KODAK, Tenn. – Cade Snapp hit a three-run home run in the first inning and a two-run blast in the seventh as No. 2 seed Carson-Newman defeated No. 3 seed Tusculum 10-2 Sunday morning at Smokies Stadium in the South Atlantic Conference Baseball Championships.
The Eagles (31-19) will face top-seeded Catawba with an approximate start time of 2:15 p.m. Sunday afternoon at Smokies Stadium.
Carson-Newman defeats Tusculum (33-16) for the fourth time this season. The last time the Eagles beat a conference foe four times in one year was the Pioneers in 2013.
Snapp launched a pair of home runs against Mars Hill on March 11 marking the second time this season the outfielder has gone yard twice in a game.
Junior center fielder Ryan Addington (Cincinnati, Ohio) stung a 2-1 pitch into center field to start the ball game. After a sacrifice bunt, senior third baseman Brandon Roberts (Davie, Fla.) was hit on the left hip by a 0-2 pitch. Sophomore left fielder Cade Snapp (Seymour, Tenn.) was in a 0-2 hole when he drove a fastball just over the left field wall for a three-run home run, his 15th of the year, to put the Eagles ahead 3-0 before the Pioneers stepped to the plate.
Junior second baseman Eric Lynch (Boonton, N.J.) was hit by the second pitch of the top of the fifth inning and moved to second base on a sacrifice bunt. Junior shortstop Jimmy Rice (Middlesex, N.J.) lined a single into center field to score Lynch as the relay throw to the plate hopped to the backstop to put Rice at second base. Roberts stepped in and on a 2-2 pitch laced a single over a leaping shortstop and into left-center field to score Rice and extend the lead to 5-0.
Junior first baseman Paul Kirby (Goodlettsville, Tenn.) drew a walk to start the sixth inning and moved to second base on a wild pitch and third base on a ground out to second. Sophomore designated hitter Austin Kearney (Powell, Tenn.) hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Kirby and push the lead to 6-0.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Nick Lacina walked and Zack Finchum singled to center field. John Topoleski hit a blooper to right field that was ruled as a trap by right fielder Ian Pung (Knoxville, Tenn.) on a lunging attempt to snap a 14.2 scoreless innings streak for C-N pitching and pull the Pioneers within five runs.
With a runner on and two outs in the top of the seventh inning, Snapp unleashed on a 1-1 offering cranking the pitch over the left-field fence to make it an 8-1 C-N lead.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, J.J. Wesley singled to right field to score a run and make it 10-2 before the final two batters struck out swinging.
Right-hander Dustin Batson (Pisgah Forest, N.C.) tossed his fourth complete game of the season striking out 11, the third double-digit punch out game of the season for the senior while scattering 11 hits and two walks while allowing two earned runs.
Addington, Roberts and Snapp each had two hits as Snapp drove in five runs and Roberts drove in a trio of runs.
Finchum went 3-for-4 while Wesley went 2-for-2 with an RBI as the Pioneers outhit the Eagles 11-10 but stranded 11 runners on base during the game.
The game versus Catawba will broadcast with video and audio streams on cneagles.com/live with broadcast coverage beginning 10 minutes prior to the first pitch.
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