JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – The Carson-Newman Eagles (14-14) pounded out 21 hits to defeat the Bluefield State Blues (8-9) 18-3 Tuesday afternoon at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex. The 21 hits are the third-most in program history behind a 28-hit performance against Virginia Intermont in 2003 and 24 hits against Lenoir-Rhyne in 2010.
"We did a good job getting a lot of balls down on the ground," head coach Tom Griffin said. "We put more balls in play that were harder to play. We did a good job going backside when we needed to so hopefully we just keep building on it."
The visiting club took a 1-0 lead in their first plate appearance. After Eagle starting pitcher Clayton Eames (Hoschton, Ga.) hit center fielder Dale Davis, third basemen Ricky Diaz singled. With two outs, catcher Kyle Blocker bounced a ball through the left side of the infield to plate Davis and give the Blues a 1-0 lead after a half inning.
Carson-Newman answered immediately in the bottom half of the inning. Back-to-back singles by sophomore third basemen Brandon Roberts (Davie, Fla.) and junior left fielder Bo Ausmus (Jefferson City, Tenn.) and a walk by junior right fielder Cody Fox (Seymour, Tenn.) loaded the bases. A sacrifice fly by junior designated hitter Evan Jurjevic (New Carlisle, Ind.) brought home Roberts. Junior shortstop Bryan Everhart (Greeneville, Tenn.) rolled a ball past a diving Diaz at third for a base hit to bring home Ausmus and make it 2-1 after a frame.
Senior second basemen Peter Rajkovich (Stockton, Calif.) led off the bottom of the second inning with a sharp single to right field. Sophomore catcher Gooch Greer (Dickson, Tenn.) bunted Rajkovich to second base. A bouncing ball just inside the first base line by sophomore first basemen Joe Tipton (Dandridge, Tenn.) brought home Rajkovich as Tipton coasted into second base with a double. Ausmus drove home Tipton with an RBI single to left field.
The Eagles plated two more runs in the third inning on a RBI double from Everhart and a RBI single by Greer to put the Eagles ahead 6-2.
Griffin's group exploded for a season-high eight-run fifth inning that saw 13 Eagles come to the plate. Rajkovich laid down a textbook squeeze bunt that scored Everhart as the second basemen hustled to first for a bunt single. Tipton brought home a pair with his second double of the game, a gap shot to left center. Four straight walks brought home three runs for Carson-Newman. Junior center fielder Evan Kirkpatrick (Jefferson City, Tenn.) capped the stanza with a two-run double to left center field putting the home team on top 14-2.
The first career home run for freshman catcher Greg Jones (Maryville, Tenn.) was a moon shot over the scoreboard in right field that was also the first grand slam of the season for the Eagles with two outs in the seventh inning giving his team a 18-2 advantage.
Tipton, Roberts, Everhart and Rajkovich tallied three hits each while Ausmus, Kirkpatrick and Greer notched a pair of base knocks. Tipton and Everhart racked up three RBI a piece.
Eames snapped a personal three-game losing streak by working six innings of two-run, seven hit baseball to improve to 2-3 on the season.
Carson-Newman and Bluefield St. finish the two-game set Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m. with a live video stream available at cneagles.com/live.
"The energy level we played with and the focus we had today," Griffin said of his team's effort. "If we can duplicate that, I think we are going to compete very well because I think this year there have been times of up-and-down of competing."
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