DUE WEST - The Newberry Wolves jumped out to a lead in the top of the first inning and followed solid pitching performances from Brandon Ahrens (Newberry, S.C.) and Mario Rojas (Miami, Fla.) to take an 8-2 win from the Flying Fleet of Erskine at Grier Field on Thursday afternoon.
With the win, Newberry is now 5-5 on the year, while Erskine falls to 5-2. The Wolves are scheduled to open South Atlantic Conference play Friday at 2 p.m. at Mars Hill, with a noon doubleheader on Saturday.
Anthony Siler (Longwood, Fla.) reached on an error to lead off the game and stole third, while Wesley Camp (Pelion, S.C.) drew a walk to quickly put runners on the corners. Eric Barbieri (Marlton, N.J.) brought Siler home with a single and Camp scored when Jermale Paige (Walterboro, S.C.) reached on an error to take a 2-0 lead.
Ryan Cranmer (Newport, N.C.) extended the Wolves' lead to 4-0 with a two-run, two-out triple in the top of the second. Paige hit a one-out triple in the third and scored on a Brandan Sheridan (Jacksonville, Fla.) groundout to make it 5-1. Ahrens had been perfect in the first two innings, but Erskine's Cody Spence led off the third with a solo homerun to cut the lead to 4-1.
Ahrens (1-0) would allow only two more runners to reach scoring position, as he allowed the one run on two hits while striking out six and walking one in five innings of work.
Newberry's offense was stifled until the seventh inning, when Cranmer led off with a single, advanced to third when Barbieri reached via error and scored on an RBI single from Albert Baur (Philadelpia, Pa.) to make it 6-1.
Rojas earned his first save of the season with four innings of relief, allowing one run on two hits, striking out three and walking one. Erskine's solitary run against him came on an RBI pinch-hit triple by Connor Gibson in the bottom of the seventh to make it 6-2.
In the top of the ninth, Barbieri ensured the victory with his second homer of the season, this time also bringing Cranmer home after he reached with a single.
Cranmer went 4-for-5 on the day with two RBIs and two runs scored, while Barbieri was 3-for-5 with three RBIs. Siler also collected two hits and a pair of runs scored. The Wolves' defense was solid, committing no errors, while Erskine had four miscues.