JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – The Carson-Newman Eagles (12-7, 8-1 South Atlantic Conference) swept a Sunday doubleheader and the series against Lenoir-Rhyne Bears (5-16, 1-8 South Atlantic Conference) winning 8-2 and 4-3 at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex on a chilly Sunday afternoon.
The Eagles are now off to a league-best 8-1 start in conference play, and have won each series through the first three weekends of SAC competition.
"I'm very proud of our team," said Carson-Newman head coach Tom Griffin. "It's very hard to get two out of three games in conference play, let alone a sweep. I thought L-R played very well, you knew they were going to come out in that third game and really battle and give it a shot. I was happy with how we responded."
Carson-Newman catcher Kevin Franchetti had a career day, driving in six runs during the two games with two homers, helped by a 3-for-3 performance with 5 RBI in game one of the twin bill.
"Today I just looked for the fastball early, got it, and it really worked out well," said Franchetti, a native of Highland, Ind. "We're just trying to come out here and play our game and it's good to come out here and get a sweep like that – especially with this conference because you never know what's going to happen. We've got to go out there and play every game like it's our last."
Also having a great day at the plate in both games of the twin bill was rightfielder Evan Kirkpatrick, who went 5-for-5 with two doubles, two runs scored, and an RBI. Also Zach Long collected three RBI in the two games for Carson-Newman.
Game One – Carson-Newman defeated Lenoir-Rhyne 8-2
The Eagles took the first game of the doubleheader and clinched a series win with an 8-2 victory.
Carson-Newman starter Alex Britt (3-1) earned the complete game victory. He tossed all seven innings while only allowing a pair of runs on eight hits while walking only one and striking out eight. Lenoir-Rhyne starter Christian Hicks (0-3) took the loss after giving up seven runs on 10 hits during his five innings on the mound.
Franchetti gave the Eagles a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second on his two-run homer to left field. Carson-Newman added a run in the third on an RBI single for Long, before Franchetti proved key at the plate once again in the fourth. He hit an RBI double to score Cody Fox to put the score at 4-0 C-N. The Eagles also saw Kirkpatrick deliver an RBI single to score Franchetti to give Carson-Newman a 5-0 lead heading into the fifth.
The Bears scratched a pair of runs off Britt in the top of the fifth to cut Carson-Newman's lead to 5-2. The Eagles gave Britt more support in the bottom of the sixth, with Franchetti hitting his second two-run homer of the game to put Carson-Newman's lead at 7-2. An RBI groundout for Long scored Kirkpatrick to put the score at 8-2, which would be the final.
Franchetti finished game one of the doubleheader 3-for-3 with 5 RBI, two homers, with three runs scored and a double.
Game Two: Carson-Newman defeated Lenoir-Rhyne 4-3
Carson-Newman earned a doubleheader and series sweep of Lenoir-Rhyne with a 4-3 win in game two of the twin bill.
Carson-Newman reliever Daniel Sharp (1-0) took the win after giving up only an unearned run during his inning and two-thirds on the mound as he struck out four batters including the last three he faced. Lenoir-Rhyne starter Jared Carroll (1-2) took the loss after giving up four runs (three earned) on 10 hits with a pair of walks and a strikeout. Carson-Newman reliever Ryan Fillers picked up his third save of the year by working a scoreless top of the seventh.
The Eagles grabbed the early advantage in the bottom of the third with an RBI single for Long. Brandon Roberts added a RBI single in the bottom of the fourth to give Carson-Newman a 2-0 lead heading into the fifth.
The Bears took their first lead of the series with a three-run top of the fifth inning. Nate Martin gave the Bears a 3-2 lead with his two-RBI single that he hit off of the reliever Sharp.
Carson-Newman starter Quinton Yocom took a no decision, allowing only two runs (one earned) on five hits with no walks and a strikeout in his four and a third innings on the mound.
The Eagles quickly tied the game in the bottom of the fifth. Trace Rogers brought home Kirkpatrick on a sacrifice fly to right that evened the score at three.
Franchetti again proved clutch for Carson-Newman in the bottom of the sixth. After Jackson Reid drew a leadoff walk and his pinch-runner Joe Tipton took second on a passed ball, Franchetti powered an RBI double to centerfield to give Carson-Newman a 4-3 lead, which would be the final score.
Next up for Carson-Newman is a Wednesday afternoon doubleheader at home against Alabama-Huntsville. The first game will begin at 1 p.m. and coverage of the games is available on www.cneagles.com.