By: Jake Miller
NEWBERRY, S.C.- Coker baseball dropped its South Atlantic Conference series opener with Newberry 10-7 on Friday (Apr. 7).
After a scoreless first inning, Coker struck first in the second with three runs on three hits. Lake Lybrand led off the frame with a single up the middle, before Scott Burnley reached on a catcher's interference call. Brooks Estrada attempted to lay down the sacrifice bunt with two on and no outs, but reached on the fielder's choice while Lybrand was thrown out at third on the play. With two on and one out, Tanner Crosby loaded the bases by drawing a walk. Clint Allen moved everyone up and scored Burnley on a single up the middle. After the second out was recorded, Thomas Lopez drove in Estrada and Crosby to put Coker up 3-0 in the inning.
After Newberry countered with one run in their half of the second, Coker would get the run back in the top of the third on an RBI single from Estrada that scored Darius Coldiron. Newberry then rallied to score two runs each in the third, fourth and fifth innings to take a 7-4 lead. The Coker bats were quiet until the seventh when another Estrada single scored Connor Cleary and Coldiron to get the visitors within 7-6. The Wolves scraped one across in the bottom half of the frame to re-gain their two-run lead going to the eighth.
A quick Coker eighth inning gave the Wolves a bit of momentum and they would ride that push to plate two more runs to go up 10-6 going to the ninth. The Cobras threatened in the ninth and scored one, but left runners on base to end the ballgame.
Lopez, Lybrand, Estrada and Allen each recorded two hits for the Cobras, while Crosby chipped in one. Allen drove in three runs, while Lopez brought home another two and Estrada drove in one. Brady Shuey (3-1) took his first loss of the season, going 3.1 innings in relief. The freshman allowed five earned runs on six hits while walking one. Matt Ticer got the start for the Cobras, allowing three earned runs on four hits in three innings. The southpaw walked five and struck out one. Jackson Back fired 1.1 innings of relief, giving up two earned runs on one hit. The lefty issued two free passes and punched out one. Jake Moore came on in relief of Back for 0.1 innings, allowing one hit and one walk.
Coker (19-15, 9-10 SAC) will look to take the series tomorrow (Sat. Apr. 8) with games two and three as a doubleheader. Game two is a nine-inning contest beginning at 1:00 p.m. with a seven-inning game to follow at 4:00 p.m.