GREENEVILLE, Tenn. – Carson-Newman swept a twin-bill with Tusculum winning game one 4-2 in 12 innings and capturing the second game 5-3 Saturday at Pioneer Park to seal a spot in the South Atlantic Conference Baseball Championships.
The Eagles (28-19, 13-10) picked up at least a series win on the road against the Pioneers (32-14, 14-9) for the first time since the 2010 season.
"We are very proud," Carson-Newman baseball coach Tom Griffin said. "This is a tough place to play. We know each other very well. We respect each other. It's a good two wins. It's a very good club, well-coached club on the road to get into the tournament. Now we want to see where we can improve tomorrow."
Game One – Carson-Newman 4, Tusculum 2 (12 Innings)
The win for the Eagles snaps a three-game losing streak against the Pioneers in extra innings dating back to April 22, 2007 when C-N won 6-3 in 12 innings to win the SAC Tournament title.
Jeremy Glore reached on an infield single and moved to second base on a throwing error. An infield single by Dante Key to the right side of the infield put runners at the corners. Creighton Wilke roped a double to the right-field wall to score Glore and make it a 1-0 contest. The Pioneers loaded the bases with no one out prior to a strikeout and a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat.
Sophomore Austin Kearney (Powell, Tenn.) laced a single to left field on the first pitch of the second stanza. Freshman Ian Pung (Knoxville, Tenn.) followed with a bunt single towards second base. Following a sacrifice bunt by junior Paul Kirby (Goodlettsville, Tenn.), junior Eric Lynch (Boonton, N.J.) lined a 0-2 pitch into right field to score Kearney and tie the score at one.
Tusculum starter Placido Torres retired the first two of the fourth before Pung doubled down the right-field line. Kirby fouled off four pitches and on the 10th pitch of the at-bat hit a fly ball to right field that Kevin Victoriano dove, got his glove to but could not squeeze the ball. Pung scored and Kirby went to third base on the RBI triple to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead.
With two outs, Jeovanny Tolentino doubled down the left-field line. On a 3-1 pitch, Glore flared a ball just over the glove of a leaping Jimmy Rice (Middlesex, N.J.) and into left field to tie the score at two as Tolentino scored from second.
Junior center fielder Ryan Addington (Cincinnati, Ohio) singled to right field to start the top of the 12th inning. Tusculum reliever Devan Watts hit the next two batters to load the bases with no one out. Sophomore Cade Snapp (Seymour, Tenn.) drove in Addington with a sacrifice fly to left field. Kearney hit a bouncer to second base, Zach Finhum flipped to second base for one out and the transfer throw to first base bounced to the wall down the first base line to score an insurance run and make it a 4-2 contest in favor of the Eagles.
Junior right-hander Ryan Eberle (Cookeville, Tenn.) went 8.1 innings allowing two earned runs on six hits, six walks and four strikeouts.
Senior Dustin Batson (Pisgah Forest, N.C.) worked 3.2 scoreless innings of relief with two strikeouts and a walk to pick up the win. The righty (4-4) stranded five base runners and induced a game-ending 5-4-3 double play.
Torres allowed a season-high two earned runs and eight hits going nine innings striking out eight and walking four in the no-decision.
Addington and Lynch each went 3-for-5 at the plate while Pung tallied a pair of hits as C-N outhit Tusculum 10-9. The Pioneers left 11 men on base in the game.
Game Two – Carson-Newman 5, Tusculum 3
Senior Vince Apicella (Dillsburg, Pa.) became the first pitcher in the Division II era for C-N (since 1994) to throw seven complete games in a single season passing a trio of players with six including himself from 2015. The left-hander allowed three earned runs on seven hits and one walk with seven strikeouts to improve to 9-2 on the season.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Victoriano drove a 2-1 offering over the fence in left-center field just to left of the scoreboard with one out to put the Pioneers on the board making it a 1-0 contest.
Carson-Newman had one hit entering the top of the fifth inning when the Eagles exploded for five runs to take a 5-1 advantage. An infield single by senior Gooch Greer (Dickson, Tenn.) and a fielder's choice that didn't record an out to put two aboard. Pung laced a double to the wall in right-center field to score a run. Senior Brandon Roberts (Davie, Fla.) hit a sacrifice fly to make it 3-1. With one on and two outs, Snapp launched a 0-1 pitch off of the scoreboard in left field for his 14th home run of the year to cap the scoring in the frame.
Wilke singled to center field with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. The next batter, Victoriano, smashed a two-run home over the left-field wall for a two-run blast to pull the Pioneers within two runs at 5-3.
Lynch went 2-for-3 on the day as the lone Eagle with a multi-hit day as Tusculum outhit C-N 6-5.
The two sides wrap up the series Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. as broadcast coverage begins at 12:50 p.m. with the Carson-Newman baseball pregame show on cneagles.com/live with the Eagle Sports Network providing coverage.
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