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Blake Bean
Blake Bean went one-for-four with a run scored.
photo courtesy of Lenoir-Rhyne Athletics

Lenoir-Rhyne Baseball Drops Both Games of Doubleheader to Newberry

The Lenoir-Rhyne Baseball Team was swept on the final day of the conference regular season by No. 16 ranked Newberry, bringing their SAC losing streak to five games to close out the year.

In the first game of the doubleheader, Newberry clinched the SAC regular season title in a 10-7 victory as their offense punished the Bears in the first half of the contest. Thanks to a four-run third and two-run fifth, the Wolves scored nine of their 10 runs in the first five innings.

In the second game of the doubleheader, the Wolves got off to another great start, but in a different fashion the second time around. A couple of home runs by Henry Gibson and Donovan Ford in the first and third innings, respectively, pushed Newberry to another early lead while the pitching dialed in again to toss six scoreless frames.

With today’s results, Newberry will be the No. 1 seed in next week’s SAC Baseball Tournament and host the opening round of the competition. Meanwhile, Lenoir-Rhyne will travel to Newberry and be the No. 4 or No. 5 seed depending on the outcome of Sunday’s doubleheader between Carson-Newman and Coker.

In game one, Tyler McPeak was responsible for driving in five of the seven LR runs. The graduate student tied the single-season record with his 17th home run in the third inning.

The Wolves were much more aggressive in the second game of the series compared to the first. Newberry had seven stolen base attempts, converting on four of them and getting caught three times.

Lenoir-Rhyne utilized some small-ball offense into their game plan with three sacrifice hits. Cole Laskowski had one sacrifice bunt while Blake Bean and McPeak each had a sacrifice fly-out.

This matchup did not feature too many strikeouts as each side only punched out four opposing batters. Newberry’s Bryce Peterson had the game-most with three of his own.

McPeak, Bean, Laskowski, and Zach Evans each had two-hit performances for the Bears; this group made up eight of the 10 LR hits.

The Bears stranded 14 runners while the Wolves stranded 10 of their own. This game featured the most offense out of any game in the series, but also the least amount of command from the pitching departments. The Wolves walked 10 batters while the Bears gave away eight free passes.

In game two, Bean had a game-high three base hits to manufacture a five-hit doubleheader for the graduate student. With the Wolves two home runs, it is only the fifth time this season that Newberry recorded a multi-home run performance.

In a battle of undefeated pitchers, Tyler Chinpire (6-0) came out of victorious with a six-hit, six inning performance. Meanwhile, Jackson Reid (6-1) suffered his first loss of the season after allowing seven hits in a five-inning outing. Sal Carricato registered the Bears only RBI with a single in the first inning.

The aggressive base-running Wolves had a 4-for-5 performance on stolen bases. Jacob LeBron led the team with two of his own while Gibson and John Allen Forrester had one each. Walks were not as plentiful in the final game of the series as Lenoir-Rhyne only allowed four free passes while Newberry only gave up one base on balls.

The 3 through 6 stretch of the LR lineup recorded at least a base hit with Carricato, McPeak, Wade Cuda, and Bryce Stober all getting aboard with singles.

The Bears finish with a conference record of 15-9. Lenoir-Rhyne ends its regular season home slate with a 21-9 record.

In the all-time series history, Newberry now leads 49-38 over Lenoir-Rhyne. It is the first time that Lenoir-Rhyne has lost five consecutive games in conference play since losing six-straight to Wingate and Tusculum in April 2019.

Fourteen seniors were celebrated today for senior day. No. 1 David Bell, No. 2 Michael Allen, No. 4 Mason Maxwell, No. 8 Wade Cuda, No. 9 Max LeCroy, No. 10 Chipper Mcginnis, No. 14 Ethan Smith, No. 19 Scott Meitzler, No. 36 Jackson Benjamin, No. 40 Braden Houston, No. 41 Roland Thivierage, No. 44 Caleb Fluno, No. 45 Joey Cobb, and No. 48 Andrew Patrick.

The Bears are 35-14 overall, 15-9 in the South Atlantic Conference. Lenoir-Rhyne will conclude their 2023 regular season schedule with a non-conference matchup against Belmont Abbey on Monday, April 24 at Belmont, N.C. First pitch for the contest is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. The Bears look to split the season series with the Crusaders after losing the season opener, 7-2, in Hickory, N.C. on Feb. 1.