LEXINGTON – An unearned run with two outs in the ninth and a 1-2-3 inning from Charlie Fessler sealed Newberry’s win 4-3 over North Greenville at Lexington County Baseball Stadium for the Wolves’ eighth victory in their last nine games.
Colin Allman, a freshman from Tampa, Florida making his first career start at shortstop and sixth overall, came up to bat with Jeff Sneed standing on second base and two gone in the inning. Sneed had reached on a fielder’s choice after a leadoff walk by Trejon Smith and advanced to second on Cody Ezzell’s sacrifice bunt.
Allman took four pitches to work the count even at 2-2, then lifted a ball to the opposite field. The Crusaders’ (15-5) right fielder overran the play, allowing Sneed to cross the plate with the go-ahead run and Allman to stand at third base.
The miscue was all the cushion Fessler would need as he set the Crusaders down in order for his first career save. Newberry, which began the season 4-8, is now 12-9 on the year after winning eight of nine games, including a 17-inning win at Augusta last Wednesday that was the longest game in South Atlantic Conference history.
Allman had two of Newberry’s five hits on the day, officially finishing 2-for-3 with a seventh-inning RBI on a single through the left side that knotted the score at three runs apiece. The Wolves were outhit 8-5 but stranded one fewer runner on the basepaths, successfully executed three bunts and a sacrifice fly, did not issue a walk to North Greenville hitters while drawing three of their own, and played perfect defense while the Crusaders committed three errors.
North Greenville scored single runs in the second, third, and fourth frames but were held scoreless over the final five innings. Hunter Hill was credited with the win with four innings of relief, giving up four hits but recording four strikeouts. Starter Christian Zellner earned a no-decision for his four innings on the mound, allowing three runs on four hits.
Newberry scored its first two runs in the fourth inning. With two on and nobody out, Ben Herring lifted a fly ball down the left field line that bounced on the warning track and hopped over the fence for a ground rule double to score a run. Sneed followed with a sacrifice fly to round out the scoring in the inning.
Daymon Totherow went 0-for-4 to see his 31-game reached base streak come to an end. Danton Hyman worked a fourth-inning walk and scored a run, however, to extend his reached-base streak to 31 games dating back to April 15, 2016.
North Greenville was the designated home team in the neutral-site contest at the home of the Coastal Plain League’s Lexington County Blowfish. The stadium has hosted numerous college baseball contests and will serve as the home of the Big South Conference Baseball Tournament for the second consecutive season in May.
Newberry opens its second SAC series of 2017 on Friday night at Pioneer Park in Greeneville, Tennessee as the Wolves take on Tusculum. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m.