WINGATE, N.C. - The fifth-seeded Newberry College baseball team pulled ahead early and held off a furious ninth inning charge to eliminate the third-seeded Mars Hill Lions, 11-8, at Ron Christopher Stadium on Saturday.
Newberry advances to play Catawba at 7:30 tonight for a berth in the championship series against Tusculum.
Newberry (19-22) followed a very strong pitching performance from Thomas Berryhill (Aynor, S.C.; 3-1 record). The junior allowed only three hits over eight innings, striking out seven. The Lions scored only one run until a seven-run ninth inning.
Mars Hill (27-20) allowed six runs in the first two innings, but Brian william (Orlando, Fla.) did everything in his power to keep his team in the game. Two late homeruns off of Berryhill drove home four runs, but the senior designated hitter ended the game in the on deck circle as Corry DiBiase (Orlando, Fla.) grounded into a double play to end the game.
Newberry got on the board first, when Jovan Rohena (Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico) hit a two-out homerun to right field. The scarlet and gray put five runs on the board in the second with two outs. Jose Rosa (Keystone Heights, Fla.) singled to start the rally followed by consecutive walks by Hunter Wynn (Vero Beach, Fla.), Michael Morin (Miami, Fla.) and Derek Bley (Upper Arlington, Ohio).
Senior third baseman John Kirkland (Orlando, Fla.) smacked a three-run double to right-center, and Rohena capped the rally with an RBI single to left, giving Newberry a 6-0 lead after two innings.
Newberry scored three times in the fifth, with the rally sparked by a leadoff walk from Casio Grider (Hephzibah, Ga.). A Jim Pollack (Homer, Alaska) infield single followed by a wild pitch put runners in scoring position. Wynn plated a run with a sacrifice fly followed by RBI hits from Morin and Bley.
Mars Hill put its first run on the board in the top of the seventh on a solo homer from Williams, only the second hit Berryhill had allowed in the game to that point. Newberry answered that run with one of its own in the seventh to extend the lead back to nine runs, as Morin crossed the plate on a wild pitch.
Newberry pushed the lead to 10 runs in the eighth on a Pollack RBI single, but the Lions roared back in the ninth.
Williams hit a monstrous three-run homer to left with no outs, followed later by an RBI infield single from Matt Oleski (West Seneca, N.Y.). Tim Liberty (St. Petersburg, Fla.) hit a two-run pinch hit double and Matt Harris (Dobson, N.C.) hit an RBI single to cut the lead to three runs.
However, Newberry reliever Chauncey Mattei (Greenville, S.C.) needed only two pitches to force DiBiase into a double play to end the game and pick up his first save of the season.
Williams was Mars Hill's leading hitter, going 2-for-4 with four RBIs on two homeruns. Pollack ended the game with three consecutive hits to go 3-for-4 on the day, while Morin was 3-for-3 on the game.
Newberry 11, Mars Hill 8
(Apr 25, 2009 at Wingate, N.C.)
Mars Hill........... 000 000 107 - 8 8 0 (27-20)
Newberry............ 150 030 11X - 11 12 2 (19-22)
Pitchers: Mars Hill - Corey Rau; Chad Jarvis(2); Matt Dameron(5); Joey Hone(5); Jason Kennell(7); Lee Blalock(8); Brian Wolf(8) and Mike Dobre. Newberry - Thomas Berryhill; Gary Hersey(9); Chauncey Mattei(9) and Jose Rosa.
Win-Thomas Berryhill(3-1) Save-Chauncey Mattei(1) Loss-Corey Rau(3-3) T-2:48 A-247
HR MHC - Brian Williams 2 (17).
HR NEW - Jovan Rohena (5).
Chad Jarvis faced 3 batters in the 5th.
T. Berryhill faced 4 batters in the 9th.
FULL BOX SCORE