NEWBERRY - The Newberry Wolves completed the regular season with a 33-16 overall record and a 21-8 mark in South Atlantic Conference action, the most wins in a single season dating back through 1981 and the most SAC wins since joining the league in 1997. Newberry picked up the second seed in the SAC Tournament for the first time since joining the league and the first time they have finished in the top three in the final standings. They will face the fifth seeded Wingate Bulldogs in their first game of the 2015 SAC Tournament.
WHERE: Forest City, N.C. - McNair Field
WHEN: Friday, April 24, at 3:45 p.m.
RECORDS: Newberry 33-16, 21-8 SAC and Wingate 27-20, 15-15 SAC
LIVE AUDIO: AM 1240 WKDK in Newberry County
LIVE VIDEO: N/A
LIVE STATS: http://www.TheSAC.com
WEATHER: 68 degrees and sunny without a chance of rain at 3:45 p.m., fading to low 60s by 8 p.m.
The Wolves ended the regular season with a sweep of the Coker Cobras, extending their winning streak to 13 games, the second longest streak in NCAA Division II. Newberry also swept their last four South Atlantic Conference series heading into the start of the conference tournament.
A record number of Wolves were named to all-conference squads with Albert Baur (Philadelphia, Pa.), Brandan Sheridan (Jacksonville, Fla.) and Wesley Camp (Pelion, S.C.) leading the way on the first team. JoJo Bradley (Spartanburg, S.C.) and Daniel Nations (Central, S.C.) received second team honors while Jacob Bass (North Augusta, S.C.), Nolan Schrenker (Valrico, Fla.), Cole Cromer (North Augusta, S.C.) and Jon Rosenberger (Anderson, S.C.) were all honorable mentions selections. Alex Kirby (Chapin, S.C.) was also recognized for his leatherwork with his second straight Gold Glove award.
Head coach Russell Triplett was named the South Atlantic Conference Coach of the Year, the first time the Newberry College baseball program has had a Coach of the Year.
Newberry completed the season hitting .323 with 540 hits, 115 doubles, 19 triples and 35 home runs, all of which rank in top six in the league. On the mound the Wolves boasted a 4.33 ERA which ranked third in the SAC while totaling the most strikeouts (406) and the highest fielding percentage (.966).
Wingate comes in as one of the most dangerous teams in the country with a bat in their hand. They hit .315 on the year with 512 hits, 180 for extra bases, and led the country in home runs (70). However, their achilles heel has been the pitching staff. The young group has a 5.26 ERA with 313 strikeouts and 201 walks in 387 innings pitched. Only five of the Bulldogs' pitchers are upperclassmen with four juniors and one senior.
The Wolves took all three regular season meetings this season (7-4, 11-1 and 6-3), the first time since 1999 that Newberry has swept Wingate. Bass was 7-for-10 with a double, three RBIs and four runs scored while Sheridan went 7-for-13 with a pair of doubles, two RBIs and three runs scored.
Rosenberger dominated on the mound in the second game with a complete game performance. He struck out eight over the seven innings, scattering six hits and allowing only one run.
Brad Cherry led Wingate offensively with four hits, including the sole home run for the Bulldogs on the weekend. Six other Wingate players tabbed three hits each while Brett Morgan struck out seven in the third game, but was tagged with the loss after surrendering four runs on one hit.
Two Tino Martinez Award semifinalists will square off in the contest, with Baur and Wingate's Thomas Spitz. Baur hit .340 for the year with 16 home runs and 59 RBIs while Spitz posted a .373 average with 13 home runs and 58 RBIs. The Tino Martinez Award is given annually to the nation's top Division II baseball player, with Baur and Spitz being two of 30 semifinalists.
Newberry is 17-29 in South Atlantic Conference Tournament appearances since joining the league in 1997. They have met Wingate four times with the 'Dogs coming out on top in each meeting.
With Triplett at the helm, the Wolves are 5-8 in the last four years, with one of the losses coming against Wingate in 2011, the only meeting between the two schools in the SAC Tournament in the last four seasons.
The Wolves won the first two games of the 2011 tournament, defeating top seeded Wingate and fourth seeded Tusculum before facing the Bulldogs. Wingate carried a 7-5 lead before the Wolves posted two runs in the top of the ninth to tie the game at seven-all. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs got the better of Newberry as they scratched across a run in the bottom of the 12th inning to take the game.