NEWBERRY – Newberry’s lead, which it had held since the second inning, was in extreme peril as Augusta cleanup hitter Jim Wagner laced a sharp single through the right side and two Jaguars charged for home Tuesday night at the Smith Road Complex.
Charlie Fessler then struck out the side in the ninth to give the Wolves a 4-3 win over Augusta in dramatic fashion, sweeping the season series with the Jaguars by a total of two runs.
Tuesday’s contest was the polar opposite of the marathon that occurred on March 1. In that game, Newberry (20-14) prevailed 10-9 in 17 innings, the longest game in South Atlantic Conference history, and needed five hours and 38 minutes to complete the win.
And although the Wolves took three hours less to win Tuesday, the return game was not short on drama.
Totherow’s play came as Newberry clung to a 4-2 lead in the eighth inning. Starter Christian Zellner pitched into the eighth but was lifted after his 88th pitch of the evening in favor of Dylan Southerland with two outs and a runner on first. Augusta (13-15) left fielder Clint Hardy doubled on the first pitch he saw from Southerland, however, giving the Jaguars a pair in scoring position with two outs.
Southerland and Wagner battled to a 2-2 count before his sharp single through the right side brought home a run. Totherow’s bullet to the plate, however, allowed Sneed to apply the tag an eyelash before Hardy slid to the outside corner with his left arm outstretched and preserve the lead for Newberry.
Fessler made quick work of the Jaguars in the ninth. He struck out the side, including the first two looking, to move into third place in the SAC with four saves. His effort preserved a win for Zellner, who scattered seven hits over an efficient 7.2 innings and gave up three hits.
Starter Chase Slone suffered the loss for Augusta by giving up three runs in 4.0 innings of work. Amazingly, Slone’s fourth-inning walk to Sneed was the only free pass issued by either pitching staff on the evening.
Tommy Passerello, the Wolves’ starting designated hitter for just the third time this season, paced Newberry with a 2-for-4 day at the plate. He drove in three of Newberry’s four runs on the day, plating Trejon Smith with a second-inning single and smacking a bases-loaded double two innings later to score a pair.
Smith joined Passerello with two hits and scored half of Newberry’s runs, while Danton Hyman went 3-for-4 with a run scored.
Newberry returns to action tomorrow as the Wolves square off with Benedict. Newberry defeated the Tigers 15-2 in Columbia in the teams’ first meeting eight days ago. First pitch from the Smith Road Complex is set for 6:00 p.m.