VIDEO: Game Highlights
VIDEO: Tom Griffin Interview
VIDEO: Kilian Daughtry Interview
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – A three-run blast by first baseman Kilian Daughtry (Simpsonville, S.C.) would prove to be the difference maker as the Carson-Newman Eagles defeated the Lee Flames 5-1 in a Wednesday matinee at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex.
After losing four out of the last five contests, the Eagles (9-4) notch another tally in the win column before the beginning of South Atlantic Conference play.
"Both teams obviously pitched it really well and didn't have a lot of opportunities," head coach Tom Griffin said postgame. "We squandered some (scoring chances) as well with runners in scoring position where we didn't get really good at bats or quality at bats…Always a good matchup with Lee. It's a class act – coach Brew and his staff. Class act.
"Our games are always good and we talked about this before, when your playing midweek games you want to have two teams that compete and respect each other. There's nothing being said on either side and that's what you get with Lee, it's just class all the way."
After Carson-Newman failed to produce on a lead-off double in the bottom of the third, Lee lit the lamp first in the top of the fourth. Clean-up batter Ryan Beamish drove a 1-0 pitch over the scoreboard in right field to start the frame to put the Flames on top 1-0.
Despite putting a runner on base in each of the first four stanzas, the Eagles did not break through until the fifth. An infield single and fielding error allowed the first two men to reach base. Following a ground out to move the runners up, Zach Boze (Gallatin, Tenn.) ripped a single to left field to tie the score at one.
Daughtry (Simpsonville, S.C.) fell behind 0-2 before launching a pitch to the opposite field, down the right-field line. The ball stayed inside of the pole 325 feet away over the wall for his first home run since March 17, 2019 to surge the home crew into the lead at 4-1.
"I got to be better at hitting first-pitch fastballs," Daughtry said. "But, I got behind and just changed my approach (after 0-2) to go more backside and I got a fastball up and just tried to do my best with it."
A common theme of the afternoon was C-N working ahead in counts or, finding ways to put the rotating crew of eight Flames pitchers behind the eight ball in the at bat.
"Our approach has changed a lot since the first part of the year," Daughtry said. "The pitch selection, I trust anybody in this lineup to not swing at bad pitches."
Lee missed a prime opportunity to cut into the deficit in the sixth putting runners at second and third base with no one out. Nate Deloian (Mokena, Ill.) induced a pop up to shallow center caught by the shortstop for the first out, while Tyler Shaver (Dandridge, Tenn.) came on in relief – getting a pop out to first in foul ground and a strikeout to stymie the threat.
Jordan Griffin (Ellerslie, Ga.) was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the sixth, stole second base and moved to third on a dropped pick-off attempt to second base. Micah Genter (Jasper, Tenn.) lined out to center to plate Griffin and stretch the lead to 5-1.
Logan Cogburn (Friendsville, Tenn.) registered his longest outing of the season logging five frames fanning six, one shy of a career high. He allowed one earned run on five hits and a walk.
"He gave us what we needed in a midweek start," Griffin said. "Quality pitches, in the strike zone, let them make contact and let your defense work. Similar to what Lee's guys did."
Carson Pack (Andersonville, Tenn.) was able to work relatively quiet eighth and ninth innings for C-N, allowing a lone hit in two innings of work and recording a strikeout to kick start the eighth.
Lee moves to 6-4 on the loss.
The Eagles are slated to open SAC action this weekend with a three-game series at Lenoir-Rhyne on tap starting at 2 p.m. on Friday from Hickory.