Carson-Newman Takes First Two Games Of Series From Tusculum Saturday
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Derek Long went 5-for-9 with six RBI to lead the Carson-Newman baseball team to a South Atlantic Conference doubleheader sweep over host Tusculum Saturday at Pioneer Park. The Eagles (13-6, 6-2 SAC) won by scores of 8-5 and 11-6 as C-N increases its winning streak to nine in a row.
Game 1: Carson-Newman 8, Tusculum 5 (Box Score)
Long belted a three-run homer to spark a four-run eighth inning as C-N rallied to an 8-5 victory in the opener.
Both teams combined for 25 hits in the contest as C-N finished with 13, while the Pioneers (9-12, 3-8 SAC) tallied a dozen. Evan Patterson tallied three hits, while Long, Cody Nix, Mason Guymon and Corey Lamson each finished with two hits for the Eagles. TC's Brett Mercurio added three hits, including his fourth double of the season. Jared Richmond went 2-for-2, while Nate Grabowski and Payden Houser each had multi-hit outings in the loss for the Pioneers.
Patterson scored the first run of the day as he led off the C-N fourth with a single and scored on Lamson's one-out hit to right field. Tusculum with three runs in the bottom of the frame as the first three batters reached to load the bases. Mercurio drew a walk to drive in the first run and Branfy Arias moved in the second when he was hit by a pitch. Richmond flied out to left field to bring home Payden Houser for a 3-1 TC lead.
Carson-Newman added a run in the top of the fifth thanks to Aaron Vargas' two-out single. Tusculum got the run back in the sixth inning as Mercurio led off with a single, moved to second on a wild pitch and to third on Eric Barclay's bunt. Arias grounded out to short to drive in Mercurio to give the Pioneers a 4-2 lead.
The Eagles cut the deficit in half with a run in the seventh as Patterson came through with a two single to right field to drive in Guymon.
Trailing 4-3, the Eagles sent nine batters to the plate in the eighth as Jeff Lockwood and Lamson reached to lead off the inning. Long stepped up and skied a towering fly ball to left that cleared the wall to give C-N a 6-4 lead. Patterson drove in his second run in as many innings with his RBI groundout to put the Eagles ahead by three (7-3).
Tusculum mounted a furious rally in the bottom of the eighth as Mercurio reached on a one-out double. After a walk to Barclay, Arias brought home Mercurio with his RBI single. Lockwood, who started the game in left field, came on in relief. After hitting Richmond with a pitch to load the bases, Lockwood got fly outs by Sean Cotten and deep fly out by Grabowski to end the threat.
The Eagles added another run in the ninth on Long's RBI single, while Lockwood surrendered one hit in the ninth to preserve the win and his first save of the season.
DJ Ferguson, who relieved C-N started Austin Bridgewater in the fourth inning, pitched four strong inning as he allowed three hits, a run, a walk and posted a strikeout to improve to 3-1 on the season.
Game 2: Carson-Newman 11, Tusculum 6 (Box Score)
The Eagles erupted for four runs in the first and third innings en route to an 11-6 win in the night-cap. Long led the C-N charge with his 3-for-4 effort as the Eagles tallied 14 hits in the second game.
Richmond led the Pioneers with his 3-for-4 performance, including two home runs and four RBI in the loss. Arias accounted for two hits, including his first career home run at Tusculum.
The second game was marred with a pair of rain delays. The first came just before the teams took the field. That delay lasted 15 minutes. After the game got underway, the Eagles connected on three straight singles, including a RBI hit by Long to put C-N ahead, 1-0.
After only seven minutes, the rains returned, delaying the contest this time for over an hour. After the 1:18 delay, Carson-Newman continued to hit as Lockwood singled home the second run and Mills Rogers provided the big knock with his two-run double to the gap in left center for a 4-0 C-N lead.
Arias led off the Tusculum first with a solo home run in the first inning as the Pioneers trimmed the deficit to 4-1. The Eagles sent nine batters to the plate again in the third inning as C-N plated four more runs, including two on Jonathan Dalton's pinch-hit triple.
With C-N leading 8-1, Eagles starter Cy Fraker settled in and returned 12 Pioneers in row from the second to the sixth innings.
Trailing 9-1, the Pioneers plated three runs in the sixth inning, including a two run blast by Richmond as Tusculum trailed 9-4.
The Eagles added two more runs in the seventh inning, both coming on Lamson's fifth double of the season.
In the seventh, Richmond connected on his second round-tripper of the night, a two-run shot off the scoreboard in left field. But C-N Ryan Fillers posted the final two outs of the inning for the Eagles to end the game.
Fraker (4-0) pitched five innings, scattered seven hits, allowed four runs, three earned, walked one and struck out two. Tusculum starter Raymond Ruggles suffered the loss to fall to 2-2 on the season.
The two teams will close out the weekend series on Sunday with a 2 p.m. single-game at Pioneer Park.