Almond's Walk Off Homer Gives Baseball Split With Newberry


SALISBURY, N.C. -- Zach Almond (Richfield, N.C./N. Stanly/UNCG) hit a walk-off three-run homer to allow host Catawba to split its season-opening South Atlantic Conference baseball doubleheader with Newberry.  In a battle of top 20 teams, 20th-ranked Newberry claimed an 11-5 win in the opener before the Catawba Indians, ranked 18th, earned the split with a 4-1 win in eight innings on Almond's round tripper.  Newberry now stands at 12-4-1 on the year and 1-1 in the SAC, while Catawba is 6-5 and 1-1.

Dylan Richardson (Randleman, N.C./Randleman/Appalachian St.) got the bottom of the eighth started for Catawba as he reached leading off on a wild pitch after striking out.  He stole second before a ground out and went to third on a misplayed grounder off the bat of Chance Bowden (Salisbury, N.C./Salisbury).  Almond would connect on the next pitch and his fly to right was just inside the foul pole to give the Indians the dramatic win.

Russ Weiker (Albemarle, N.C./S. Stanly/Liberty) went the distance for Catawba and improved to 3-1.  He allowed just a first inning run, scattering six hits with two walks and eight strikeouts.  Weiker did not allow a hit after the fourth inning, walking a batter in the fifth and hitting a batter in the eighth.

Newberry pushed that run across in the first frame on a two-out hit by Derek Olenchuk.  Will Albertson (Sophia, N.C./Randleman/Campbell) nearly kept the game scoreless, but his throw in time to the plate got away from Almond.  Luke Setzer (Salisbury, N.C./E. Rowan) pulled the Indians even in the third as he singled home Grayland Fowler (Moore, S.C./Duncan).

Fowler had two of Catawba's six hits in game two after homering in game one.  Michael Gonzalez had a pair of hits for Newberry.  Robert Westenrieder (2-1) took the loss, entering in the seventh to get the Wolves out of a bases-loaded jam by striking out Albertson.  Zach Kelly had started and went six and two-thirds innings, allowing a run on five hits with seven strikeouts.

Olenchuk powered Newberry to the win in the opener as he connected on three home runs and collected eight RBI.  His three-run homer in the first gave the Wolves a 3-0 lead it never relinquished.  In the fifth he followed a RBI triple by Trejon Smith with a two-run shot that made it 7-1.

Catawba had some life in the sixth after Fowler hit a two-run homer to draw the Indians within 7-3, but Olenchuk hit another three-run homer in the seventh as the Wolves went up 11-3.  Albertson singled home a pair of runs in the eighth for Catawba for the final margin.

Smith joined Olenchuk with three hits for Newberry.  JoJo Bradley and Jacob Bass each had two hits.  Setzer and Albertson both had three hits for Catawba.  Bowden and Richardson collected two hits.  Shaefer Shepard (Boca Raton, Fla./Boca Raton/Francis Marion) took the loss and fell to 2-2.  He fanned eight over six innings.

Daniel Nations (3-0) struggled early, but worked into the sixth to get the win.  He allowed three runs (two earned) off seven hits.  He walked four and struck out two.  Catawba left 12 runners on base in the contest, failing to score twice with the bases loaded, including the first after none were out.

The teams will finish up the series with a 1 pm first pitch on Sunday.

Game 1 Box

Game 2 Box

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