FOREST CITY, N.C. – A five run fifth inning boosted the third seeded Tusculum Pioneers over the second seeded Newberry Wolves, 11-7, in the 2015 South Atlantic Conference baseball championship on Friday evening.
With the loss, Newberry drops to 34-17 on the year and sees their 14 game winning streak come to a close. Tusculum moves to 29-16 for the season.
A leadoff walk came around to score in the top of the first to put Newberry at an early 1-0 deficit right out of the gate.
The Wolves answered in the second inning as Brandan Sheridan (Jacksonville, Fla.) led off with a single and scored on a groundball off the bat of Jeff Sneed (Cumming, Ga.) to knot the game up at one.
Tusculum re-took the lead in the top of the third as a leadoff single and a bunt single put runners on first and second without an out. A successful sacrifice bunt moved the runners up ninety feet to second and third with one out. A single plated the second run of the game for the Pioneers, but Newberry starter Cole Cromer (North Augusta, S.C.) induced a 4-6-3 double play to get the Wolves out of the inning, down 2-1.
A one-out double by JoJo Bradley (Spartanburg, S.C.) and a walk issued to D.J. Martinez (Montpelier, Va.) came around to score on a two-RBI single off the bat of Robert Kosch (Clemson, S.C.) to give Newberry a 3-2 lead.
The Pioneers recorded a leadoff single to begin the top of the fifth inning before three straight bunts plated a run and left the bases still loaded without an out. A two-RBI double and a two-RBI single changed the complexity of the game as each of the two hits drove in two runs each.
A hit batter came around to score in the top of the sixth for Tusculum, but Newberry countered right back. Bradley led off the bottom of the frame with a single and came around to score on another single by Kosch. At the end of six complete innings, the score stood at 8-4.
Tusculum had a quick answer for the Wolves as a home run to right put the lead back to five at 9-4.
Albert Baur (Philadelphia, Pa.) started a rally in the bottom of the seventh as he roped a double down the left field line to give the scarlet and gray a runner in scoring position with one out. Sheridan reached on an error before Bradley tagged his third hit of the game and drove in both Sheridan and Baur.
Bradley stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by the Pioneer catcher, before scoring on a sacrifice fly from Martinez, placing the Wolves trailing 9-7 after seven innings.
A pair of unearned runs crossed the plate on a two-RBI double in the top of the eighth for Tusculum, ending the scoring at 11-7.
The scarlet and gray went 3-for-13 with runners in scoring on the night while Tusculum was 7-for-16.
Cromer took the loss to drop to 8-4 on the season while Pioneers’ starter Ethan Carpenter picked up his fourth win on the year.
Jeremiah Tullidge led all hitters with a 4-for-5 night at the dish with a pair of doubles, a home run, six RBIs and two runs scored.
Bradley led the Wolves with three hits in four trips to plate while driving in a pair and scoring three times. Kosch was 2-for-4 with a career-high three RBIs in the contest while Sheridan scored twice and Baur tabbed two doubles.
Newberry will face fifth seeded Wingate for the second time in the tournament at noon on Sunday. The Wolves have their backs against the wall as it is win or go home.
The scarlet and gray defeated the Bulldogs 9-0 in their first matchup of the 2015 South Atlantic Conference baseball championship on Friday afternoon.