JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Charlie Brown gunned down the game's tying run at the plate for the final out of the contest as Carson-Newman held off 14th-ranked Northwood's ninth-inning rally to pick up a series finale 7-6 victory Monday afternoon at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex.
"I saw a ball sharply hit to right," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "It was more of a backhand play for Charlie because it got up on him. As deep as you are in the outfield it was a do-or-die, let it fly. From where I am sitting it looks like it's going to be too far up the line. Fortunately the timing was right for the play to be made. Making the tag as the runner is going by – to secure it – is not easy. Unbelievable play. What an exciting game."
It is the first series win over a nationally-ranked team for the Eagles since sweeping No. 19 Tusculum on Feb. 15-17, 2013 while it's the first series win over a ranked non-conference unit since a sweep of 22nd-ranked Northern Kentucky on Feb. 14-15, 2009.
It was the fifth one-run game of the year for Carson-Newman (7-3) as the Eagles take the three-game series over Northwood (1-2) for a second straight season and the third series win in the last three campaigns over the Timberwolves.
"I don't know if it helped us," Griffin stated of the close games. "I don't know if guys think about that. I think they are just playing the game. It is going the way that it is going. I don't think many guys are thinking we have been in this many one-run games. They are just reacting to the situation and the flow of the game."
Kilian Daughtry (Simpsonville, S.C.) started the bottom of the third with a walk and Charlie Brown (Sevierville, Tenn.) followed with a single to right. After a strikeout, a passed ball and a wild pitch scored Daughtry and shuffled Brown to third base. Dom Leo (Knoxville, Tenn.) struck out for the second out of the frame. On a 1-0 offering, Cade Snapp (Seymour, Tenn.) flared a ball to right to plate Brown and put C-N ahead 1-0.
An error and a walk opened Northwood's half of the fourth. Following a sacrifice bunt and a pop out to second, Michael Karam pulled a ball in the hole at short and into left field for a base hit to score a pair and knot the score at two.
Travis Janes single through the right side of the infield to start the top of the seventh for the Timberwolves. After a sacrifice bunt, Brooks Ullery hit a ball to shortstop and with hesitation the throw went to first. Ullery beat it out and put men on the corners with one out. Ryan Mclelland hit a bouncer back up the middle and the only play for John Sharpe (Franklin, Tenn.) was to throw to first allowing the go-ahead run to score and put the visitors ahead 3-2.
Carson-Newman regained the lead in the last of the seventh scoring four times to go on top 6-3. With a runner at second base and two outs, Brett Langhorne (Mechiancsville, Va.) struck out. It was dropped by Javier Martinez and his throw to first short-hopped the first baseman allowing the tying run to score from second base. The next batter was hit by a pitch, Snapp delivered again with two outs ripping a double down the left field line to score Langhorne. Ethan Goforth (Blacksburg, Va.) sizzled a single back up the box to plate a duo of teammates.
The first two reached safely for the Timberwolves in the top of the eighth inning. After a punch out, Travis Janes pulled a single into left field to score Keaton Sackett and pull Northwood within two at 6-4. Greg Valentine (Knoxville, Tenn.) struck out the next two to end the rally.
The Eagles got the run back in the next half inning as Brendan Campbell (Yardley, Pa.) pulled a base hit into right field to score Micah Genter (Jasper, Tenn.) who doubled with one out to push the margin back to three at 7-4.
A walk and an infield single started the top of the ninth inning for Northwood. After a pop out, an error at first base plated Mclelland from third. Nick Palmer hit a sacrifice fly to left field allowing a run to score from third as Miles Hardy tagged from first base and moved to second base.
On a 1-1 count, Karam laced a single into right field. Hardy raced around third base as Brown's throw from right was slightly up the third base line. Goforth caught the ball and lunged backward to tag Hardy for the third out to seal a win for the Eagles.
"We had a pretty quick runner," Goforth assessed. "Will [Gardner] was filling up the zone. We knew balls were getting put in play. Normally Charlie is our go-to guy for throws. Once again he put the ball on the money and all I had to do was catch it and touch the guy."
Offensively for the Eagles, Snapp and Goforth each had two-hit days and drove in a pair while Northwood outhit the home club 11-10 overall.
Five Timberwolves collected two-hit efforts as Karam had two RBIs and to pace an offense that left 10 men on base in the game.
Valentine (2-0) picked up the win in relief going 1 2/3 innings with three strikeouts and one earned run allowed. Will Gardner (Morristown, Tenn.) slammed the door for his fifth save in five tries working the final inning.
Tyler Jandron (0-1) took the loss for Northwood tossing 6 2/3 frames allowing four runs, two earned on six hits and four walks with eight strikeouts.
Griffin's group turns around and host Lee Tuesday afternoon at 2 p.m. to complete a four-game in three-day stretch. The Eagle Sports Network will have audio and video calls on cneagles.com/live starting at 1:45 p.m.
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