JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – The Carson-Newman Eagles (10-7, 6-1 South Atlantic Conference) began its series with the Lenoir-Rhyne Bears (5-14, 1-6 South Atlantic Conference) with a 2-1 victory at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex on Friday afternoon.
With the game tied at one in the bottom of the eighth, Bo Ausmus delivered an RBI single to give the Eagles a 2-1 lead, which would be the final score.
"Conference play is a tough road and you have to get the first game," said Carson-Newman head coach Tom Griffin. "Outstanding pitching by both starters, they were both outstanding and there weren't a lot of plays made on the infield. It was flyball and strikeout all day."
Carson-Newman right-handed starter Chris Armstrong (3-2) was dominant in his outing, striking out a season-high 12 batters in his eight innings, only allowing a run on three hits. Lenoir-Rhyne starter Eric Ryan (0-3) took the loss after giving up two runs (one earned) on six hits with a walk and seven strikeouts as he went the distance by pitching eight innings.
"I felt really good on the mound," said Armstrong, a senior from Blaine, Tenn. "My slider was breaking well today – got it down in the dirt to get them to chase it a lot. They are an aggressive team so that was our plan going in."
Carson-Newman reliever Dustin Dunagan earned the save by pitching the ninth in scoreless fashion, collecting his third save of the season.
The Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the last of the second when Cody Fox brought home Evan Jurjevich on a sacrifice fly to center. Carson-Newman maintained its lead to the eighth, as Armstrong twirled his first seven innings in scoreless fashion.
The Bears would strike in the top of the eighth when Landon Elks hit a sacrifice fly that scored David Martin to tie the game at one. Carson-Newman answered in the bottom of the frame on Ausmus' RBI single that scored Peter Rajkovich to put the score at 2-1.
After Armstrong walked the leadoff batter in the ninth, Dunagan retired the next three batters in order, getting the final two outs of the game with strikeouts.
Ausmus and Rajkovich collected multi-hit games for C-N, with both batters going 2-for-4 at the plate.
The teams will finish the series by playing two seven-inning games on Sunday afternoon. Senior right-hander Alex Britt (2-1, 2.73 ERA) will start the first game of Sunday's doubleheader, while sophomore right-hander Quinton Yocom (2-1, 2.95 ERA) will start the final game on Sunday.
Coverage and live stats of all games in the Lenoir-Rhyne series are available on www.cneagles.com.