Tipton’s walk-off, pitching help Eagles sweep Tornados

Tipton’s walk-off, pitching help Eagles sweep Tornados

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – The Carson-Newman Eagles (6-1, 3-0 South Atlantic Conference) defeated the Brevard Tornados (1-3, 0-3 SAC) 5-1 in game one and 4-3 in the second game Saturday afternoon at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex. The 6-1 start to the season is the Eagles best record to begin a season since 1999 when the team went 12-1 and won the South Regional.

 "It's having some toughness," Griffin said of the start that includes three wins in one-run games. "The experience we have plays a part in it. We're maybe not doing a great job with no one on base, but with runners on base we are executing pretty good when we need to."
The Eagles struck first in the second inning. With one out, sophomore third basemen Brandon Roberts (Davie, Fla.) singled. Senior second basemen Peter Rajkovich (Stockton, Calif.) extended his consecutive on-base streak to 11 games with a walk. With the bases loaded and two outs, junior center fielder Evan Kirkpatrick (Jefferson City, Tenn.) smacked a single into center field to put the home team on top 2-0.
Brevard responded in the top of the fourth inning with a run on a sacrifice fly by Kody Spencer to make it a 2-1 game. 

Junior left fielder Bo Ausmus (Jefferson City, Tenn.) helped extend the lead in the bottom of the seventh inning with a two-run double that scored freshman Ryan Addington (Cincinnati, Ohio) and sophomore Joe Tipton (Dandridge, Tenn.). Ausmus came in to score on a throwing error by Ryan Ahlum that gave the Eagles a 5-1 advantage. 

Sophomore starting pitcher Vince Apicella (Dillsburg, Pa.) allowed six hits and one run in a career-high 7.1 innings to go along with a career-high five strikeouts to improve to 2-0 on the season. 

"We feel like we have a deep pitching staff," Griffin said of the hurlers' performances. "The key right now is getting them some work especially in the midweek contests." 


Carson-Newman did not lead in the second game until Tipton drove a first pitch fastball over the fence in right center field to propel the Eagles to a 4-3 walk-off win. 

"Coach Griff really emphasizes being aggressive," Tipton said of the at-bat. "I just went up there looking for a fastball." 

The first two men were retired to start the top of the eighth inning before sophomore Shade Jett (Talbott, Tenn.) worked a five pitch walk to set the stage for his teammate. Tipton's home run was his first since April 21, 2013 against Lincoln Memorial. 

The Tornados lit the scoreboard first when leadoff hitter Aaron Goforth lined a double to start the ball game. The Brevard center fielder scored on a ground out by shortstop Chad Fisher. 

Carson-Newman responded in the bottom of the first. Junior center fielder Evan Kirkpatrick (Jefferson City, Tenn.) singled to lead off the inning and advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt. Ausmus drove a ball to deep left to bring home Kirkpatrick on a sacrifice fly and tie the score at one. 

Brevard regained the lead in the fifth inning when Bennett Hixson doubled to start a rally. Hixson moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a passed ball by catcher Greg Jones (Maryville, Tenn.). 

Ausmus led off the bottom of the sixth inning with a single and stood at second base with two outs for Tipton. The first basemen laced a 2-2 pitch into right field to bring home the tying run. 

In extra innings, an error by shortstop Bryan Everhart (Greeneville, Tenn.) and a base hit by Eric Renegar put two men on base with just one out. Senior right-hander Daniel Sharp (Johnson City, Tenn.) threw a wild pitch to put runners at second and third. Sharp struck out Spencer, but he threw a wild pitch three pitches later to bring home the go-ahead run and make it 3-2 Brevard. 

With one hit in each game, Kirkpatrick has now reached base in 14 consecutive games and has a seven game hitting streak to start the season. 

"The whole series was outstanding," head coach Tom Griffin said of this weekend. "It's one of those things where no one really deserves to lose. Joe [Tipton] was big. He was big with the base hit and the last swing right there. It's a crucial win for us." 

The Eagles will return to action Tuesday afternoon when Lee University visits the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex for a 2 p.m. first pitch.