NEWBERRY – Newberry’s 13 seniors played their final South Atlantic Conference game at the Smith Road Complex on Saturday afternoon, ending with a series sweep of the Coker College Cobras with scores of 7-6 and 2-0.
The Wolves end the 2015 regular season with a 33-16 overall record, the most wins in recorded history dating back through 1982. With the sweep, Newberry completed their SAC schedule with four straight conference sweeps, another first in the school’s history. They also compiled a 21-8 overall record in league action, the most wins for the scarlet and gray as a member of the South Atlantic Conference. The 21 wins give the Wolves second place in the final South Atlantic Conference standings, the first time in program history Newberry has finished in the top three in the SAC standings.
Prior to the doubleheader, 13 seniors were recognized for their contributions to the Newberry College baseball program and the Newberry community. The 2015 seniors are: Wesley Camp (Pelion, S.C.), Brandan Sheridan (Jacksonville, Fla.), Alex Kirby (Chapin, S.C.), Cole Cromer (North Augusta, S.C.), D.J. Martinez (Montpelier, Va.), Alex Roberts (Myrtle Beach, S.C.), Jon Rosenberger (Anderson, S.C.), Ty Powell (Charleston, S.C.), Matt Chapman (Summerville, S.C.), Albert Baur (Philadelphia, Pa.), Causey Stanland (Anderson, S.C.), Kevin Hastings (Columbia, S.C.) and Cory Brown (Ocean, N.J.).
An extra inning thriller started senior day for the Wolves, as Rosenberger took the ball to start game one.
The right-hander went 6.1 innings, allowing four runs, three earned, on nine hits while striking out eight Cobra batters. This is the fourth straight game with eight strikeouts and the fifth in a row with eight or more fanned batters for Rosenberger.
Coker got on the scoreboard first in the third inning, as back-to-back singles and a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third with one out. A high throw to the plate on an infield grounder allowed the first run to score before a two-out single plated the second run of the frame, giving the Cobras an early 2-0 lead.
Newberry immediately responded as Jacob Bass (North Augusta, S.C.) led off the bottom of the inning with a walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Camp. Nolan Schrenker (Valrico, Fla.) singled up the middle to score Bass from second to cut the lead in half before a Baur double and a Sheridan sacrifice fly knotted the game at two apiece.
A one-out single and a pair of walks loaded the bases to set up a sacrifice fly opportunity for Coker in the fourth stanza. The Cobras cashed in and re-took the lead, 3-2.
The lead did not last long as Jeff Sneed (Cumming, Ga.) hit a laser over the leftfield fence to tie the game up for the second time, his fourth home run of the season. Robert Kosch (Clemson, S.C.) followed up Sneed with a double and scored on a base hit by Camp to put the scarlet and gray back ahead, 4-3.
A leadoff single came around to score in the top of the fifth for Coker, but Miguel Frias was thrown out at third on a perfect relay from the outfield, attempting to stretch a double into a triple.
Rosenberger exited the game in the seventh with the game tied at four. He pitched out of multiple jams in the contest, leaving two or more runners stranded in three of his six innings.
Chapman took over to record the final two outs in the top half of the seventh before back-to-back singles by Baur and Sheridan started off the bottom half of the inning. The singles turned into runs on a two-RBI triple to the left-centerfield gap off the bat of JoJo Bradley (Spartanburg, S.C.). The triple was Bradley’s seventh of the season, a mark that is tied for second in the Newberry College single season record books and leads the South Atlantic Conference.
Newberry carried a 6-4 lead into the top of the ninth, but Coker did not give in, tying the game on a pair of unearned runs and eventually setting up extra innings.
The Wolves had an opportunity in the bottom of the ninth, as back-to-back singles by Sheridan and Bradley started the inning. After Newberry had an unsuccessful bunt attempt, the lead runner was caught stealing at third, only the first time this season Sheridan has been caught stealing (16-17).
An infield single by Sneed and a walk to Kosch loaded the bases but a groundout to third ended the threat for Newberry.
Daniel Nations (Central, S.C.) came on to throw the tenth and logged a 1-2-3 inning before a leadoff walk to Kirby in the bottom of the frame spelled disaster for Coker.
Stanland strolled to the plate without an out and launched a first pitch fastball deep into the right-centerfield gap for a double to plate Kirby, a story book ending to the first game of Stanland’s senior day.
Nations earned the win in one inning of work to improve to 3-1 on the year. Chapman struck out five of the eight batters he faced while surrendering two unearned runs on two hits. Will Sutton took the loss for the Cobras, falling to 1-3 on the season.
Newberry is now 4-0 on the year in extra-inning games in 2015.
Baur, Sheridan and Sneed all tagged three hits each while Bradley had two and drove in a pair.
The second contest was all Cromer as he picked up his eighth win (8-3) of the year while also tallying his second complete game shutout of the season. The right-hander needed just 91 pitches to retire the 21 Coker batters, striking out eight and allowing only four hits.
Cromer retired the first eight batters he faced before back-to-back singles with two outs in the third inning gave the Cobras their first scoring opportunity of the second game. The senior was able to bail himself out of the jam with a groundball to end the threat and put up a zero on the scoreboard.
The Wolves had their first chance with two outs in the bottom of the second as back-to-back singles by Martinez and Sneed were negated as Coker starter Ryan Milner rolled a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
A walk and a double put runners on second and third with one out for Baur in the third frame, but the Cobras elected to give the first baseman an intentional pass to load the bases. Milner worked his magic again as a strikeout and fly out left all three runners stranded to end the inning.
A leadoff single advanced all the way to third in Coker's fourth inning, but Cromer stranded the runner yet again as three straight groundouts ended the half inning.
Martinez led off the bottom of the fourth with a single and advanced to second on a failed pickoff attempt, putting the fourth runner in scoring position for Newberry in the contest. The next batter, Sneed, continued his hot hitting for the day as he roped a double to right-center to plate Martinez and give Cromer the only run he needed in the contest.
After the fourth frame, Cromer only allowed one more runner to reach base as a two-out single in the sixth was erased as the next hitter flew out to end the stanza.
The scoring ended in the bottom of the sixth as Hastings drew a leadoff walk in his pinch-hit appearance. Sneed laced another double to set up a sacrifice fly opportunity for Kirby, who cashed in for the final run of the game.
Sneed led all hitters with a 3-for-3 effort that included a pair of doubles and a RBI while Martinez was 2-for-3 and scored a run.
On the day Sneed was 6-for-8 with two doubles, a home run and two RBIs. Baur and Sheridan each went 3-for-7 while Martinez had three hits in eight trips to the dish.
The Wolves will take their 13-game winning streak into the South Atlantic Conference Tournament next week as they have locked up the second seed. They will play at 3:45 p.m. on Friday, April 24, at McNair Field in Forest City, N.C., and will face the highest seed of Thursday’s play-in game winners.