NEWBERRY - This weekend marks the first South Atlantic Conference series that the Newberry baseball team has played since they took 2-of-3 from Lincoln Memorial on February 13-14. This also marks the 107th meeting of the Wolves, formerly Indians, and the Catawba College Indians. The two schools first met in 1946 and met yearly from 1962 to 1974. In 1990 they revived the series and soon became South Atlantic Conference foes in 1997 when the pair squared off as conference opponents for the first time.
Catawba leads the overall series 70-36 but Newberry has been catching up as of late, winning three of the last five and six of the last 10. The last time Catawba came to the Smith Road Complex they were swept by the Wolves with scores of 7-5, 7-5 and 5-4 in the 2013 regular season series.
WHERE: Newberry, S.C. - Smith Road Complex
WHEN: 4 p.m., Friday, February 27 and 1 p.m., Saturday, February 28
RECORDS: Newberry 8-4, 4-2 SAC and Catawba 9-3, 3-2 SAC
LIVE AUDIO: WKDK 1240 AM in Newberry County
LIVE VIDEO: http://www.NewberryWolves.tv
LIVE STATS: http://www.NewberryStats.com
WEATHER: Friday 49 degrees mostly sunny with slight breeze and no chance of rain, Saturday 41 degrees partly cloudy with 10-15 mph wind and no chance of rain
The Wolves were washed out on Tuesday against Erskine but were able to take a non-conference game from the Lincoln (Pa.) Lions on Wednesday afternoon with a score of 11-1. Newberry started off slow but got going after Ty Powell (Charleston, S.C.) drove a two-strike, two-out double to right field that put the Wolves up 2-0.
Lincoln answered with a run in the top of the fourth but Newberry plated nine unaswered runs to send the Lions out of the Smith Road Complex with a 0-1 record.
Alex Roberts (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) picked up the win to improve to 2-0 on the year while eight different Newberry batters picked up hits, led by Powell who had a career high in both hits and runs batted in as he was 2-for-4 at the plate with a double, run scored and three runs batted in.
Albert Baur (Philadelphia, Pa.) was named the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) Southeast Region Co-Hitter of the Week late Tuesday evening after going 7-for-10 and hitting for the cycle a week ago. He is up for the NCBWA National Hitter of the Week award.
Newberry will face the 2014 reigning South Atlantic Conference Tournament Champion and Regular Season Co-Champion Catawa squad that ranks at the top of the conference in nearly every category.
The Indians are ranked in the top seven of every offensive category including fifth in batting average, sixth in hits, second in home runs and third in runs, runs batted in and stolen bases. On the mound the lead the SAC in team ERA with a 2.87 and are second in opponent batting average as the opposition is hitting just .211 against their pitchers while only giving up a league low 70 hits. They have allowed a SAC best 35 runs and have also only allowed 32 walks, a a conference low.
The Wolves are also ranked seventh or better in every offensive category, leading the conference in stolen bases (19), triples (6), walks (64) and on-base percentage (.428). They are second in the league with 32 doubles and have been hit by a pitch 15 times. Their .322 batting average, .465 slugging percentage, 133 hits and 43 extra base hits are all third best while their 85 runs batted in and 95 runs scored rank fourth. On the hill Newberry is fifth with a 4.91 ERA and seventh with opposing batting average as opposing teams are hitting .300 against the Wolves' pitching staff.
In game one the Wolves will send senior righthander Jonathan Rosenberger (Anderson, S.C.) to face off with reigning South Atlantic Conference Freshman of the Year Shaefer Shepard. Rosenberger has compiled three quality starts for Newberry but only has an 0-1 record to show for it. He carries a 4.11 ERA in 15.1 innings pitch while striking out 13 batters. Shepard is 3-0 on the year with a 3.68 ERA in 22 innings pitch and has fanned 16 batters.
The first game of the double header Saturday will feature the pitching matchup of the week and maybe the year as Newberry's senior ace Wesley Camp (Pelion, S.C.) will duel with Catawba's senior ace Craig Brooks. Both are preseason first team All-SAC and All-Southeast Region (NCBWA) selection starting pitchers and both have lived up to the hype so far this season.
The Wolves' southpaw has amassed a 3-0 record with a 1.61 ERA in 22.1 innings pitched and boasts an unheard of 26-to-1 strikeout to walk ratio. The Indians righthander has a 2-1 record with an astounding 0.74 ERA in 24.1 innings while mowing down 34 batters and only allowing seven free passes.
Brooks is second in innings pitched and ERA, third in strikeouts and fourth in strikeouts per game (12.58) in the SAC. Camp is ranked first in wins, seventh in strikeouts per game (10.48) and fifthe in ERA, innings pitched and strikeouts.
Game three will feature Wolves' senior Cole Cromer (North Augusta, S.C.) battle Catawba's sophomore Matt Farmakis. Farmakis will make his first start of the 2015 season as he has made four appearances and totaled a 0-1 record with a 2.84 ERA in 6.1 innings on the bump. Cromer has a 1-2 mark with a 9.82 ERA in 14.2 innings and nine strikeouts.