JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Tyler Thompson became the first Carson-Newman player to homer twice in the same game but early defensive miscues dug the Eagles a hole falling 14-3 Friday afternoon at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex to top-ranked Tampa.
The last Carson-Newman (7-3) player to blast a pair of homers in the same game was Brett Langhorne doing so in the series finale at 24th-ranked Wingate on March 31, 2018, 75 games and 686 days ago.
"He's been hitting the ball hard," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "In our quality at-bats he has been squaring balls up, hitting them right at people. He has had made great contact and great at-bats. He just hasn't had the statistics. That's the type of hitter he is. He has great hand-eye coordination. He has good bat speed and is a really good hitter."
In the fourth meeting with Tampa (5-2), the Eagles remain winless dropping the first game of a series for the first time this season. Half the runs allowed were unearned by the C-N pitching staff.
Thompson produced three of the team's five hits in four at-bats. Michael Wroth (Chicopee, Mass.) provided the only other run support with a homer in the sixth.
Tampa scored in the top of the first in an unconventional manner with two passed balls on strikeouts putting a pair on. The latter brought in the game's first run before Dan Sullivan singled to left field to make it a 2-0 game before C-N stepped to the plate.
In the top of the third, the Spartans exploded for four runs after a hit batter and a dropped fly ball in center field started the stanza. John Pichman hit a sacrifice fly to center, Nick Derr single to center and Sullivan doubled off the wall in left to bring in the first three runs. After a punch out, Mikey Navarette doubled to right field to put the visitors ahead 6-1.
With one out in the bottom of the third, the Eagles lit the scoreboard for the first time. Tyler Thompson (Gallatin, Tenn.) lifted a 3-1 pitch high in the air to straightaway center field that cleared the fence to pull the team within a 6-1 tally.
The visitors got the run back in the top of the fifth on a sacrifice fly to right field by Navarette digging the Eagles back into a six-run hole at 7-1.
Brandon Knarr had retired 10 straight batters since the homer to Thompson when Wroth ambushed the first pitch of his at-bat with two outs in the sixth to center field to get the Eagles back within five at 7-2.
The top team in the nation scored six times in the seventh starting with a three-run homer to right-center field by Dan Sullivan. Tampa added a solo homer in the ninth on a lead-off shot by Josh Rulli.
Brayden Coe (Bridgeville, Pa.) yielded six earned runs, 10 total, with the last three coming on Sullivan's homer in the seventh. The right-hander tallied six strikeouts giving up 10 hits and one walk.
"I thought Coe battled extremely well," Griffin said. "He should not have gone out there in the seventh. That's my fault. We were thinking about getting him out but we wanted to extend him. We didn't want to use a ton of arms because you have another two games that you have to play here. We tried to squeeze a little more out of him. The way he responded after the third inning was tremendous."
@BrayCoe adds to his strikeout total to end the frame, as a sacrifice fly brings across a run for the Spartans.— Carson-Newman Athletics (@CNathletics) February 14, 2020
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Knarr earned his second win of the year working six innings with 10 punch outs giving up three hits and two earned runs. Michael Paul picked up the save tossing the final three innings with two strikeouts and one run allowed.
Sullivan led the way offensively for the Spartans with a 3-for-4 day finishing a triple shy of the cycle with five RBIs and three runs scored. Navarette went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Game two of the series is slated to start at 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon from the banks of Mossy Creek. Broadcast coverage can be found on cneagles.com/live with video and audio streams.
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