JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — The Carson-Newman baseball team returns to South Atlantic Conference play this weekend in a three-game series with rival Tusculum.
The Eagles (11-6, 4-2) and Pioneers (9-10, 3-6) open the weekend with a single game on Friday, beginning at 7 p.m. at Pioneer Park in Greeneville, Tenn. The teams will conclude the series on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at noon.
"It will be an extremely challenging series for us this weekend," Eagles head coach Tom Griffin said. "Tusculum is a force in the South Region and in the conference."
C-N enters the contest riding a seven-game winning streak, including a 10-6 victory at Anderson on Tuesday.
The Eagles have been on a tear at the plate as they have reached double figures in hits in seven-straight games, including a combined 65 base knocks with nine home runs in their last four contests.
Senior first baseman Derek Long (Jefferson City, Tenn.) and senior outfielder Jeff Lockwood (Knoxville, Tenn.) have played key roles in C-N's success in the batter's box.
Long, who leads the team with a .438 batting average, has gone 12-for-16 at the plate in his last four games and is on an eight-game hitting streak.
Lockwood is batting .429 with a league-best 10 home runs this season and has hit safely in his last seven outings.
The Pioneers, who were the preseason favorite to win the SAC, are coming off a pair of wins at St. Andrews.
Preseason first team All-SAC outfielder Jared Richmond (Fort Smith, Ark.) has been Tusculum's leader at the plate, batting .383 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs.
Junior Tyler Collins (Snellville, Ga.) has been the ace of the Pioneers' pitching staff through 19 games. The 6-1, right-hander is 2-1 on the season with a 2.00 ERA and 30 strikeouts.
"They are a very experienced and explosive offensive team and have a talented pitching staff, both of which will make it difficult for our club this weekend at their place," Griffin said. "They are well coached and will be prepared for the series."
Tusculum swept the Eagles at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex last season.