Russell Triplett

Russell Triplett

POSITION Head Coach
ALMA MATER Clemson, '04

Russell Triplett completed his seventh season as head baseball coach at Newberry College in 2017, with the scarlet and gray competing as one of the top teams in the NCAA Division II Southeast Region - one of the toughest in the nation.


2017: Fourth straight 30-win season

Newberry earned the No. 3 seed in the Pilot/Flying J South Atlantic Conference Baseball Championship with a 16-8 conference mark and a 32-21 record overall, the fourth straight season Newberry has reached the 30-win plateau.


The third-place finish in the conference standings was Newberry's second-highest regular-season finish in school history, eclipsed only by a second-place effort with a 21-8 SAC campaign in 2014 during Newberry's 20 seasons of SAC play. The senior class departed the program with 129 wins in their four years, the winningest senior class in school history and the only cohort to compile four consecutive 30-win seasons.


The Wolves set a school records with 391 runs scored on the season, 343 RBI's, 249 walks, five shutouts, 133 walks allowed, 22 stolen bases allowed, and a .537 stolen base percentage by its opponents. Newberry was also second in on-base percentage (.403), third with 545 hits and a .305 batting average, fifth with a 4.80 ERA, and seventh with 7.44 strikeouts per nine innings.


Newberry had four players named all-South Atlantic Conference: first team outfielder Daymon Totherow, first team designated hitter Ben Herring, first team starting pitcher Zack Kelly, and honorable mention starting pitcher Evan Estridge. Newberry also placed catcher Jeff Sneed and relief pitcher Robert Westenrieder on the SAC Championship all-tournament team.


Totherow earned a Gold Glove in right field from the league's coaches, being honored alongside Sneed, center fielder Danton Hyman, and second baseman Cody Ezzell. The Wolves' four Gold Glove awards among the nine positions chosen was by far the most in the South Atlantic Conference. Totherow and Herring earned honorable mention all-Southeast Region designation and combined with Kelly to give Newberry three all-Eastern College Athletic Conference selections.


Sneed and Herring were each named Second Team Academic All-Americans, the third time in school history that a pair of Newberry teammates has been named All-Americans in the same year. Sneed earned the recognition for the second straight year. The duo made Newberry one of six schools nationwide with multiple players honored and gave Newberry a school-record five student-athletes across all sports recognized.


The Wolves were 4-8 on Feb. 22, but reeled off eight wins in their next nine games to climb above .500. Included in the stretch was a 9-8 win in 17 innings at Augusta in the longest game in South Atlantic Conference history. A win over Erskine on March 15 started a 16-2 run that came to an end on April 11 and included three series sweeps in league play.


Also notable was a 29-0 rout of Goldey-Beacom on Feb. 26 that represented the second-most runs in school history, tied a school record with 26 hits, and set new marks for most at-bats (53) and most RBI's (27) in a game.


Year-by-Year

In 2016, Newberry College Baseball continued to build on a program that has accomplished many firsts during Triplett’s tenure. The Wolves’ 33 wins in 2016 gave Newberry three consecutive 30-win seasons for the first time in school history and the fourth straight winning season. The baseball program has averaged more wins in the last three years than any one team has won in a single season in recorded Newberry history, dating back through 1981. Newberry had an impressive eight wins over NCAA tournament teams and beat two different teams that made it to the Division II College World Series. This team climbed into the national polls and were ranked in the top 20 for the first time in program history. Newberry was ranked in every region poll throughout the year and ended the year regionally ranked for the second consecutive year.


Jeff Sneed was named the South Atlantic Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year, making him the second Newberry baseball player in school history to win this prestigious award. Five players earned All-South Atlantic Conference awards, Jojo Bradley and Jeff Sneed earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors, Zach Kelly earned ABCA Second Team All-Region and Daniel Nations became the first player in school history to win a National Gold Glove Award. 


2015 proved to be a record breaking year, as Triplett was named SAC Coach of the Year, becoming the first winner in Newberry College baseball history. The Wolves’ 34 wins in 2015 is the most in recorded Newberry history, giving the scarlet and gray back-to-back 30-win seasons for the first time in recorded school history. The Wolves also eclipsed the 20-win mark (21) in conference action and finished in second place in the final SAC standings for the first time since joining the conference in 1997.  Newberry ended the season ranked in the final region standings for the first time as a Division II program and was recognized as the Male Team of the Year at the Wolfies.


Three players earned All-Region honors, three players earned Academic All-District honors and Albert Baur became the program's first player to be honored as a first team All-American. The team continued its success in the classroom by having the highest team grade point average in the conference for the third straight year. Albert Baur became the third player drafted from Newberry in Triplett’s five years. 


In 2014, the Wolves completed one of the best seasons in program history. Newberry went on to win 30 games, the most in more than a decade, and qualified for the SAC Tournament for the fourth straight year. A program-record seven Wolves earned All-SAC honors, breaking the record set in 2013, with Ryan Cranmer becoming the first Newberry baseball player to ever receive first team honors more than once in a career. Cranmer and Wesley Camp went on to earn all-region honors. Cranmer was drafted in the 24th Round of the 2014 draft by the Miami Marlins. 


The Wolves were noted as one of the teams to watch in the Southeast Region, following a strong performance in 2013. The Wolves had a program-record four all-South Atlantic Conference players and qualified for the SAC Tournament for the third straight year. Newberry had its first winning season since 1999 and had four wins over regional power Catawba. Three players earned all-region honors and three players earned all-star honors in their summer leagues.


In 2012, the baseball program played the toughest schedule in the region and arguably the most difficult in the country. This schedule consisted of 18 games against teams ranked in the top 25, four games against the No. 1 ranked team in the country and 19 games against teams which played in the NCAA tournament. Newberry was the only team in the nation to play every team in their region who qualified for the NCAA Tournament. They had wins over No. 21 Georgia College, No. 10 USC Aiken and No. 1 Mount Olive to highlight the 2012 season. Pitcher Josh McElwee earned first Team All-South Atlantic Conference, Honorable Mention All-Region by NCBWA and was selected in the 20th Round of the 2012 draft by the Texas Rangers.


Outfielder Kevin Rufus was named to the conference Gold Glove Team and ABCA Southeast Region Gold Glove Team. Mario Rojas and Andy Vogel were selected to the Capital One/CoSIDA Academic All-District Team. 


Triplett led the Wolves back to the South Atlantic Conference Tournament in 2011 in his first season with a 14-13 South Atlantic Conference record, good for sixth in the league. The Wolves won their first two games of the SAC Tournament and were eliminated only after losses to the league's two representatives in the NCAA Tournament. Wins over Catawba and Tusculum in the tournament capped off a season in which the Wolves defeated all nine teams in the conference. Shortstop Chris Love and relief pitcher Tyler Sturkie were both named all-South Atlantic Conference selections.


Prior to Newberry 

Triplett served four seasons as an assistant coach at USC Upstate after a year as a volunteer assistant at Clemson.


In his first three seasons with the Spartans, Triplett recruited three players that have gone on to receive postseason freshman awards, with two earning Atlantic Sun Conference All-Freshman Team nods and another earning Ping! Freshman Team honors. In 2009, the Spartans infused three freshmen into the everyday lineup and two more entered the weekend rotation, with Austin Moyer earning A-Sun All-Freshman honors.


In his second year, the Spartans infused three freshmen into the everyday lineup, the Spartans won 25 games in their first season of Division I play and finished in fifth place with a 17-16 record in the 12-team Atlantic Sun Conference. Along the way, two of Triplett’s first signees, Blake Green and Keith Bisgounis, earned some attention with Green taking a slot on the Atlantic Sun All-Freshman Team and Bisgounis earning Honorable Mention Ping! Freshman Team honors.


In his first year with Upstate, Triplett immediately helped the Spartans to a 34-win season, helping the team hit .289 during the season. The Spartans reached a DII national ranking as high as 18th and posted a school-record 15 Peach Belt Conference wins.


Triplett went to Upstate after a year as a coach at Clemson University where he was a Volunteer Assistant on the Tiger coaching staff. He was responsible for working with the hitters and infielders, as well as serving as the first base coach. He was part of the coaching staff that led the Tigers to an appearance in the 2006 College World Series in Omaha, Neb. Clemson claimed the Regional and Super Regional Championships, and won the regular season and ACC Tournament titles. He also coordinated the hiring of the winter and summer baseball camp staff and assisted with the organization of the camps.


In addition to his experience working at Clemson, Triplett has served as a professional baseball instructor at the Blue Chip Baseball Academy.


Playing Days at Clemson, in Mets minor league system

Triplett was a standout player and four-time letterman at Clemson from 2000-04, earning his bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. He served as a Team Captain his junior and senior seasons. He redshirted his first year at Clemson in 2000 and played in 37 games as a freshman in 2001. He had a breakout season as a sophomore in 2002, earning Second Team All-ACC honors as a utility player. He hit .301 in 58 games and helped lead the Tigers to an appearance in the College World Series and a third-place finish in the nation.


Triplett took over the reins at shortstop as a junior in 2003, earning his second consecutive Second Team All-ACC selection. He hit .335 with seven home runs, 32 RBIs and a .414 on-base percentage. He hit .304 with 17 doubles, four home runs and 41 RBIs as a senior in 2004 and was the only Tiger to play in and start all 65 games.


For his career, Triplett played in 222 games and hit .312 en route to leading the Tigers to four NCAA Regional appearances, two NCAA Super Regional appearances and an appearance in the 2002 College World Series.


Triplett played in the New York Mets organization in 2004 and 2005. After playing for the Kingsport Mets (Rookie League) and Brooklyn Cyclones (Short Season A) in 2004, he was promoted to Single-A Hagerstown to start the 2005 season. He moved up to Double-A Binghamton during the summer, hitting a combined .286 with 15 doubles, four home runs and 25 RBIs with Hagerstown and Binghamton.


High School

The West Columbia native was a four-year standout and letterman at Brookland-Cayce High School. He was named the High School Sports Report 3A State Player of the Year and the region Player of the Year as a junior in 1998 in leading his squad to the 3A state championship. He was also a standout quarterback on the football team.


Personal

Russell is married to Ciria, who is the head softball coach at Newberry College. The two reside in Newberry with their sons, Cal, Cruz and Cane.

TRIPLETT YEAR-BY-YEAR

Season

School

W-L

Pct

2011

Newberry

24-28

.462

2012

Newberry

20-31

.392

2013

Newberry

29-22

.569

2014

Newberry

30-23

.566

2015

Newberry

34-18

.654

2016

Newberry

33-19-1

.632

2017

Newberry

32-21

.604

Overall

7 Seasons

202-162-1

.555