JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – No. 2 Carson-Newman begins double-elimination action in the 2016 Pilot/Flying J South Atlantic Conference Baseball Championships Friday afternoon at 3:45 p.m. at Smokies Stadium against No. 5 seed Newberry.
"Our training right now is all based on us just ironing out things," Carson-Newman baseball coach Tom Griffin said. "We are letting the bodies heal a little bit. It's a season that is pretty long. We have some guys that have played every day and so this week, we have allowed our bodies to get back under them.
"We will go to the games on Thursday so we will know who we are going to play. It's by far, and I've talked to all of the coaches, there is more parody in this league this year than ever before. So the eight-seed has just as much talent and has an ability to win this thing as first seed and I think all coaches believe that."
Daniel Nations, a honorable mention All-SAC pick and a gold glover, went seven scoreless innings allowing four hits and three walks with eight strikeouts to improve to 8-1 in a 5-0 win over No. 8 seed Lenoir-Rhyne Thursday.
Carson-Newman has won four SAC Championships (1992, 1993, 1997 and 2007) since the Tournament began in 1991. Catawba (6) and Wingate (6) are the only schools with more titles. Four different teams have won the last four trophies.
The Eagles finished second in the league for seventh time and the first time since 2008 while recording a 17-7 record in the championships as the second-seed.
No program in the league has finished second more than Carson-Newman. Only Catawba (16) has finished in the top-two in the league more times than C-N's 13.
Three of the four times that C-N has won a SAC Tournament, the Eagles were the No. 2 seed entering including 1992, 1997 and 2007.
The last No. 2 seed to take home the title was Wingate in 2011, a span of five years ago as the Bulldogs won four consecutive games allowing a total of 10 runs.
Carson-Newman has played at Smokies Stadium six times prior to this weekend during a stretch from 2009-2014 while holding a 2-4 record.
The first game the Eagles played in Kodak was on April 5, 2009 when C-N defeated Brevard 7-5.
The last win came on April 6, 2012 against Lincoln Memorial when the Eagles earned a 9-8 walk-off win as Phillip Duncan drew a bases loaded walk with one out.
Carson-Newman has won 38 of the first 56 meetings between the two schools and hold a 22-14 advantage since Tom Griffin took over in 2006.
The Eagles fell in the opening game of a three-game series between the two sides on April 1, but C-N came back to take a 3-0 and 9-8 victory in the series-concluding doubleheader.
Cade Snapp hit a walk-off single to left field in the first game as the Eagles scored three runs in the last frame to overcome a two-run deficit. Vince Apicella threw his fourth career shutout striking out nine while giving up three hits and three walks.
The two programs have met eight times in the SAC Baseball Championships with the Eagles holding a 5-3 edge.
Newberry won the last postseason meeting between the two sides on April 20, 2013 in Forest City handing the Eagles a 7-3 defeat. Cole Cromer threw seven one-run innings of eight-strikeout baseball for the Wolves.
Carson-Newman's last victory, 6-2, over the Wolves in league conference tournament action came in Hickory, N.C. on April 17, 2008. Brett Hontz threw a complete game striking out nine and walking just one batter.
The game and each contest the Eagles play in after Friday afternoon will be broadcast on cneagles.com/live with pregame coverage beginning 10 minutes prior to the first pitch on the Eagle Sports Network.
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