JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — The Carson-Newman baseball team returns to South Atlantic Conference play this weekend in a key series with Mars Hill.
The Eagles (24-8, 12-3) and Lions (21-10, 13-5) will open the three-game set on Friday at 6 p.m. with a single game at Smokies Park in Kodak, Tenn. The teams will conclude the series with a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at noon at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex. Saturday will also be Senior Day for C-N.
Eagles head coach Tom Griffin said his team is looking forward to the series, especially opening the weekend in a minor league stadium. Smokies Park is home to the Tennessee Smokies, the double-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs.
"This weekend is the last home weekend series for our team and our seniors, and playing at Smokies Park is a nice touch," said Griffin, whose team is on a season-high 11-game winning streak. "As we have done all year, we are worried about one pitch at a time, so I am concerned with only the first pitch of game one."
C-N will look to remain in first place in the SAC standings, as it will face a Mars Hill squad that is currently in third place.
This weekend's series will be a matchup of the top two hitting teams in the league. The Eagles currently lead the SAC with a .361 average, while the Lions are close behind with a .360 average.
Senior Mike Kitt has led the way for the Lions at the plate this season, batting a league best .500 with eight home runs, 19 doubles and 43 RBIs.
Seniors Derek Long (Jefferson City, Tenn.) and Jeff Lockwood (Knoxville, Tenn.) have been the leaders behind C-N's success in the batter's box. Long is batting .459 on the season with eight home runs, 10 doubles and 44 RBIs. Lockwood is hitting .432 and is second in the nation in home runs with 16. He also leads C-N in RBIs with 50.
C-N lost both games to Mars Hill last season.