JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman extended its winning streak to 11 games with an 11-3 victory over Lee Tuesday afternoon at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex.
The 11-game winning streak matches the longest streak over the last six years the Eagles (14-5) reeled off 11 straight victories from March 17-29, 2010 as they have scored at least 10 runs in five of the last six games.
"It's a tough midweek game," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "A lot of veteran players over there so I think that's a good midweek win at home. Offense has been swinging it pretty good. Today [Paul] Kirby was the guy. We put a crooked number up early and took advantage of some things the pitcher gave us which is the key to hitting. Defense played very well. A great team effort. Very proud of our guys and the way they are playing the game with energy and passion."
The Eagles batted around in the bottom of the first inning as the first two batters reached on an error and a walk. A passed ball moved the runners to second and third base and a sacrifice fly to left field by senior third baseman Brandon Roberts (Davie, Fla.) put the Eagles on the board. The next batter, junior first baseman Paul Kirby (Goodlettsville, Tenn.), laced a double to right-center field to score a second run of the contest. Back-to-back bouncing singles up the middle by sophomore designated hitter Cade Snapp (Seymour, Tenn.) and junior catcher Greg Jones (Maryville, Tenn.) capped the four-run frame.
The first two batters walked to begin the Lee (8-11) half of the second inning. A laser beam single to left field by Ben Holland put the Flames on the scoreboard. A ground out to third base by Luke Toms plated Lee's second run of the game to pull the visiting team within two at 4-2.
The Flames pulled within in a run in the top of the fifth inning when Ty Broady led off the frame with a first-pitch home run over the right-field fence.
Carson-Newman immediately responded with two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. After Lee turned a 3-2-3 double play with the bases loaded, sophomore Austin Kearney (Powell, Tenn.) laced a base hit into right field to score a duo and get the lead back to three runs at 6-3.
The home group pushed across five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning. The first man of the inning was retired when junior Trever Lee (Garner, N.C.) doubled to left field. After a single by junior center fielder Ryan Addington (Cincinnati, Ohio), junior shortstop Jimmy Rice (Middlesex, N.J.) singled to left to score Lee. An error loaded the bases for Kirby. The junior launched the first pitch he saw over the left-field fence for the first grand slam hit by an Eagle this season to extend the lead to 11-3.
Kirby finished the day by going 3-for-4 with two doubles, a home runs and five RBIs for his sixth mulit-hit game of the season.
"Coach was looking at me and said 'see it up' and so I did," Kirby said. "I saw the curveball hanging and I put a good swing on it. It plays a big role in the team's confidence when everyone is swinging it well, getting on base and rolling."
The Eagles used six pitchers as junior Hunter Wood (College Grove, Tenn.) picked up his first career win working 1.1 flawless innings.
Holland paced the Lee lineup going 3-for-5 on the day as the Flames racked up nine hits.
Carson-Newman opens the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex to South Atlantic Conference play Friday afternoon at 2 p.m. when Mars Hill makes the jaunt for the first game of a three-game series. Video and audio coverage begins 10 minutes prior to the first pitch on cneagles.com/live.
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