NEWBERRY — The Newberry Wolves started the 2014 season with a great doubleheader sweep from a team which won 30 games last season, earning a walkoff 3-2 win in the season opener before pulling away for an 8-2 win in the nightcap over the King University Tornado.
The games were the season’s first for both teams with Newberry moving to 2-0 on the year and King falling to 0-2. The two teams will cap the series at 1 p.m. Sunday, with the Wolves earning the first chance this season to debut their “Sweep Hats”, which will be revealed to the public on the Newberry Athletics Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds during warmups.
Game One: Newberry 3, King 2
The Wolves’ bats took some time to warm up for the season opener, but they would not need them in the bottom of the ninth inning to walk off with a 3-2 win.
With the game tied at twos in the bottom of the ninth, Wesley Camp led off with a walk and stole second to put the winning run in scoring position. Jermale Paige was hit by a pitch before Ryan Cranmer and Albert Baur earned consecutive walks, with Baur’s bringing home the winning run without the Wolves putting a ball in play in the inning.
Cranmer also tied the game in the bottom of the seventh with a one-out RBI single to drive in freshman shortstop Robert Kosch. Kosch earned his first collegiate RBI in the fourth inning with a run-scoring single to center to score a two-out run.
King scored runs in the fourth and fifth innings to take one-run leads, but had only two baserunners in the final four innings. Daniel Nations allowed only two hits in relief in the final three innings and sat the final four Tornado batters down in order to close out the game and move to 1-0 on the season.
Cole Cromer earned the team captaincy on Friday night and was handed the ball to start the season. He allowed two earned runs in 6.0 innings of work with seven hits, four strikeouts and only one walk on 78 pitches in the no decision.
At the plate, Cranmer and JoJo Bradley each had a pair of hits, with Cranmer’s third inning double going as the Wolves’ only extra base hit of the contest. Landon Weitekamp (0-1) was tagged with the loss after struggling to find the strike zone, throwing 41 pitches in 1.1 innings of relief and seeing nine batters.
Game Two: Newberry 8, King 2
The Wolves faced a 2-1 deficit in the middle of the fourth inning of the seven inning contest of the day, then rattled off seven unanswered runs to earn the chance to start the season with a sweep.
Preseason all-South Atlantic Conference pitcher Jonathan Rosenberger gave the Wolves’ offense a chance to wake up and take the game by allowing two runs on four hits in 6.0 innings with eight strikeouts and only one walk to move to 1-0 on the year. One of those hits was a solo homerun by Garrett Cook in the first inning to give the Tornado a 1-0 lead.
Newberry tied the game in the second inning when Brandan Sheridan brought home Bradley with a single to left-center. King retook the lead in the fourth on a two-out RBI single by Carl Roberts, which would be the guests’ final base hit of the game.
Another string of walks by the Wolves in the bottom of the fourth set up the rally which allowed the scarlet and gray take the lead for good with a bases-loaded walk by Paige and a two-run single by Cranmer.
The Wolves pulled away in the sixth inning thanks to a two-run triple to right by Baur and back-to-back RBI singles from Bradley and captain Chas Goodwin. Matt Chapman allowed one baserunner in the seventh but escaped without incident in a non-save situation.
Opening day by the numbers
• 0 - Errors committed by Newberry in 16 innings played Saturday
• 6 - Consecutive seasons Newberry has won the first game of the season
• 6 - Preseason all-South Atlantic Conference picks who played Saturday for Newberry
• 10 - Consecutive games at the Smith Road Complex to start this season
• 13 - Strikeouts by Newberry pitchers
• 13 - Walks by Newberry batters
• 75 - Career coaching victories for head coach Russell Triplett