April 22, 2017123456789RHE
Win: Evan Estridge (5-2) 6.061106
Loss: Landon Whitson (2-5) 2.053301
Marcus Shoemaker (LR) 312000
Garrett Vaughn (LR) 312101
Robert Kosch (NBY) 413110
Danton Hyman (NBY) 513100
Trejon Smith (NBY) 413000
April 22, 201712345678RHE
Win: Tomas Sorcia (2-0) 2.020010
Loss: Tad Ratliff (0-3) 3.231123
Alex Reynolds (LR) 403000
Daymon Totherow (NBY) 413100
Wolves clinch No. 3 seed with doubleheader sweep

Wolves clinch No. 3 seed with doubleheader sweep
Saturday, April 22, 2017 | by Randall Stewart, Director of Athletic Communications

NEWBERRY – On Senior Day at the Smith Road Complex, Newberry’s most productive senior made sure to send the largest crowd of the season home happy.

With a crowd of 416 squeezed in to every nook of the facility, Daymon Totherow’s walk-off single in extra innings gave Newberry (31-19, 16-8 SAC) a series sweep of Lenoir-Rhyne (21-26, 6-18 SAC), adding a 5-4 win to a 7-2 triumph earlier in the day, and clinched the No. 3 seed in the upcoming 2017 South Atlantic Conference Baseball Championship for the Wolves.

The Wolves entered the afternoon tied with Tusculum for third in the league with Mars Hill lurking 1.5 games back in the standings. The Lions’ series with Carson-Newman was affected by weather. A third game will be attempted Sunday afternoon. Mars Hill is currently half a game ahead of Tusculum.

Newberry’s first win of the day clinched a top-four seed and the all-important bye into the double-elimination portion of the tournament that begins on Friday in Kodak, Tennessee. Tusculum held the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Wolves, but faltered in the first game of their doubleheader at Wingate, setting the stage for Newberry to clinch the No. 3 seed with a second win over the Bears.

And the Wolves delivered, though the situation appeared bleak at the outset. Lenoir-Rhyne got a leadoff walk, a double, and another walk to load the bases for Brandon Lam. The diminutive right fielder crushed the first pitch he saw just over the outstretched glove of Derek Olenchuk, who crashed hard into the wall in left field as four Bears came in to score on the grand slam.

Newberry returned the favor, however, with a four-run fourth inning to tie the score. Danton Hyman and Olenchuk singled to nearly identical spots up the middle and moved up 90 feet on a perfect bunt down the third base line by Totherow. A fielding error allowed Trejon Smith to reach safely with an RBI and two runs home before the Woles pulled within a run on a squeeze bunt by Jeff Sneed. Ben Herring’s double to right center three pitches later knotted the score at four.

Lenoir-Rhyne threatened in the fifth and seventh innings, stranding the bases full in both frames as clutch hitting eluded the visitors. Robert Kosch speared a screaming line drive with one out in the eighth and doubled off a runner at first to turn the game over to the Newberry offense, when Totherow’s single allowed Olenchuk to slide in just under the tag and the Wolves’ bench to mob the senior on the infield.

Totherow went 3-for-4 with a run scored and the game-winning RBI in his Smith Road Complex finale. Tomas Sorcia, Jr. earned the win in relief with 2.0 innings out of the bullpen.

Evan Estridge ran his record to 5-2 on the season in the first game, allowing a run on six hits in 6.0 innings of work. He had six of the Wolves’ eight strikeouts, with four Newberry pitchers combining for zero walks in the contest. The last out was recorded by senior Andrew Merritt, seeing his first game action since 2015.

Kosch, Danton Hyman, and Smith tallied three hits apiece to lead a 15-hit barrage by the Wolves. Newberry took advantage of four hits and an error to take a 3-0 lead in the second inning. They tacked on three more runs in the fourth, with a two-run single by Olenchuk providing the highlight.

Lenoir-Rhyne threatened in the sixth inning with a pair of singles, but Estridge was up to the task. The freshman retired the next three batters he faced to keep Newberry’s lead at 7-1. The Bears notched a run in the eighth to pull within five runs but could get no closer on Newberry’s stable of relievers.

Newberry next returns to action on Friday at the 2017 SAC Baseball Championship. The tournament is contested at Smokies Stadium, home of the Cubs’ Double A affiliate Tennessee Smokies, in Kodak, Tennessee. At press time, Newberry’s opponent Friday at 7:30 p.m. is unknown—if Mars Hill and Carson-Newman are unable to complete at least four innings of their seven-inning contest tomorrow, or if the Lions win the game, Newberry would face Mars Hill. The Wolves took the series against the Lions in Mars Hill last month.

If Carson-Newman defeats Mars Hill, the Wolves would face Tusculum. Newberry was swept by the Pioneers, including an extra-innings loss, when the teams met in Greeneville, Tennessee in March.

2017 SAC Baseball Championship Seeding
1. Catawba
2. Lincoln Memorial
3. Newberry
4. Mars Hill/Tusculum
5. Mars Hill/Tusculum
6. Coker
7. Carson-Newman
8. Wingate