Lumber, Apicella dazzle in 12-1 SAC-opening win at Brevard

VIDEO: Tom Griffin Interview

VIDEO: Gooch Greer Interview

BREVARD, N.C. – Carson-Newman pounded out a season-high 16 hits and Vince Apicella struck out 10 as the Eagles opened South Atlantic Conference play with a 12-1 win over Brevard at Gil Coan Field on Friday afternoon.

2016 marks the fifth straight season that Carson-Newman (11-5, 1-0) opens league action with a victory while Brevard (6-12, 1-3) falls for the 12th time in the last 14 contests.

"Hitting can be contagious," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "Today the tone was set and it was contagious. I think our guys did a good job of hitting balls that were out over the plate. We did a good job with two strikes and two outs. It was a vintage Vinny Apicella day. It starts with the catcher making sure you him on track and for him to have the kind of day he had that was a very good day for him."

The Eagles scored first for the 11th time this season in their first at-bat. Junior shortstop Jimmy Rice (Middlesex, N.J.) laced a double to the wall in right field with one out. Senior third baseman Brandon Roberts (Davie, Fla.) extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a single up the middle to score Rice and make it 1-0.

In the top of the second inning, C-N had runners at the corners for senior catcher Gooch Greer (Dickson, Tenn.). The backstop laid down a perfect squeeze bunt up the first base line to score junior right fielder Hunter Wood (College Grove, Tenn.) and move the lead to 2-0.

Brevard got its first run of the day as Brennan Allen lined a 2-1 pitch off of the right-field fence with two outs to score Christian Dix from first base and make it a 2-1 contest.

A sacrifice fly by junior second baseman Eric Lynch (Boonton, N.J.) scored one run in the top of the third inning while another man crossed the plate on a throwing error by Brevard pitcher Hunter Donaldson to push the lead to 4-1.

Back-to-back doubles from Greer and junior center fielder Ryan Addington (Cincinnati, Ohio) added a run to begin a three-run fourth inning. Rice stepped in and on a 1-0 offering, the junior clubbed his third home run of the season well over the left-field wall to extend the lead to six runs.

C-N batted around in the top of the fifth inning and scored three more runs to make it a 10-1 contest. Freshman left fielder Ian Pung (Knoxville, Tenn.) lined an RBI single to left field and Rice laced a single into center field to score two runs.

Greer cranked a home run to straightaway over 400 feet away from the plate with two outs and a man on in the top of the sixth inning as the lead ballooned to 12-1. It was the first long ball for the catcher since March 7, 2014 against Mars Hill, a string of 47 at-bats.

Six Eagles tallied a multi-hit day as Rice went 3-for-4 finishing a triple shy of the cycle with four RBIs and three runs scored. Greer went 3-for-3 went three RBIs and three runs scored.

"We just talked about in the dugout about tendencies," Greer said. "The tendency was fastball early and I told myself see a fastball early. I just let it loose. I felt good all day. I felt locked in so I got the pitch I wanted an I drove it."

Apicella (4-1) worked a complete game for the third time this season while winning his fourth consecutive start. The southpaw struck out 11, the 10th time in his career with double-digit strikeouts, while yielding one earned run, one walk and five hits. With his ninth strikeout of the game in the seventh inning, the Dillsburg, Pa. native recorded career strikeout No. 200.

Donaldson (1-3) gave up 14 hits in 4.1 innings of work while giving up 10 runs, nine earned, one walk with three punch outs. Dix went 2-for-4 to lead the Brevard offense.

Carson-Newman and Brevard put a wrap on the series Saturday afternoon with a doubleheader beginning at noon. The Eagle Sports Network will be on the air beginning at 11:50 a.m. with the pregame show.

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