Historic season comes to close with final day split in Southeast Regional
NEWBERRY, S.C. – The historic 2023 season for the No. 8 Newberry College baseball team came to a close on Saturday, May 20 as they were knocked out of the NCAA Southeast Regional Tournament by the Crusaders of Belmont Abbey by a score of 10-9 after they qualified for the championship series with a 10-9 win over the Braves of UNC Pembroke earlier in the day.
The Wolves set a new school record for wins in a season which now stands at 43 while coach Russell Triplett became the program’s win leader earlier in the year, which now sits at 392 wins in his career leading the Wolves. Newberry also picked up their first regular season title since 2019 and their first SAC tournament title since 1999, the first time they have won both titles in the same season. In addition to that, they nearly swept the conference major awards on the season with Triplett named Coach of the Year, freshman Bennett Roemer (Bluffton, S.C.) named Freshman of the Year, and senior Braylin Marine (Freeport, N.Y.) named the Player of the Year for the second straight season, the first time in league history.
Marine and freshman John Allen Forrester (West Columbia, S.C.) led the Wolves in the opening contest of the day as they were each able to post a pair of RBIs on the stat sheet. Sophomores Donovan Ford (Greenville, S.C.) and Jonathan Velez (Mayaguez, P.R.) led the Wolves in the night cap with Ford tallying three RBIs while Velez chipped in a pair. Junior Gunnar Erickson (Chapin, S.C.) picked up the win in the day’s opening game.
Game One: Newberry 10, UNC Pembroke 9 (11 Innings)
The first elimination match-up of the afternoon saw the Wolves taking on the Braves of UNC Pembroke and the Wolves wasted no time getting runs on the scoreboard as they were able to post a pair in the top of the first inning. A hit batter and a walk put two runners aboard for the Wolves, setting up Marine to drive in one and the other to score on a wild pitch, giving Newberry the 2-0 lead.
They were able to extend their lead to three with another run in the top of the second off the bat of junior Rhett Jolly (Edgefield, S.C.) before the Braves were finally able to respond in the bottom of the frame with a single run. But the Wolves were able to respond right back in the top of the third and Velez and sophomore Kade Faircloth (Oviedo, Fla.) were each able to drive in a run in the frame giving Newberry the 5-1 advantage after three innings.
Newberry added runs in the fifth and seventh innings and added two more in the top of the eighth to extend their lead out to 9-1. However, that’s when the Braves were able to claw back into the contest as they were able to plate seven runs in the bottom of the eighth to pull to within one run and would close that margin to zero in the bottom of the ninth with a single run to force extra innings. The Wolves were able to post a run in the top of the eleventh inning off a Ford single to left field that plated what would be the game-winning run.
Game Two: Belmont Abbey 10, Newberry 9
Needing to win the final game of the day to force the “if necessary” game of the tournament, the Wolves quickly saw themselves trailing in the contest with Belmont Abbey putting up a pair of runs in the opening frame. The Wolves were able to respond back in the bottom of the first with a single run, but then the offensive scoring stalled until the bottom of the third when Newberry was able to swing the lead into their favor with a two-run play in the frame to take the lead 3-2.
That’s where the score stood until the bottom of the fifth when Newberry was able to put a four spot on the scoreboard through the assistance of a drawn walk and a bases-loaded, bases clearing triple by Ford that brought the Newberry advantage up to 7-2. However, the Crusaders continued to battle in the contest as they plated five runs in the top of the sixth to even up the score. They were able to retake the lead in the top of the eighth with a single run, but the Wolves were able to respond in the bottom half of the frame with a two-RBI double from Velez to give the Wolves the 9-8 advantage.
Belmont Abbey was able to work across two runs in the top of the ninth to retake the lead and while the Wolves were able to get a runner into scoring position in the bottom of the inning, they were unable to bring that run around the base paths, dropping the 10-9 decision.