Two six-run stanzas prove costly in twin-bill setbacks

VIDEO: Tom Griffin Interview

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman yielded a pair of six-run innings in each game of Saturday's South Atlantic Conference doubleheader losing 12-8 in both affairs despite late surges to Tusculum at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex.

"That's all you can ask for is that your guys keep battling," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "They gave themselves a chance to get in the game. They were really good today coming back from yesterday where they did not get the hits with men on base. Today, they did and took care of the baseball. We did not. We walked guys, we hit guys, we had wild pitches, we had passed balls. We made a lot of baseball mistakes out here. Part of that is mental fatigue.

"We made base running mistakes, very costly and not very smart. We weren't fielding balls clean. We were missing signs. We are doing things on base paths that we aren't taught to do. I think that's fatigue and as a coaching staff we have to figure out how to change so that it doesn't happen in the game."

Tyler Thompson (Gallatin, Tenn.) homered in each game of the day going 5-for-8 at the dish on the day and 7-for-12 for the series driving in four runs to lead the way.

Tusculum (20-11, 9-3) has won 11 of the 15 games played the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex as it snapped a five-game losing streak to Carson-Newman (20-12, 3-8).

Game One: TUSCULUM 12, Carson-Newman 8

A lead-off walk and a one-out walk put men at first and second base for Jarel McDade in the second. The right-handed hitter floated a base hit into shallow center field to bring in Trey Hinton and take a 1-0 lead.

The Eagles promptly answered with Thompson stroking the first pitch of the bottom half of inning two over the fence in left field for his fifth homer of the year to tie the tally at one.

In the top of the third, Nate Montgomery singled to left field and Bradley Evans was hit by a pitch with one out. Trey Hinton ripped a ball to the wall in center field scoring Montgomery. Chase Wullenweber flew out to right field to bring in Evans and push the margin to 3-1.

Zach Sanders retired the first two batters of the fifth before Ethan Goforth (Blacksburg, Va.) lined a base hit into center field. Three pitches later on a 2-0 offering, John Sharpe (Franklin, Tenn.) launched a ball out of the park to left field for his fifth blast of the season to knot the score at three.

Tusculum busted out for six runs in the top of the sixth sending 12 men to the plate seeing the Eagles commit three errors in the frame. Matt Bradley (Talbott, Tenn.) had retired eight-straight batters before allowing a double and a walk to open the inning.

Jarel McDade dropped down a bunt and on a throw to third base it pulled Michael Wroth (Chicopee, Mass.) off of the bag. An error by Wroth at third brought in the first run of the frame. After a wild pitch, a single by Bryson Ford and an error in right combined with base hits from Nate Montgomery and Hinton stretched the bulge to 9-3.

With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Zach Sanders issued back-to-back walks. Jordan Griffin (Ellerslie, Ga.) ambushed the first pitch cranking it over the wall in left field to cut the deficit to 9-6.

The Eagles pulled within a run in the bottom of the eighth getting a pinch-hit RBI single to left field by Mark Treadway (Friendsville, Tenn.) and an RBI double down the left-field line by Micah Genter (Jasper, Tenn.) with two outs. With the go-ahead run at second base Andrew Willis struck out Goforth swinging to end the inning.

McDade blasted a three-run dinger to center field with one out in the top of the ninth inning to push the margin to four runs at 12-8.

Carson-Newman won the battle in the hit column 12-11 but seven of the 11 pokes for the visitors came with runners in scoring position.

Four Eagles had multi-hit games as Griffin went 2-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Thompson went 3-for-5 with two runs scored with Goforth and Sharpe adding two-hit efforts.

Bradley was hit with the loss for the third time this season allowing six runs, four earned on four hits and four walks punching out seven batters.

Sanders improved to 4-1 on the season despite giving up six earned runs on eight hits and two walks over 5 1/3 innings striking out six.

Hinton reached base safely five times going 3-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored with McDade going 2-for-5 with five RBIs and two runs scored.

Game Two: TUSCULUM 12, Carson-Newman 8

Martin was hit by the first pitch of the game, moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt and motored home to score on a base hit to left field by Montgomery to put the visitors ahead 1-0.

With two outs and no one on base, Thompson hammered a 1-1 pitch of the fence in center field for his second homer of the day to even the score at one.

For the second time on the day, the Pioneers sent 12 men to the plate scoring six times in the top of the second inning to push the lead to 7-1. McDade notched a bases-clearing triple to the wall in left field to open the onslaught. A sacrifice fly, base hit and bases loaded hit batter capped the scoring.

Leading off the bottom of the second, Malik Kyle (Jefferson City, Tenn.) turned on a 0-2 pitch hitting off of the Eagles sign in right field cutting the margin to 7-2.

Tusculum scored in the top of the third on a sacrifice fly before Thompson and Kyle delivered RBI singles in the bottom half of the frame. A two-out single through the right side of the infield by Goforth in the fourth cut the deficit to three at 8-5 in the fourth.

The Pioneers loaded the bases with no one out in the fifth but failed to score and settled for a run in the sixth on a sacrifice fly to center by Seth DeHaven making it a 9-5 game but leaving runners at second and third.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Brendan Campbell (Yardley, Pa.) and Treadway doubled to open the inning. A fielder's choice ground out and an RBI double down the left-field line by John Sharpe (Franklin, Tenn.) pulled the Eagles within one at 9-8. An intentional walk and a hit batter loaded the bases with two outs but Kyle grounded out back up the middle to shortstop to end the inning.

The Pioneers once again was able to add three runs in the top of the seventh thanks to four walks including a bases loaded base on balls to Chase Wullenweber. Zack Finchum pulled a two-run double to the left-field corner to stretch the differential to four runs at 12-8.

Thompson and Kyle each had two hits and two runs driven in with Campbell adding a two-hit day at the office scoring twice.

Seven hurlers logged time on the rubber for the Eagles as each of the first five allowed at least one run on the day. Kyle Cagle (Fairview, N.C.) took the loss giving up four earned runs recording three outs.

Hinton went 2-for-3 with two runs scored with McDade going 3-for-3 with a trio of RBIs and two runs scored. Austin Collins earned the save tallying the final six outs without yielding a run.

The Eagles are back in town on Wednesday afternoon at 3 p.m. against Young Harris looking for their first-ever win against the Mountain Lions.

- CN -