Long balls doom Eagles in series finale versus top-ranked Spartans

VIDEO: Tom Griffin Interview

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – After taking a 4-3 lead, Carson-Newman surrendered three home runs falling to top-ranked Tampa 9-5 in the rubber game of the series Sunday afternoon at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex.

Michael Wroth (Chicopee, Mass.) led the team with a 3-for-5 effort driving in three with a homer and two runs scored stretching his hitting streak to a career high six games. Tyler Thompson (Gallatin, Tenn.) added a pair of knocks finishing the series 8-for-13 with five runs scored.

The Eagles drop their first series of the season in a game where they use 10 different pitchers. Carson-Newman (8-4) falls to 1-5 all-time against Tampa (6-3) dropping a three-game set to a top 10 team for the sixth time without a win since 1998.

Neither side came up clutch on the day combining for 23 runners left on base. C-N went 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position and Tampa went 2-for-13.

"Against a team like that you have to take advantage of opportunities," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "We had two innings where we get the lead-off guy on and we can't move them up in a 6-4 game. We get first and second with no one out and we don't score a run. That was your chance and we didn't get it.

"I think that we competed very well. It's all we can ask of them. We made some mistakes too but we were still in the game. In the past, some of the mistakes we made would have snowballed into a situation where we can't catch up. Someone else was able to stop the bleeding. Whether it was a quality pitch or a defensive play. That's what we needed because we weren't clean in some areas."

Tampa opened the scoring taking advantage of two errors in the first inning. A bases loaded walk to Josh Rulli and an error at third base brought in the game's first two runs of the day.

Tyler Thompson (Gallatin, Tenn.) singled to right-center field to open the bottom of the first inning. He was standing at second base with two outs when Zach Boze (Gallatin, Tenn.) ripped a double inside of the bag at third to slice the deficit in half after an inning.

After a ground out brought in a run for the visitors in the third, Carson-Newman captured the lead in the bottom half of the stanza. With two men on base and one out, Wroth launched a 1-2 offering over the left-field wall to put the Eagles on top 4-3 after three.

The advantage lasted for an inning before the Spartans played long ball. With two outs and a man aboard, Christian Flint blasted a homer to left field to put the top-ranked team in the nation on top 5-4 in the fifth.

Drew Ehrhard led off the top of the sixth inning with a solo homer to center field to the right of the 18-foot high wall for his first roundtripper of the year to add insurance for the Spartans at 6-4.

With one out in the eighth, Luke McDonald drew a walk to bring Dan Sullivan to the plate. The left-handed hitter laced a ball off the wall in left field to add further insurance and stretch the lead to 7-4.

Jose Cadenas played long ball in the ninth blasting a one-out, two-run shot over the fence in left to sweel the margin to 9-4.

In the bottom of the ninth, the Eagles opened the frame with two ground outs before loading the bases. Henry Jackson (Waxhaw, N.C.) drew walk to bring the tying run to the plate. Tampa brought in Michael Paul who induced a fly out to right field to end the game.

Jacinto Arredondo earned the win in relief firing 5 2/3 scoreless innings scattering five hits and two walks fanning six batters tossing a season-high 92 pitches.

Ehrhard went 3-for-6 with two runs scored as the Spartans finished with 13 hits on the day. Sullivan added a 2-for-4 day finishing the series 8-for-12 with seven RBIs and four runs scored.

The Eagles take a day off before hosting Lee on Tuesday at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex to wrap up an eight-game homestand before South Atlantic Conference play. Visit cneagles.com/live for the broadcast coverage from the Eagle Sports Network.

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