Bulldogs' bats offer challenge for Eagles

Bulldogs' bats offer challenge for Eagles

VIDEO: Tom Griffin Interview

Carson-Newman Baseball Game Notes

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman returns to South Atlantic Conference contests with a three-game series on the road at Wingate beginning at 6 p.m. Friday night at Ron Christopher Stadium looking to get back on track in league play.

"They're very good, a good club," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "It's always been a challenge for Carson-Newman to go over there. They play very well at home. They have some very good guys in that lineup. Brown and Billings are probably two of the best players in our league. They're very solid throughout. I know they have some youth right now playing."

Wingate (16-9, 2-4) has won 12 of the last 13 meetings between the two programs and leads the series 42-35 after knocking out the Eagles from the SAC Baseball Championships on April 23 winning 17-9. Carson-Newman (15-9, 3-3) snapped an 11-game skid to Wingate in the middle game of the 2015 three-game series winning 7-4. In the last 15 games between the two schools, the Bulldogs have scored at least 10 runs five times including in two contests in 2015.

The last series win over the Bulldogs, winners of the last four series, for the Eagles came during the 2011 season when C-N picked up two out of three games at Ron Christopher Stadium picking up victories in the first and third games of 9-2 and 5-3 respectively.

The Bulldogs are the reigning SAC Baseball Tournament champions where they were the No. 5 seed in the Southeast Region making a regional for the first time since the 2011 season and just second appearance since 2001. Wingate picked up six wins in elimination games during the 2015 SAC Baseball Championships finishing the year 33-26 overall.

Wingate was ranked fourth in the preseason coaches' poll and enters the weekend having won seven of its last nine games but dropped two of three in its most recent SAC series at Lincoln Memorial. The Bulldogs are 10-3 at home this season.

The biggest piece missing from a highly potent offense in 2015 is All-American outfielder Thomas Spitz who was a 32nd round selection of the St. Louis Cardinals after leading the country with 80 runs scored last year. Spitz played 66 games with the State College Spikes of the New York-Penn League where he hit .233 in 232 at-bats.

Wingate returns four bats in a 2015 All-American Shane Billings and the 2015 SAC Freshman of the Year Bradley Brown. Billings is first in the conference this season with a .455 batting average, hits with 46 (fifth nationally) and runs scored with 35.

As a team, the Bulldogs are the second most prone team to striking out on the season having record 176 punch outs on the year while drawing the third fewest walks in the league with 85. Wingate leads the league in hits with 262 on the year ranking 10th in the country.

The Bulldogs rank last in the conference in fielding percentage with a .936 team clip while ranking 224th out of 253 teams in Division II.

All three games will be available with an audio stream by visiting cneagles.com/live 10 minutes prior to the first pitch of each as the Eagle Sports Network will provide pregame coverage before the play-by-play action.

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