The Cavaliers — playing in their home opener as well as the program’s first-ever South Atlantic Conference home games — dropped 16-7 and 13-3 decisions to nationally ranked Newberry at Stallard Field.
Duncan pitched his way into the UVA Wise record book by striking out eight in 5 2/3 innings. The strikeouts gave him 200 for his career, making him only the school’s third pitcher to reach the mark.
He also has pitched the most innings, 220, in school history
The Cavs (10-9,3-5) belted three home runs, one by Ethan Fletcher in each game and another by Dawson Cagle.
Fletcher and Cagle each had three-run homers in the third inning of the opener, highlighting the Cavs’ six-run inning. But that outburst was about all the offense they could muster in Game 1.
In the second game, Fletcher delivered a solo shot in the fifth — tying the game at 2 — but then the floodgates opened for No. 16 Newberry (17-4, 6-2) over the sixth and seventh innings.
The Wolves capitalized on two Cavs errors in the sixth to take a 4-2 lead and they broke loose with nine more in the seventh to put away the game.
UVA Wise committed five errors and saw the Wolves rack up 24 hits.
“When you play a team that is in the top 25 in the country you can’t give them free stuff and we did,” said Cavs coach Hank Banner. “They pounded us pretty good in the first game.”
Banner saw more to be pleased about in the second game, particularly Duncan’s performance. In addition to his strikeouts, Duncan gave up four runs while scattering nine hits and a walk.
“I think he showed how good he is,” Banner said. “When we took him out, I think they ended up putting nine on the board. It shows he’s pretty good and controls a lot of things.
Though the Wolves’ nine-run seventh was the clincher, UVA Wise might have mounted more of a challenge if the top half of the sixth had gone differently.
With the game tied at 2, the Wolves scored two unearned runs thanks to two errors to go back out front for good.
“We run a perfect back-pick and really had the go-ahead run out and make a bad throw. You can’t do that against anybody, but you certainly can’t do it against a team like they have,” Banner said.
BY THE NUMBERS
Jack Harris had a monster day at the plate for Newberry, finishing 5-for-6 in the opener and 3-for-5 with an RBI in the nightcap. Colin Aliman, Luke Orr, Beau Thompson, Kenny Bergmann, Nick Butler and Dalton Lansdowne also racked up multiple hits in Game 1.
Gabe Wurtz was the only UVA Wise player to get multiple hits. He went 2-for-2 in the second game.
Jonathan Elicier (3-0) pitched five innings, giving up no runs on two hits with four strikeouts and two walks to earn the win in the opener. Nate Thompson took the loss after, giving up six runs on seven hits with three strikeouts and no walks in three innings of work.
Quinton Diggers (5-0) tossed two innings of relief, giving up two runs on three hits with four strikeouts and no walks, for the Game 2 win. Duncan (3-1) got the loss.