BELMONT, N.C. – A gem from preseason first team all-South Atlantic Conference pitcher Zack Kelly and a 13-hit performance by the Wolves’ offense gave Newberry a decisive 10-0 win at No. 19 Belmont Abbey in the 2017 season opener.
Kelly was masterful for Newberry (1-0), giving up just two hits in seven scoreless innings. He issued one free passes, struck out six hitters, allowed just one runner to reach second base, and faced two batters over the minimum through his seven frames.
The senior retired each of the first nine batters he faced in the contest, including five consecutive via strikeout in the second and third innings. Third baseman Nick Nunziato led off the fourth with a single into left field but was erased on an inning-ending, 4-6-3 double play moments later.
While Kelly kept the Crusaders’ (0-2) dangerous offense at bay, the Newberry hitters came to life. Daymon Totherow, Jeff Sneed, and Robert Kosch all recorded multi-hit afternoons, while eight Wolves finished the day with at least one RBI.
Newberry scored a pair in the fourth off a Jason Taylor RBI groundout and a Kosch squeeze play to break the scoreless tie, then used a Derek Olenchuk double, a Trejon Smith RBI groundout, and Sneed infield single to extend the advantage to five runs an inning later.
The Wolves overcame 1-2-3 frames in the sixth and seventh to send 10 men to the plate in the eighth, breaking the game open with a five-run inning. Totherow delivered the biggest blow. With three runs already in courtesy of a single to left center and a double down each line, the Wolves’ right fielder smacked a single into right center to bring home both runners in scoring position.
Freshman right-hander Evan Estridge handled the Belmont Abbey lineup over the final two innings, allowing a hit and a walk while striking out three.
Crusaders’ starter Jeff Thompson was saddled with the loss after giving up five runs on six hits through 4.1 innings on the mound. The Wolves tagged reliever Robert Frantzis with five runs before Troy Herterick and Stephen Hueber combined for 2.0 scoreless innings.
The Wolves and 19th-ranked Crusaders will continue their series on Saturday with a doubleheader at the Smith Road Complex. First pitch of the twinbill is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.