KODAK, Tenn. – Second-seeded Carson-Newman picked up its first shutout in the South Atlantic Conference Baseball Championships since blanking Wingate 4-0 on April 22, 2007 by shutting out fifth-seeded Newberry 3-0 Friday evening at Smokies Stadium.
It was a string of 22 games for Carson-Newman (30-19) as the Eagles pick up their first 30-win since going 31-18 in 2010. 2007 was also the last time the Eagles took home a SAC Tournament crown.
The Eagles will play Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. against the winner of the No. 3 seed Tusculum and No. 4 seed Lincoln Memorial.
"It starts with the catcher," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "Gooch did a great job. There was good tempo between him and Vinny. I have to give a lot of credit to our pitching coaches Mark Allen Bounds and Daniel Sharp did a tremendous job with our entire staff. We've had to use guys more than we wanted to and they did a tremendous job getting these guys prepared."
Newberry (33-18-1) will play the first game of Saturday afternoon at noon against Wingate as the loser will be eliminated from the SAC Baseball Championships.
Carson-Newman pushed two runs across the plate in the bottom of the second inning to take a 2-0 lead. Freshman right fielder Ian Pung (Knoxville, Tenn.) walked with one out and junior second baseman Eric Lynch (Boonton, N.J.) was hit on the helmet to put two on base. Following a strikeout, redshirt-freshman designated hitter Brendan Campbell (Yardley, Pa.) laced a base hit into right-center field to score Pung and put runners at the corners. Junior center fielder Ryan Addington (Cincinnati, Ohio) pushed a 1-2 offering on the ground into left field to score Lynch.
Newberry put the first two men on base in the top of the seventh inning as Jeff Sneed singled to center field and Danton Hyman singled to left field on a 12-pitch at-bat. C-N starter Vince Apicella (Dillsburg, Pa.) struck out JoJo Bradley as the designated hitter was trying to bunt and bunted the 2-2 pitch foul. Jacob Bass hit into a 6-4 fielder's choice and Apicella induced a chopper back to himself to end the frame and keep Newberry off of the scoreboard.
The Eagles loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh inning and Hunter Hill walked Pung on four pitches with two outs to bring home Addington and extend the lead to 3-0.
The Wolves loaded the bases with no one out in the top of the ninth inning on a single, a double and a walk. Senior right-hander Dustin Batson (Pisgah Forest, N.C.) walked the first man he faced before getting a pop out and a 6-4-3 double play to end the game and earn his first career save.
Apicella improved to 10-2 on the season working eight scoreless frames with six strikeouts and three walks while scattering seven hits.
Campbell picked up his first career three-hit day going 3-for-4 with three singles and an RBI while Addington picked up a pair of hits in five times up and a run scored as the Eagles collected eight hits.
Newberry stranded 11 base runners in the game with Hyman tallying the lone multi-hit evening going 2-for-4.
Saturday's game will be broadcast with video and audio feeds at cneagles.com/live with broadcast coverage beginning 10 minutes prior to the first pitch on the Eagle Sports Network.
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