JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Riding an 11-game winning streak Carson-Newman welcomes Mars Hill to town for the first home series of South Atlantic Conference play with the first pitch of the series beginning at 2 p.m. on Friday at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex.
The Eagles (14-5, 3-0) have won 11 straight games matching a string of 11 in-a-row from March 17-29, 2010 which was the longest string in since C-N joined Division II in 1994.
The longest winning streak since 1988 for the Eagles is 15 games coming from March 21-April 10, 1993, during the school's second regular season SAC title.
"We have had the chance because of the opportunity of spring break to work on things," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "We've had great practices. We had a great one Monday. Not having a schedule that would include classes now we can focus on getting a little more time, more individual time with certain guys."
Carson-Newman and Mars Hill (15-8, 3-3) have met 73 times prior to this weekend series with the Eagles holding a 52-21 advantage. The 52 wins for C-N are more than any opponent since 1988 with the next closest being 48 against Lenoir-Rhyne.
The Lions have taken two out of three games in each of the last three series between the two clubs with the last time the Eagles won a series coming on March 16-17, 2012 at the SDBC when C-N won two out of three.
In the preseason SAC coaches' poll, the Lions were picked to finish ninth in the league after finishing 10th in 2016 with a 22-20 overall record and a 9-16 conference mark. Mars Hill began the 2016 season on fire going 10-2 to begin the season but the Lions have lost four of their last six games.
"They have speed in the lineup," Griffin said. "They have some pop. They are aggressive. Their pitchers have been throwing well. I mean statistically if you believe in stats, we are identical in everything. They are a very good team, but our concern has to be is the baseball and we are playing against ourselves. It's more mentally how are we going to handle ourselves and our challenges and adversity."
Averaging 5.2 runs per game this season, MHU has scored 121 total runs this season, 10th in the conference despite playing more games than any other team. With 142 strikeouts at the plate, the Lions are the second most prone team to punch outs in the league. As a unit, the team ranks seventh in the nation in stolen bases this season with 47 as a group.
The pitching staff ranks fifth or sixth in seemingly every category in the conference with a team ERA of 4.53 but the Lions have given up 20 dingers this season, the second most in the SAC.
Three players were tabbed on All-SAC teams in the preseason. Outfielder Ray Carolina was a first-team selection while shortstop Evan Rogers and designated hitter Dalton Eisenbath were second-team picks. Carolina and Rogers lead the conference and are 10th in the nation with 12 stolen bases this season.
All three games this weekend will be broadcast on cneagles.com/live with video and audio streams available for free. The Eagle Sports Network will be on the air beginning 10 minutes prior to the first pitch with the pregame show.
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