JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – The last two ball games for the Carson-Newman Eagles (17-16) have been filled with a flair for the dramatics. Junior shortstop Bryan Everhart (Greeneville, Tenn.) hit a three-run home run as the Eagles were down to their final strike in an 8-7 win at Lenoir-Rhyne and junior center fielder Evan Kirkpatrick (Jefferson City, Tenn.) hit an inside-the-park grand slam Wednesday afternoon in a 7-1 win at King University.
"We have not had enough [hits in key situations] and opportunities for those," head coach Tom Griffin said of the clutch hits. "You hope that that triggers something. Our practice yesterday was phenomenal. I thought our guys, in terms of our mindset, were great."
This weekend provides a new challenge for Carson-Newman as the No. 7 Georgia College Bobcats (22-5) invade East Tennessee for three games this weekend with one game scheduled Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. and a doubleheader Sunday afternoon.
The Eagles have a trio of players riding extended hitting streaks. For the second time this season, junior left fielder Bo Ausmus (Jefferson City, Tenn.) has a double-digit hitting streak as his current streak sits at 11 games where he has driven in 13 runs and scored 12 times. Sophomore Joe Tipton (Dandridge, Tenn.) has hits safely in eight straight contests where he is 15-for-35 with five doubles, nine RBI and nine runs scored. Junior right fielder Cody Fox (Seymour, Tenn.) has seen his average rise to .307 on the year thanks to a six game spurt where he has an average of just under .500.
Less than two weeks ago, Carson-Newman saw its average dip to .267, but the Eagles have rebounded nicely averaging 8.4 runs per contest during that stretch. Griffin's group was held to fewer than three runs on four occasions to begin the month of March, but have only been held to fewer than three runs twice in the last nine games.
Despite a great overall record, Georgia College has a team earned run average of 5.38 while allowing over six runs per game this season. Most of the damage has been done to the bullpen who has nine different players with an ERA of above 5.40.
"They've traditionally been very good," Griffin said of the first nationally ranked opponent the Eagles will face this season. "I don't think the ERA is at all indicative of the talent level they have pitching-wise. Offensively, there are some great numbers there."
What the Bobcats have lacked in pitching, they more than make up for at the plate. Georgia College is 15th nationally in team batting average hitting at a .328 clip on the season and third in the country scoring nine runs per game on the year.
Six different players have a batting average of .344 or better this season and eight players have driven in 18 or more runs on the year. Junior catcher Steve Hazel is second on the club with a .410 batting average, first on the roster with four home runs and third on the team with 24 RBI.
The Bobcats have won 12 of their last 13 games having scored at least 13 runs in five of those contests.
The Eagles and Bobcats have played just two games prior to this weekend all-time with Georgia College holding a 2-0 advantage in the series. The two programs met once during the 1994 season as the Eagles fell 7-6 and once during the 1995 campaign as the Bobcats tallied a 13-4 win.
All three contests this weekend will be available through a video and audio stream by visiting cneagles.com/live as pregame coverage begins on the Eagle Sports Network ten minutes prior to the first pitch of every game.
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