NEWBERRY, S.C. - The Newberry College baseball team made valiant comeback attempts, but five unanswered Coker runs gave the visiting Cobras an 11-5 victory at the Smith Road Complex on Tuesday night.
Newberry falls to 11-14 overall with the loss, while Coker moves to 15-12 with its third straight win. The two teams will meet up again in Hartsville on Tuesday, April 6. Newberry returns to South Atlantic Conference action with a three-game series at Catawba starting on Friday.
Coker's Drew Hardee (Rock Hill, S.C.) led off the game with a single, advanced to second on a passed ball and scored on a single by Matthew Kearnes (Bay Shore, N.Y.). The Cobras added three runs in the top of the second on a sacrifice fly by Jessie Crockett (North East, Md.) and a two-run homerun to left-center by Brian Luchsinger (Farmingville, N.Y.) to give the guests a 4-0 lead.
But Newberry stormed back in the bottom of the second when starting pitcher Chris Love (Columbia, S.C.) led off with a single followed by a Sanchez Gartman (Newberry, S.C.) double to put runners in scoring position with no outs. Jose Rosa (Keystone Heights, Fla.) brought home the first run on a sacrifice fly to center and Robby Scaggs (North Augusta, S.C.) hit a two-run single through the right side to make it a 4-3 game.
Kearnes hit a solo homer in the top of the third to push the lead to two runs, but Love answered in the bottom of the frame with a Smith Road "pond shot" homerun into the pond beyond the left field fence to make it a 5-4 contest.
The Cobras added a run in the fourth with a two-out RBI double from Hardee and while Newberry could not score in the fourth, the scarlet and gray made it a one-run game again in the fifth with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly from Jovan Rohena (Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico) after a pair of bunt singles from Andy Vogel (Marietta, Ga.) and Pierce Labrador (Lexington, S.C.). Unfortunately for Newberry, Michael Morin (Miami, Fla.) was doubled up trying to advance to second. That double play took away a chance for Newberry to tie the game on Love's fly ball, which ended the inning instead of turning into a second consecutive sacrifice fly.
Coker pushed its lead to 7-5 on a sacrifice fly from Matt Ammons (Chester, S.C.) in the sixth and scored on a wild pitch with two outs in the seventh to make it 8-5. Newberry went 1-2-3 in the seventh and hit into an unfortunate double play in the eighth when Love lined into an unassisted double play, as the second baseman dove to tag second base before Rohena could return after a leadoff double. The Cobras put three more runs on the board in the top of the ninth and sealed the game when they turned their fourth double play of the game in the bottom of the ninth.
Love (2-4) was tagged with the loss after allowing four runs in two innings, while Jonathan Gainey (Hartsville, S.C.) moved to 1-1 on the season after allowing five runs in seven innings despite striking out only one batter. Nate Fuoco (Palm Bay, Fla.) earned the Cobras' first save of the season with two scoreless innings, inducing two double play balls in only 15 pitches.
Love and Sanchez Gartman (Newberry, S.C.) each went 2-for-4 at the plate for Newberry, while Kearnes was 4-for-5 for the Cobras. Four Cobras earned multiple hits in the game.
Coker 11, Newberry 5
(Mar 16, 2010 at Newberry, S.C.)
Coker............... 131 101 103 - 11 15 1 (15-12)
Newberry............ 031 010 000 - 5 10 3 (11-14)
Pitchers: Coker - Jonathan Gainey; Nick Fuoco(8) and Jessie Crockett. Newberry - Chris Love; Hunter Cox(3); Gary Hersey(5); Evan Brown(8); Zach Tutak(9) and Jose Rosa.
Win-Jonathan Gainey(1-1) Save-Nick Fuoco(1) Loss-Chris Love(2-4) T-2:41 A-305
HR COKER - Matthew Kearnes (3); Brian Luchsinger (2).
HR NEW - Chris Love (3).
Weather: Partly cloudy, Low 60s
Gainey faced 1 batter in the 8th.
Evan Brown faced 2 batters in the 9th.
FULL BOX SCORE