JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman opens the doors for the 2016 season to a new-look Silver Diamond Baseball Complex Sunday at noon with the first game of a doubleheader against the University of Virginia-Wise.
Sunday begins a stretch of seven consecutive home games and a period of 11 of the next 12 being played inside of the friendly confines.
Since Carson-Newman (1-4) joined Division II in 1994, the Eagles are 18-4 in home openers including 8-2 under Griffin since he took over in 2006.
The Eagles have won three-straight home openers with their last loss in a lid lifter at home coming on Feb. 21, 2012 when King (Tenn.) took home a 10-7 victory.
"I think anytime you get to play in an environment that you're used to I think there's a built-in advantage knowing the facility and the way the field plays," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "I think there's always a comfort level. You don't have to travel and be on a bus for three hours. To be able to put together a bunch of games at home helps the psyche of players."
Carson-Newman and UVA-Wise (2-0) have met just once before with that meeting coming on April 1, 2015 with the Eagles coming out on top 5-3 on the Wise, Va. campus.
Dustin Batson (Pisgah Forest, N.C.) earned the win in the game working 5.2 innings giving up just two earned runs on five hits while compiling seven strikeouts. A trio of players had two hits in Brandon Roberts (Davie, Fla.), Greg Jones (Maryville, Tenn.) and Bryan Everhart as five different players recorded an RBI.
The Cavaliers finished the 2015 season with a 14-32 record as they have not finished with a winning record since the 2010 season, a 27-21 season.
In the 2016 preseason Mountain East Conference baseball coaches' poll, UVA-Wise was picked to finish sixth in the South Division tying with Fairmont State for the fewest points in the 12-team league.
2016 is the first year that the Cavaliers are recognized as a full member of NCAA Division two returning 15 letter winners and 10 seniors. Ty Lighton, 5-for-10 in the first weekend, is the top returning position player having started at every position in the field except for catcher during his career. Lighton hit .355 as a junior with 34 runs scored and 10 stolen bases.
Sevierville, Tenn. native Tye Marshall hit .305 in 41 games and Brett Yates, who collected two hits in the 2015 contest, started 44 games as a freshman finishing with a .329 batting average, seven doubles and seven steals.
The Cavs opened the year against Virginia State on the road earning 9-6 and 5-3 victories. The team's pitching staff held the Trojans to a .190 batting average while walking just four batters in 15 innings pitched. The offense chipped away compiling just four extra-base hits.
Fans can catch the game in high definition or audio by visiting cneagles.com/live beginning at 11:50 a.m. on the Eagle Sports Network.