KODAK, Tenn. – Freshman Jordan Davis had not thrown more than 3 1/3 innings in 2017 but went the distance to earn his first-career win in an elimination game in the South Atlantic Conference Baseball Championships to help seventh-seeded Carson-Newman topple fifth-seeded Tusculum 11-5 Saturday afternoon at Smokies Stadium.
Davis, a native of Maryville, Tenn., yielded five runs, four earned on eight hits and five walks while punching out five batters and tossing 143 pitches.
"I was struggling a little early with my command," Davis assessed. "I only had one pitch and that was a fastball. I remember the talk we had this morning. I had to go out there and trust my catcher and let it ride."
After being bounced out of the league tournament by Tusculum (28-20) in 2016 Carson-Newman (27-23) exacts revenge on its in-state foe winning for the sixth time in 13 tries over the Pioneers in SAC Tournament play.
"We talked this morning and the seniors did a great job talking about what this game meant," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "I am very proud with what they did today to talk about the message we have. It's a great series and competitive. They are good guys and you hate to see the year end like that. I am proud of our guys of our freshman. He started out as a pony and became a horse and today was a Clydesdale."
The Eagles went 8-for-12 in the game with runners in scoring position while the Pioneers went 0-for-6.
The Pioneers lit the scoreboard first as Colby Skeen worked a walk to open the top of the second inning. Daulton Martin followed with his third home run of the year cranking a 1-2 offering onto to the concourse in right field to make it a 2-0 lead for Tusculum.
In the bottom of the third inning, Carson-Newman scored three times to go on top 3-2. Brendan Campbell (Yardley, Pa.) picked up the first hit of the day for his team with a lead-off base hit to right field before advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt. Ryan Addington (Cincinnati, Ohio) laced an RBI single to right field to put the Eagles on the board. Eric Lynch (Boonton, N.J.) slapped a single to right field. Paul Kirby (Goodlettsville, Tenn.) and Greg Jones (Maryville, Tenn.) followed with RBI singles to give the No. 7 seed the lead.
Brett Langhorne (Mechiancsville, Va.) and Trever Lee (Garner, N.C.) started the fourth inning with singles to put men at the corners. Campbell laid down a squeeze bunt to first base to plate Langhorne. Two batters later, Addington lined a single through the right side of the infield to score Lee and make it a 5-2 contest.
Leading off the sixth inning, Martin matched his season output in long balls with his second blast of the day, punishing a 3-1 pitch over the right-field wall to pull the Pioneers within two at 5-3.
The Eagles responded in the bottom of the sixth inning sending 12 men to the dish and scoring six times to go on top 11-3. Campbell laced an RBI single to right field with two on base to score Langhorne to open the scoring. Addington shoveled a two-run single into the gap in left-center field and Lynch followed with a two-run double down the line in right. Kirby closed the scoring with a run-scoring single to right field.
Dante Key and Nick Lacina hit a sacrifice flies in eighth inning and ninth inning respectively to make it an 11-5 advantage for the Eagles.
The top three in the C-N offense went 8-for-15 with eight RBIs and four runs scored as Addington tallied a 3-for-5 day with four RBIs and two runs scored. Lynch notched three hits, two RBIs and two runs scored.
Martin was the offense for the Pioneers going 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored while no other player had multiple hits.
Tusculum starting pitcher Ethan Stewart took his second loss of the year allowing five earned runs on seven hits and walk fanning two in 3 1/3 innings.
The Eagles will play another elimination game Sunday afternoon at 3:45 p.m. against the loser of Lincoln Memorial and Newberry. The web stream and audio broadcast is available on cneagles.com/live as the Eagle Sports Network provides the commentary.
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