DAHLONEGA, Ga. – 15th-ranked North Georgia defeated Carson-Newman 11-2 Friday evening at Bob Stein Stadium as the Nighthawks notched 10 hits and drew seven walks in the first game of a three-game series.
"We can improve on a lot of stuff," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "We weren't very good. We are not playing well. I don't think they are prepared right now. They are making mistakes mentally and physically and that's just a fact that they are not prepared to start this season. It falls on me. We don't have them ready to play. I think we did a good job competing. Our guys did a good job competing in the box. A couple pitchers that got in the game I thought did a good job."
With one out in the top of the first inning, junior center fielder Ryan Addington (Cincinnati, Ohio) drove the first pitch of his at-bat over the left-field fence for the first home run of his career in 134 at-bats to put the Eagles ahead 1-0.
Carson-Newman starter Vince Apicella (Dillsburg, Pa.) walked the leadoff hitter in the next half inning, Connor Hoover, who was promptly sacrificed to second base. A double from Sam Tidaback tied the score at one. Following a passed ball, Trevor Sams doubled to alley in left-center to put the Nighthawks ahead 2-1. With two outs and two men in scoring position, an error by senior third basemen Brandon Roberts (Davie, Fla.) allowed both runners to score and make it 4-1 North Georgia after the first inning.
With one out in the last of the third, Apicella issued a walk and a single to put runners at the corners. An RBI ground out by Kevin Krupp brought home a run to stretch the lead to 5-1 Nighthawks. The next batter, Steven Tomlinson, pounded a home run over the right-field fence to push the advantage to 7-1.
The Eagles got a run back in the top of the sixth. With the bases empty, two outs and a 2-1 count, junior shortstop Jimmy Rice (Middlesex, N.J.) blasted a home run over the left-field wall pulling the Eagles within five at 7-2.
The Nighthawks immediately responded with three runs in the next half inning. Double by Tidaback and Devin Gearhart sandwiched around a wild pitch plated a trio of runs to extend the lead to 10-2 heading into the seventh.
The Nighthawks loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the seventh stanza and plated just one run on an RBI ground out.
Apicella (0-1) lasted just four innings giving up seven runs, five earned runs on five hits and four walks with four strikeouts. It is just the third time in his last 14 starts that the southpaw failed to pitch at least five innings.
North Georgia starting pitcher Brandon Agar (1-0) struck out seven over six innings of work allowing two earned runs on five hits and four walks.
Addington was the lone Carson-Newman player with multiple hits finishing with a 2-for-4 day with the home run in the first inning as the Eagles were held to seven hits on the day.
Tidaback led the North Georgia offense going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored on the day.
Carson-Newman begins the season 0-2 for the first time since the 2013 season. The Eagles have not started 0-3 since at least the 1988 season.
The second game of the three-game series is slated for Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. Matthew Osborne provides the play-by-play action on the Eagle Sports Network at cneagles.com/live beginning at 12:50 p.m.
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