BELMONT, N.C. — An incredible Newberry pitching performance was spoiled by an improbable comeback in Game One of today’s doubleheader at Belmont Abbey, but the Wolves’ arms rebounded deftly in Game 2 to earn a split with the Crusaders.
Freshman left-hander Ryan Harbin earned a win in his first collegiate start, allowing just three hits in his five innings of work in Game 2. Fellow lefty Hunter Hill made quick work of Belmont Abbey (2-1) in the final four frames, retiring the Crusaders in order three times and tallying four punchouts to close out the 6-0 win for the Wolves (1-2) and earn his first save since April 15, 2016 in the process.
Harbin was aided by three momentum-sapping double plays turned by the Wolves’ defense during his stint on the mound. He struck out four batters and threw 81 pitches in the winning effort. He and Hill combined to allow just four hits to one of the Southeast Region’s most potent lineups, silencing the Crusaders’ bats that combined for 13 runs on 15 hits in Friday night’s season opener for both teams.
In the afternoon’s first game, Evan Estridge flirted with perfection before Belmont Abbey’s late comeback. Estridge took a perfect game bid into the sixth inning of the seven-inning affair, retiring the first 16 batters he faced before first baseman Jakob Rolly smacked a double into the gap in left center.
The preseason first team all-South Atlantic Conference selection struck out nine hitters, all on swinging third strikes, without issuing a walk. He recorded two strikeouts in an inning on four separate occasions.
Unfortunately for Estridge and the Wolves, Belmont Abbey found a way to break through against Newberry’s bullpen in the bottom of the seventh, sending 10 men to the plate and scoring six runs on five hits for the improbable win. The final blow came on second baseman Matt McGarry’s two-run single through the right side that completed the 6-5 come-from-behind victory.
Newberry’s Derek Olenchuk had four RBI’s on the day, plating three runs on a pair of hits in the first game and recording an RBI single in the second that gave him at least one hit in all three games in the series. Chase Barbary went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI’s in Game Two, both of which came on a towering sixth-inning blast to right field that represented Newberry’s first home run of the 2018 season.
Newberry pitching proved especially vexing for Belmont Abbey catcher Thomas Yoder, who was 0-for-7 with seven strikeouts at the hands of four different Newberry hurlers. The Wolves combined to strike out 18 hitters on the day while allowing just 10 hits and seven walks.
During the first day of the season opener Belmont Abbey plated a pair of runs in the second inning and never looked back in a 13-1 win over Newberry.