Carson-Newman Sweeps Mars Hill, 8-6 And 9-1, Wednesday In SAC Action
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (21-2, 4-0 SAC) scored 17 runs on 18 hits Wednesday afternoon as it won a pair of games over the visiting Mars Hill Lions (18-7, 1-3 SAC) in South Atlantic Conference Action. The Lady Eagles won by scores of 8-6 and 9-1, to remain atop the league standings.
“We stumped our toe last year with our first two conference series. Every league game is so important,” said Head Coach Vickee Kazee-Hollifield, whose Lady Eagles were 0-4 in conference play at this time a year ago. “There is not one conference game that is more important than the other.
“We are pounding out some hits right now. My concern is we are leaving a lot of people on base. I’m not trying to be critical, but there is going to come a time when we have to get a ball out of the infield to get that run in from third. We by no means are peaking at this stage of the game, which can be good, but it’s time for us to sharpen up on some things.”
Game One – Carson-Newman 8, Mars Hill 6 - Box
Mars Hill got off to a solid start in the top of the first inning as sophomore Natalie Haithcox (Asheboro, N.C.) hit a three-run home run to left center.
The Lady Eagles closed the gap to 3-2 in the bottom of the first as senior shortstop Jessie Howard (Knoxville, Tenn.) reached home from third on a wild pitch and sophomore right fielder Cassidy Skeen (Powell, Tenn.) crossed the plate thanks to a passed ball.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, C-N junior third baseman Whitney Kee (Knoxville, Tenn.) took the first pitch of the frame and hit a line drive over the centerfield fence, tying the game at three runs apiece.
The Lady Eagles stormed out to an 8-3 lead in the bottom of the fifth with five runs. Two-run hits by junior centerfielder Whitney Durham (Rossville, Ga.) and freshman catcher Bri Shoemake (Ooltewah, Tenn.) provided the boost that C-N needed to claim the advantage.
After a scoreless sixth frame, the Lions showed that they were not going to go down without a fight. Mars Hill scored three runs on five hits in the top of the seventh and had the bases loaded with two outs, but came up short as the final score would be 8-6.
C-N junior pitcher Ashley Boyd (Chattanooga, Tenn.) picked up her 13th win on the season, going 6.2 innings with seven strikeouts. Sophomore Mary Shealy (Clinton, S.C.) got her third save on the year, as she came into the game to grab the final out.
Mars Hill junior Tara West (Urbana, Ohio) (1-3) suffered the loss, despite striking out five and allowing only two hits.
“We did a nice job bouncing back,” said Hollifield. “It was early on in the first inning when we fell behind, and we are not used to being in that kind of situation. Fortunately, we came out of it and didn’t seem to press a whole lot. My thought was to just get one or two runs back, and that’s exactly what the kids did. I just hope we don’t find ourselves in that position a lot.”
Game Two – Carson-Newman 9, Mars Hill 1 (six
innings) - Box Score
The Lions got their only run of the contest in the top of the first inning, as senior Ashley Angell (Winston-Salem, N.C.), who reached on a fielding error, scored on a ground out by senior Anna James (Bellevue, Wash.).
The Lady Eagles responded in the bottom of the first with three runs to take a lead they would not relinquish. A run-scoring single by Shealy highlighted the frame for C-N.
Carson-Newman got three more runs in the third to extend its lead to 6-1. After Boyd was hit by a pitch with one out, the Lady Eagles poured on four straight singles, all of which reached left field.
C-N added one run each in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings to seal the victory.
Shealy (7-2) went the distance in the circle, striking out five while allowing just three hits.
“Mary pitched really well all day. We’ve done that one other time where we’ve had to bring her in a game in that type of situation,” said Hollifield. “She is looking stronger every time she pitches. It’s amazing the difference in her confidence level from last year to this year. We are thrilled to see that."
Mars Hill’s Tiffany Farthing (Kure Beach, N.C.) fell to 7-3, as she pitched 2.1 innings giving up five earned runs on five hits.
Carson-Newman is scheduled to travel to Louisville, Ky., tomorrow to take on Bellarmine in a doubleheader at 1:00 p.m. The Lady Eagles will return home on Saturday to face North Greenville with a 1:00 p.m., first pitch.
-Joe Matthews, C-N Sports Information