NEWBERRY — Newberry erased an early 3-0 deficit and pulled away late for a 9-4 win over USC Aiken at the Smith Road Complex Wednesday evening.
The win was Newberry’s (20-15) ninth in the last 11 games dating back to a doubleheader sweep of Lincoln Memorial on March 17. The Wolves have climbed from eighth in the South Atlantic Conference standings into a tie for third in that span and begin a critical weekend series at co-leader Wingate on Friday night.
All nine starters recorded at least one hit for Newberry as the Wolves forced USC Aiken (21-13), the ninth-ranked team in the Southeast Region, to burn through seven pitchers. Danton Hyman was one of four Wolves to finish the day with two hits, raising his batting average to a SAC-best .412 and swiping his league-leading 19th base of the season.
The Pacers tagged starter Hunter Hill for three runs in the first inning before the Wolves got a run back on a Derek Olenchuk RBI single. Newberry exploded for runs on three consecutive plays in the third: a Chase Barbary squeeze bunt, a Tommy Passerello double, and a single up the middle by Hyman, to put the Wolves in the lead.
Barbary led off the fourth inning with a triple, helping the Wolves to score twice in the inning. Newberry also added three more in the eighth on a two-run Colin Allman double and a sacrifice fly by Ben Herring; USC Aiken had trimmed the gap to two runs in the top of the inning.
While the Newberry offense put the game out of reach, Hill held the Pacers at bay. He improved to 2-2 on the year with six innings of work. Hill settled in over his final five frames, giving up no runs on three hits and recording four strikeouts after USC Aiken’s three-run first.
Austin Walker needed three pitches to record the final out of the game, entering with the bases loaded and the tying run in the on-deck circle with two outs in the ninth. He earned his first save since Feb. 19, 2014 against Augusta, then known as GRU Augusta, by inducing a fielder’s choice to a rangy Allman at shortstop.
Robert Westenrieder worked a perfect seventh in relief of Hill. Charlie Fessler gave up an unearned run and recorded two strikeouts in the eighth.
Newberry struck out just twice at the plate while drawing four walks and pounding out 13 hits. USC Aiken managed seven hits, led by two apiece from third baseman Daulton Weeks and first baseman Brian Parreira.