FOREST CITY, N.C. - The Newberry Wolves fought back from a deficit to tie the game twice, but two runs from Lincoln Memorial in the bottom of the seventh inning gave the Railspltters a 12-10 win in the Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament, ending Newberry's season one game short of a chance to play for the championship.
Newberry sees its season end at 29-22, marking the first winning season since 1999. LMU is now 25-24 and plays Carson-Newman for the championship this evening.
The Wolves fell behind 1-0 after the first inning, but took advantage of a lack of control from LMU's Brandon Cowan. A double by Eric Babrieri (Marlton, N.J.) led off the second and three walks and a hit batsman brought home a run. Jermale Paige (Walterboro, S.C.) brought home a run with an RBI fielder's choice and Ryan Cranmer (Newport, N.C.) blasted a three-run homer to left to put the scarlet and gray's lead at 6-1.
The Railsplitters chipped away at the lead with a run in the second and two runs in the third, but it was a grand slam from Josh Coker that put LMU back up by an 8-6 count.
Newberry responded will in the top of the fifth, scoring a pair on an RBI double by Barbieri and a Bradley Nichols (Winter Springs, Fla.) sacrifice fly to tie the game at 8-8. The Railsplitters' Andre Rodriguez led off the sixth with a solo homer to give LMU the lead and a Colin Buckner RBI single pushed the LMU lead to 10-8.
Once again in the top of the seventh, it was Newberry's turn to respond. The Wolves' Alex Kirby (Chapin, S.C.) hit an RBI single to right and a JoJo Bradley (Spartanburg, S.C.) fielder's choice tied up the game. However, Newberry left two runners in scoring position in that frame. After LMU led off the bottom of the seventh with a single, Newberry was inches away from turning a double play twice, but still had LMU with only a runner on first before Coker hit his second homer of the day to give the 'Splitters a 12-10 lead.
Newberry had a runner reach on an error to lead off the eighth, but the final six Wolves were retired in order, putting an end to the year.
Barbieri was 3-for-5 in the game with two doubles, while Cranmer's three RBIs led the scarlet and gray. Brandan Sheridan (Jacksonville, Fla.) tied a SAC record with four walks, coming around to score twice.
Hunter Cox (Andrews, S.C.) was tagged with the loss after allowing the second Coker homer, going 2.1 innings pitched and allowing only two hits.