Lions land one-run conquests in Saturday doubleheader

VIDEO: Tom Griffin Interview

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Mars Hill completed a three-game sweep with 3-2 and 9-8 victories in seven-inning outings Saturday afternoon against Carson-Newman in South Atlantic Conference play at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex.

"Their hitters were outstanding this weekend," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "They were tough to get out top-to-bottom. It just felt like we couldn't make a pitch and I think we left a lot of pitches out over the plate which doesn't help our case. I don't know if our location was as good as it needed to be. That being said you still have to hit it."

The Lions (18-8, 6-3) have earned at least two wins in a three-game series against the Eagles (14-8, 3-3) for the fourth straight season. Mars Hill picked up its first three-game series sweep against Carson-Newman for the first time since at least the 1990 season.

Game One – Mars Hill 3, Carson-Newman 2

Carson-Newman starting pitcher Ryan Eberle (Cookeville, Tenn.) struck out the side in the first but faced eight batters, walking three and giving up two doubles to give up two runs. Evan Rogers lined a double down the left-field line and a bases loaded walk to Phillip Carroll gave the Lions a 2-0 lead before the Eagles came to the plate.

Junior center fielder Ryan Addington (Cincinnati, Ohio) lined a triple to the gap in left-center field to start the bottom of the first inning. A sacrifice fly to right field by senior third baseman Brandon Roberts (Davie, Fla.) scored Addington to cut the lead in half.

Carolina started the sixth inning with a bouncing base hit into center field. After a fly out to center field, Rogers ripped a double just over Addington's head in center as Carolina motored around the bases to beat the relay throw and push the edge to 3-1.

Roberts started the bottom of the sixth with a chopping double down the left-field line and moved to third on a fly out to center field. With two outs, sophomore Cade Snapp (Seymour, Tenn.) lined a ball that short-hopped the left fielder and score Roberts to close the deficit to one run.

Addington was the lone Eagle with multiple hits on the day going 2-for-4 with one run scored.

Eberle (3-2) picked up the loss going five innings giving up two earned runs on five hits and a career-high six walks while matching a career-high with five strikeouts.

Mars Hill starting pitcher Hunter Boydston (4-1) works a complete game against Carson-Newman for the second straight season giving up two earned runs on seven hits, one walk and striking out four on the day.

The Lions stranded 13 runners on base as catcher Matt Honeycutt went 3-for-4 and the duo of Carolina and Rogers each racked up two hits.

Game Two – Mars Hill 9, Carson-Newman 8

11 men came to the plate in the top of the first inning with three consecutive doubles scoring two runs. Brett Brubaker launched an opposite field home run to left field for a two-run blast. Logan Conley singled, stole two bases and scored on a throwing error to cap a five-run opening frame.

C-N countered with two runs in the bottom of the first. After the first two batters were hit by a pitch, Roberts bounced a single into right field to score a run with a ground out from junior first baseman Paul Kirby (Goodlettsville, Tenn.) pulling the home group with three runs at 5-2.

Rogers started the second inning with a home run over the right-center field fence on a 1-1 offering. With the bases loaded, Hunter Merrill flew out to a diving right fielder Ian Pung (Knoxville, Tenn.) to add a run and re-gain a five-run lead.

Redshirt-freshman Brendan Campbell (Yardley, Pa.) led off the bottom of the second inning with his first career home run in 51 at-bats on a 2-2 smacking it over the left-field wall to close the deficit to 7-3.

Dylan Powers singled to left field to start the fourth frame and scored after a ground out on a two-run home run by Logan Conley, a shot over the right-field fence to extend the advantage to 9-3.

In the bottom of the fifth stanza, the Eagles struck for five runs. A sacrifice fly by Pung started the scoring. With one man on base, Campbell cranked his second long ball of the game over the left-field fence. With runners at second and third base, junior shortstop Jimmy Rice (Middlesex, N.J.) bounced a ball back up the middle and into center field to score a pair and make it a one-run contest.

Carson-Newman loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning but back-to-back pop outs to first base closed out the contest.

Five players racked up multi-hit days for the home team with Campbell leading the way with a 2-for-4 day with two roundtrippers and three RBIs.

Both teams went to the bullpen before the end of the second inning as junior right-hander Robert Plohr (O'Fallon, Mo.) lasted just one inning to earn his first career decision, a loss, giving up five earned runs on six hits and two walks.

Alec Bivins (2-2) worked three innings before Kaleb McCurry earned his first save of the year going 2.1 scoreless innings of work.

The Eagles wrap up their six-game homestand Tuesday afternoon when Belmont Abbey comes to the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex for a doubleheader beginning at noon. Audio and video streams will be available for the games on 10 minutes prior to first pitch courtesy of the Eagle Sports Network.

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