NEWBERRY - Down to its final strike with designated hitter Ben Herring at the plate, Newberry battled back with a single and an error in successive at-bats for a thrilling 4-3 win over visiting Lander to earn its 13th win in the last 15 contests and avenge a 19-7 loss to the Bearcats on Feb. 7.
The Wolves (25-14), who have lost just twice since an extra-innings defeat at Tusculum on March 11, gave up an unearned run in the eighth inning, committing two errors on a failed pickoff attempt that allowed Lander (17-18) to take a 4-3 lead.
Newberry threatened in the eighth, getting a two-out walk and a single before a fielder's choice ended the inning, in a sign of things to come in the ninth. Pinch hitter Tommy Passerello and second baseman Peyton Spangler were retired to begin the final frame before Robert Kosch lifted the second pitch he saw just inside the foul line in medium-depth left field, setting up Herring with a runner in scoring position on the opposite-field flair.
Herring was quickly down 0-2 before fighting off a pitch and taking a ball. Shaded slightly to pull, the right-handed-hitting Herring fought off a pitch through the right side and advanced to second when the throw attempting to nail Kosch coming home was a tick late.
Derek Olenchuk then stepped to the plate with the winning run 180 feet away. He hit an 0-1 chopper toward the right side with two Lander infielders converging on the ball. Second baseman Colton Yeager reached the ball sprinting to his left and threw to pitcher Robbie Hoyt covering the bag.
But Yeager's throw was low and skipped away from Hoyt, sending the announced crowd of 226 into a frenzy as Herring crossed the plate for the Wolves' second walk-off win of the season.
Hoyt was the hard-luck loser, falling to 3-3 on the season after allowing two runs, one of them earned, in 1.0 innings pitched. Hunter Hill improved his record to 5-2 on the season with 2.1 innings on the mound, giving up an unearned run on three hits and striking out four.
Newberry struck first in the bottom of the third inning, putting together two straight hits before Derek Olenchuk blasted a double to deep center to take a 2-0 lead. Lander fought back with a two-run blast to left-center by Nathan Schreckengost in the top of the sixth to set up the thrilling final innings.
Due to a computer file that became corrupted during the game on the computer used for official scoring, the box score is not available at this time. The article will be updated with final statistics after the issue is resolved.
Newberry will face off this weekend against conference foe Coker at Smith Road Complex as the Wolves seek their fifth South Atlantic Conference series win of 2017. First pitch on Friday, April 7 is slated for 6:00 p.m.