JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman picked up its seventh win in-a-row Wednesday afternoon at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex by defeating Bluefield State 12-4 in the final nonconference contest before league play begins.
The Eagles (10-5) have won 10 of their last 11 games after beginning the season 0-4. C-N has won six straight meetings with Bluefield St. (2-10) dating back to 1999 and has scored at least 10 runs in each of the last four games.
"Anytime you play mid-week and we had a situation yesterday where he had about 17 young men sick with a stomach virus, so we weren't able to do much. You are always concerned about going prepared you because you want to have a good practice going into a game," coach Tom Griffin said. "Yesterday was very laid back for us, so you are concerned with how they would come out. Offensively, we came out. We got to play a lot of guys today.
"The good thing was our bullpen. We got to use a lot of young men today, eight different pitchers. That was important for us. And they all did a good job. There weren't any walks. They battled, put the pitches in the strike zone and let the defense do their work. It was very encouraging to see those young guys who hadn't had the chance to pitch much come out and pitch."
With one out in the bottom of the first inning, the Eagles' offense kicked into gear. Junior shortstop Jimmy Rice (Middlesex, N.J.) walked and senior third baseman Brandon Roberts (Davie, Fla.) extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a base hit to right field. On a 1-0 offering, junior first baseman Paul Kirby (Goodlettsville, Tenn.) cranked his fourth home run, a three-run shot, of the year to straightaway center field to start the scoring.
Junior center fielder Ryan Addington (Cincinnati, Ohio) drew a walk to begin the bottom of the second inning and promptly stole second base. A single by Rice plated Addington and fielding error put Rice at third base who scored on a sacrifice fly by Roberts. Sophomore Cade Snapp (Seymour, Tenn.) laced a double down the left-field line to score Kirby and make it a 6-0 contest.
The Big Blues scored a run in the top of the third inning on a two-out double to the left-center field alley by Justin Bowler. In the top of the fourth frame, a throwing error by junior catcher Greg Jones (Maryville, Tenn.) allowed a run to cross the plate for the visitors and make it a 6-2 game.
For the second straight game, redshirt-sophomore Graham Warren (Franklin, Tenn.) delivered a two-run double in a pinch-hitting role as the football player smacked a double to left-center field to extend Carson-Newman's lead to 8-2.
Once again with two outs Bluefield St. plated a run as Bowler lined a single into center field after an error extended the stanza and pull the visiting group within an 8-3 score.
A four-run sixth pushed the Eagles' advantage to 12-3. A hit batter and a fielding error put two men on base setting up a sacrifice bunt. Addington grounded a base hit into right field to score one run. Rice drove in a pair with a double to the gap in left-center field. A double by Roberts capped the scoring in the inning as Rice crossed home.
Once again an error aided the Big Blues in scoring a run in the top of the seventh. With two outs Cody Underwood looped a double to left-center field and moved to third base on a throwing error. Underwood scored on a single through a hole in the right-side of the infield by Sean Williams.
Kirby tallied his third multi-hit game of the season going 3-for-4 with a long ball and three RBIs while scoring twice. Roberts racked up a three-hit effort for the third time going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. Overall eight players had at least one hit with each of the top four men in the lineup recording multi-hit days.
The Eagles used eight pitchers on the day as the group combined to punch out six batters while not allowing a walk and giving up just one earned run.
Freshman right-hander Austin Conner (Sevierville, Tenn.) picked up his first-career win while Bo Williams took the loss.
C-N begins South Atlantic Conference play Friday afternoon when the Eagles travel to Brevard for the first game of a three-game series in the Tar Heel State. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m. with the Eagle Sports Network providing an audio stream on cneagles.com/live beginning at 1:50 p.m.
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