KODAK, Tenn. – Much like last night’s contest, Newberry struggled to solve a dominant left-handed starter in the 2017 Pilot/Flying J South Atlantic Conference Baseball Championship.
But unlike Friday night against Mars Hill, Newberry never found a breakthrough inning to jumpstart its offense.
The Railsplitters (31-17) scored three times in the first inning and never looked back while Ethan Elliot shut down the Newbery offense with a complete-game, two-hit shutout in a dominant 13-0 win.
With the loss, Newberry (32-20) must win four consecutive elimination games to return to South Carolina with the tournament championship and the automatic bid to the 2017 NCAA Division II Baseball Championship. The Wolves face Carson-Newman at approximately 3:45 p.m. Sunday. Should Newberry win, it would face the loser of Catawba and Lincoln Memorial in a 7:30 contest after the Catawba Indians and Railsplitters play the day’s first game at noon.
Newberry could not solve the lanky Elliot in what was a spectacular start for the sophomore. The Wolves were held hitless through the first five innings before Derek Olenchuk finally broke through with a single through the left side with no outs in the sixth. The Wolves would not record another base hit until Jeff Sneed’s leadoff single in the ninth.
The Newberry offense, however, was unable to recapture its magic from Friday evening, with just two of its eight baserunners reaching via a base hit while the Railsplitters accumulated 17 hits and 22 total baserunners.
Lincoln Memorial scored early and often to set the tone. The first two batters of the game reached on base hits before center fielder Logan Augustine launched the first of two three-run homers to put the Railsplitters ahead 3-0. Augustine finished the contest 4-for-4 with three runs scored, six RBI’s, and a double to go with his pair of home runs.
Augustine was one of seven Railsplitters to finish the game with multiple hits in the 17-hit barrage. Newberry pitchers worked just one clean inning as the Railsplitters totaled 21 baserunners.
While Augustine and the Lincoln Memorial offense continually added to their lead, Elliot was masterful. He located 77 of his 125 pitches for strikes and put 24 of the 36 batters he faced in an 0-1 hole. Elliot finished with 10 strikeouts and improved his record to 5-3 on the season. Newberry starter Evan Estridge fell to 5-3 with the loss.
The Wolves faced Carson-Newman for a three-game set at the Smith Road Complex six weeks ago, with Newberry notching a series sweep. The Wolves won the first two games by scores of 7-4 and 8-5 before a walk-off walk with the bases loaded gave Newberry a win in the series finale.