of unearned runs with an RBI single from Lydon and an RBI sacrifice fly from Tim Welsh (Kalamazoo, Mich.). Newberry starter Josh McElwee left the game afte 4-1/3 innings of work, allowing four runs - none of which were earned - on four hits, striking out two.
The Saints took the lead in the top of the seventh when Lydon drove in Greg Dailey (Baltimore, Md.) with a run-scoring single to right field. Newberry tied the game in the eighth when Bartz ran out a fielder's choice that broke up a potential inning ending double paly, and plating Casio Grider (Hephzibah, Ga.). Neither team could get a man on base in the ninth, sending the game into extra innings.
Limestone had the first chance to put a run on the board in the top of the 11th, when Lydon stepped to the plate with one out and runners on first and third. However, Dale Bennett (Summerville, S.C.) got the three-RBI man to ground into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play to stop the threat. In the top of the 13th, the Saints got runners on second and third with two outs, but Newberry second baseman Jovan Rohena (Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico) made a spectacular leaping grab for the third out.
After tying the game in the bottom of the eighth, Newberry was not able to get a runner on base until the crucial bottom of the 13th. Limestone pitcher Kyle Matheny (Spindale, N.C.; 0-1) walked Terrence Gray (Newberry, S.C.) and Bartz in succession. Relief pitcher Gary Hersey (Key West, Fla.; 1-0) ran out a bunt single to load the bases with no outs. Kirkland stepped to the plate and ripped a liner to left field on a 2-2 count to end the game and put the scarlet and gray in the win column.
Berryhill was Newberry's statistical leader, hitting 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored, a steal and 1-1/3 innings of effective relief, allowing only one hit. Hersey picked up the win with 2 relief innings, allowing one hit and striking out one.
The scarlet and gray play their first road game on Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m. against Lander at Greenwood's Legion Field. Newberry then returns home for a nine-game homestand, beginning with a four-game series against the College of St. Rose starting at 7 p.m. Friday at the Smith Road Complex.