FOREST CITY, N.C. - The Newberry Wolves scored seven straight runs and followed a fantastic relief performance from Cole Cromer to notch a 7-3 win over the Carson-Newman Eagles and advance in the Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Baseball Tournament at McNair Field on Saturday morning.
Newberry moves to 28-21 on the season, mathematically clinching the first winning season for the scarlet and gray since 1999. The Wolves play an elimination game against top-seeded Catawba at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. Carson-Newman is now 20-25 on the year.
Cromer (North Augusta, S.C.) came into a 2-2 tied game in the top of the third and proceeded to throw 7.0 innings of one-run baseball, striking out eight and allowing only four hits in the game. His record moves to 5-2 on the year.
Starter Brandon Ahrens (Newberry, S.C.) walked the leadoff batter in the first and second innings, allowing two runs in the second inning to give Carson-Newman a 2-0 lead.
Newberry responded with three consecutive doubles in the bottom of the second from Eric Barbieri (Marlton, N.J.), JoJo Bradley (Spartanburg, S.C.) and Jermale Paige (Walterboro, S.C.) to tie the game at 2-all after two innings.
Albert Baur (Philadelphia, Pa.) hit a one-out single to center to give the Wolves their first baserunner of the third, and Barbieri then crushed a mammoth homer over the 25-foot high wall in left field to give Newberry a lead it would never relinquish.
Neither team could score in the middle innings and it would be Bradley who would finally give the Wolves some more cushion with a two-out, two-run single in the seventh. He then stole third on the fourth ball of a Paige walk and the throw from the C-N catcher sailed into left field allowing the freshman to score and put Newberry's lead at 7-2.
The Eagles had runners on second and third with one out in the eighth and only managed to score one run and Cromer's perfect ninth inning sealed Newberry's win.
Baur, Barbieri and Bradley all had two hits apiece, with Bradley driving in three runs and Barbieri driving in two. Both of Barbieri's hits were extra base hits (a double and a homer), and he now has three extra base hits in the SAC Tournament.