JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman clinched its first series victory at home this season by splitting a doubleheader against Coker falling in game one 4-3 and earning a 6-1 win in the second game Saturday afternoon at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex.
"It was unbelievably big," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said of getting the second game of the day. "Gooch Greer in that game when he got out there, he was 'bam let's go'. There was a sense of urgency which is okay. Sometimes in coaching it's a fine line between being relaxed and realizing our backs are against the wall a little bit and you have to tune in a little bit more. Every pitch becomes a little more crucial."
The Eagles (18-13, 6-6) lead the all-time series with the Cobras (19-13, 6-6) 5-4 having won the series in each of the last two years.
Game One – Coker 4, Carson-Newman 3
Coker pierced the scoreboard first in the top of the second inning taking a 2-0 edge. A.J. Strnad was hit by a pitch and moved to third base after a walk and a passed ball. Will Winslow laced a 1-0 offering into right field for a base hit to drive in Strnad. Thomas Lopez followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to bring home Bryson Conner.
Senior third baseman Brandon Roberts (Davie, Fla.) walked with one out and stole second base in the bottom of the fourth inning. After a fly out to center field, sophomore designated hitter Cade Snapp (Seymour, Tenn.) laced a double down the left-field line to score Roberts and pull the Eagles within a run.
The Eagles tied the score in the bottom of the fifth frame. Redshirt-freshman left fielder Brendan Campbell (Yardley, Pa.) doubled off of the right-center field wall to begin the inning. Following a sacrifice bunt and a strikeout, junior shortstop Jimmy Rice (Middlesex, N.J.) floated a two-base hit down the right-field line to score Campbell to equalize it at two.
The bases were loaded with two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Junior center fielder Ryan Addington (Cincinnati, Ohio) hit a chopper back up the middle that the Coker second baseman could not get Addington in time to give C-N its first lead of the day at 3-2.
The Cobras had runners at the corners with one out in the top of the seventh. Freshman right-hander Greg Valentine (Knoxville, Tenn.) induced a ground ball right back to the pitcher who twirled and threw to second base for one out but the relay throw was offline and allowed a runner to score to knot things up at three.
With one out in the top of the ninth inning Colton Henthrone hit his first career home run off of the scoreboard in right field to give Coker the advantage of 4-3.
Carson-Newman stranded 11 men on base in the game including the bases loaded in the sixth inning. Snapp finished the day by going 3-for-5 with a run batted in and a run scored while Campbell went 2-for-3 with a run scored.
Junior Robert Plohr (O'Fallon, Mo.) fell to 0-2 on the year by giving up the home run to Henthorne with four strikeouts out of the bullpen.
Anthony Sccaccia (4-2) worked three scoreless innings giving up just two hits while Will Sutton (1) picked up the save in the ninth.
Game Two – Carson-Newman 6, Coker 1
Addington drew on six pitches to start the bottom of the first inning and stole second base. Following a fly out to right field senior third baseman Brandon Roberts (Davie, Fla.) rolled a single into right field to score Addington and make it a 1-0 contest.
On a 3-1 pitch to start the bottom of the third inning, Addington crushed his third home run of the season over the wall in right field to extend the lead to 2-0.
Back-to-back doubles by Snapp and junior second baseman Eric Lynch (Boonton, N.J.) scored a run for the Eagles in the bottom of the fourth frame. A groundout moved Lynch to third base and a perfectly executed squeeze bunt by senior catcher Gooch Greer (Dickson, Tenn.) scored Lynch to push the lead to 4-0.
Lynch was hit by a pitch and Campbell walked with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning. Greer singled to center field to score Lynch and a fielding error by Strnad scored Campbell from first base to pad the advantage to 6-0.
Henthorne doubled with one out in the top of the seventh to score Clint Allen and get the Cobras on the scoreboard.
Junior righty Ryan Eberle (Cookeville, Tenn.) tossed a complete game for the second time this season tossing seven innings giving up one earned run on five hits and four walks with a career-high eight strikeouts to improve to 5-2.
Carson-Newman hosts Limestone Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m. at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex. Audio and video streams are available at cneagles.com/live with pregame coverage beginning at 2:50 p.m. on the Eagle Sports Network.
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