Eagles hold off Hawks for 6-5 victory

Eagles hold off Hawks for 6-5 victory

Tom Griffin Interview

ROME, Ga. – The Carson-Newman baseball teams withstood a sub-40 degree temperature, high winds, snow and a late comeback from the home-standing Shorter Hawks as the Eagles picked up a 6-5 road win at Robert H. Ledbetter Baseball Complex in Rome, Ga.

Freshman Cade Snapp (Seymour, Tenn.) knocked home three runs. The Eagles tallied nine hits during the Wednesday afternoon matinee and seniors Bo Ausmus (Jefferson City, Tenn.) and Evan Jurjevic (New Carlisle, Ind.) both recorded two hits.

"Great job with two strike hitting, today. Guys putting balls in play and good things happening," coach Tom Griffin said. "And we had a good enough cushion. Come this far in these conditions is real good."

After both teams put runners in scoring position in the first, the Eagles scored two runs in the second. Jurjevic and Bryan Everhart (Greeneville, Tenn.) both were hit by pitches to begin the inning. Freshman Joe Rotelli (Morganville, N.J.) then grounded into a fielder's choice to put runners on the corners. Junior third baseman Brandon Roberts (Davie, Fla.) walked to load the bases for Snapp who hit a long sacrifice fly to the fence that scored Jurjevic for the first run. Shorter shortstop George Ragsdale misplayed a Ryan Addington (Cincinnati, Ohio) grounder that allowed Rotelli to score and Carson-Newman led 2-0 through two innings.

Ausmus led off the third with a single. He advanced to second on a balk and then a passed ball pushed him to third with one out and Jurjevic at the plate. The senior first baseman singled through the left side of the infield to push the Eagles' advantage to 3-0.

In the top of the fourth, the Eagles put runners on first and second after a walk, fielder's choice and another walk, Then, Ausmus delivered a two-out double to left field to score Addington from second and Carson-Newman led the Hawks 4-0.

In the top of the fifth, the Eagles did their damage all with two outs. Two quick fly outs brought up the bottom third of the inning. Rotelli and Roberts both singles to put runners on first and second for Snapp. The freshman right fielder delivered a double that bounced between third base and the third baseman; the Shorter left fielder misplayed the ball, allowing the base runners to score and Carson-Newman led 6-0 after four and a half innings.

In the bottom of the sixth, Shorter got on the scoreboard for the first time. A hit batter and two singles plated two runs for the Hawks to cut the Eagles' lead to 6-2 through six complete innings.

The Hawks combined for three runs over the next two innings to make it a 6-5 contest heading into the last inning. After Carson-Newman saw its inning end with runners on second and third in hopes of extending the lead, Griffin called sophomore hurler Justin Evans (Salisbury, N.C.) to face the two Hawk left-handed hitters.

Evans induced a popup and two groundouts by the lone three hitters he faced to pick up the first to pick up his career save.

Starting pitcher Logan Shaftner (Lexington Ky.) worked six complete innings, allowing just two runs on four hits and striking out two.

"Well Shaftner gave us a great start. Shaftner has been very consistent, being able to pitch backwards and use his off-speed pitches. Relievers that came in the game kept us enough in it," Griffin said. "The only lapse we had was defensively, but the conditions today aren't easy to play in, but we made one more play than them to give us that victory. Justin Evans came in at the end versus their two lefties. He did what he has been training for and did."

Senior Michael Cogliano (Medford, N.J.) and junior Dustin Baston (Pisgah Forest, N.C.) each worked an inning of relief. 

The Eagles return to the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex for a weekend series against the Anderson Trojans. Game one of the three-game set is scheduled for a 2 p.m. first pitch Friday afternoon.