JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. - Despite tallying two total hits on the day, Carson-Newman's pitching duo of Brayden Coe and Tyler Shaver combined to fan 14 and tally a 3-0 shutout victory over West Liberty Saturday afternoon at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex.
"I think the effectiveness and ineffectiveness of the pitcher has a lot to do with the catcher," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "I thought Chris [Caldwell] did a really good job in the receiving department of things and the calling of the game. Both pitchers, Coe and Shaver, were in the strike zone. Being able to expand with two strikes against a team that has not played a game. You can get away with it more. I don't know how much they have been able to get outside and see live pitching. You have an advantage but you still have to execute pitches."
Snowy conditions littered the area in the hours leading up to first pitch but Carson-Newman (5-0) opens the year with five straight wins for the first time in modern history (since 1990) passing the 2009 team's 4-0 start. The Eagles secure a victory in a home opener for the eighth consecutive season to improve to 22-5 since 1990.
Coe struck out nine batters over six scoreless innings to earn his first win in an Orange and Blue uniform. The Bridgeville, Pa. native scatters three hit and three walks.
"I was able to work early in the counts getting my fastball and curveball in there," Coe said. "I was able to put them away later in the counts as well. I had to stay focused. Everyone knew that it was cold. It was snowing pretty much all pregame. It felt like the Winter Classic out here. We were able to keep our minds on the day and winning the game."
Shaver has been unhittable this season yielding one hit in eight innings in 2020. The Dandridge, Tenn. native fired three flawless frames punching out five to nail down his first-career save.
Hey, uh... this is baseball weather, right?? pic.twitter.com/SdyKxn9ZC5— Carson-Newman Athletics (@CNathletics) February 8, 2020
The only real threat of the game for either side resulted in the lone run production for either team. Carson-Newman scored three times in the bottom of the second. Mark Treaway (Friendsville, Tenn.) lined a single to center field with one out. West Liberty starter Luke Nees lost his accuracy hitting three of the next four with a walk mixed in to bring in two runs. Tyler Thompson (Gallatin, Tenn.) capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly to left field giving the Eagles a 3-0 lead.
The Hilltoppers could not seize its best chance of the day after Colton Coss drew a one-out walk in the fourth. Tyler Ramsay hit a ball to the wall in left field. Gunnar Ricketts (Hixson, Tenn.) barehanded the ball, threw to shortstop Micah Genter (Jasper, Tenn.) who threw high to the plate. Chris Caldwell (Seymour, Tenn.) leaped into the air and landed in time to stop Coss and apply the tag. It would be the only time in the game that West Liberty put a runner in scoring position.
Carson-Newman's pitching staff faced the minimum seven times on the day facing four in the first and five in fourth with seven of the 14 punch outs by the looking variety.
The Eagles went 0-for-7 with runners in scoring position stranding seven runners on base as the club drew four walks and was hit five times.
Treadway and Mike Wroth (Chicopee, Mass.) provided the two knocks of the day with four of the bottom five men in the lineup reaching base twice.
Nees took home the loss allowing three earned runs on one hit, two walks and four hit batters in five innings with two strikeouts. Jason Schutte produced two of the team's hits, both infield singles to the left side of the infield.
The two clubs wrap up the series with a pair of seven-inning affairs on Sunday starting at noon from the friendly confines. Audio and video streams will be available on cneagles.com/live.
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