Pitching powers Eagles to twin-bill sweep of Cavaliers

VIDEO: Highlights

VIDEO: Tom Griffin Interview

VIDEO: Dillon Cate Interview

VIDEO: Dalton Long Interview

VIDEO: Will Gardner Interview

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman pitching struck out 30 batters over two games beating Virginia-Wise 11-3 in the first outing and 5-3 in the night cap Friday afternoon at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex to push the winning streak to four games.

"We have some good arms," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin stated. "Dillon Cate and Dalton Long are experienced guys. They have had a lot of success in their careers, not only high school but in college. I think [pitching coach Mark Allen Bounds] has done an outstanding job developing these guys and getting to the point where they are having the effectiveness that they are having right now."

Carson-Newman (4-2) wins a home opener for the sixth straight season and is now 21-4 in home openers in the school's Division II era, since 1994.

The Eagles are now 7-1 all-time against Virginia-Wise (1-4) winning for a fifth straight meeting and yielding just nine base knocks on the day.

Game One: CARSON-NEWMAN 11, Virginia-Wise 3

After a ground out started the bottom of the first inning, the Eagles strung together three straight doubles to produce a pair of runs. As John Sharpe (Franklin, Tenn.) struck out, C-N pulled off a double steal. Colby Morgan (Hixson, Tenn.) got caught in a rundown between first and second base to allow Ethan Goforth (Blacksburg, Va.) to steal home and make it a 3-0 contest.

Virginia-Wise pulled within a run with two outs in the top of the third inning. Dillon Cate (Sevierville, Tenn.) issued a four-pitch walk to Jordan Turner. Brett Yates doubled to right-center field to plate the first run of the game for the visitors. Stuart Paz hit a ball in the hole at third base that Brett Langhorne (Mechiancsville, Va.) threw errantly allowing Yates to score to pull the Cavaliers within a run at 3-2.

With one out in the bottom of the fifth, Goforth drew a walk and moved to second base on a base hit to right field by Morgan. Sharpe lined an RBI double into the right field alley to score Goforth. Tyler Thompson (Gallatin, Tenn.) plated Morgan with a sacrifice fly to right field pushing the margin to 5-2.

With two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning, R.J. Vanvickle handled a bouncer back to the mound and pulled his first baseman off of the bag allowing two Eagles to cross the plate. Goforth stole home for the second time as Wise catcher Blaum threw down to first base trying to pick off Morgan as the bulge expanded to 8-2.

A throwing error by Wise shortstop Zak Blaeser saw Goforth race home alertly from second base in the bottom of the seventh. Cade Snapp (Seymour, Tenn.) won a six-pitch at-bat by slapping a two-run single into right field making it an 11-2 contest.

The Cavaliers scored a run in the top of the ninth without a hit before stranding the bases loaded to close out the contest.

Cate retired 11 in-a-row from the end of the third inning to the first batter of the seventh to earn his first victory in a C-N uniform. The right-hander struck out 11 while allowing two earned runs on four hits and two walks. He threw 71 strikes on 101 pitches.

"I struggled a little bit the first few innings getting a feel for my fastball and my slider," Cate said. "As the game went on I kept trusting Ethan Goforth to call the right pitches. I finally got a feel for it as the game went on and it felt good about the third or fourth inning."

Langhorne went 3-for-5 with a pair of runs scored while Snapp drove in three on two hits. Goforth reached base four times with three runs scored and three walks. Morgan reached base safely four times with a run scored.

Matthew Branham tallied two of the four hits in the game for the Cavaliers as Eagle pitching racked up 14 punch outs in the game.

Game Two: CARSON-NEWMAN 5, Virginia-Wise 3

A throwing error on a ground ball to second baseman Matt Bradley (Talbott, Tenn.) opened the top of the third inning. Following a walk, Dalton Long (Powell, Tenn.) notched a pair of strikeouts. Josh Haga stepped in with two outs and hit a slow roller towards shortstop. Langhorne stepped in front of Sharpe as neither player came up with the ball and it rolled towards the outfield. Yates came motoring around third to score and put the Cavs ahead 1-0.

Carson-Newman struck for three in the bottom of the fourth inning. Back-to-back base hits from Snapp and Goforth opened the stanza. Morgan ripped a ball over a leaping first baseman and into the corner to score the duo. A ground out to second base by Sharpe scored Morgan pushing the lead to 3-1.

A fielding error at short starting the top of the fifth inning. Following a punch out, David Thomas cranked a 0-1 offering just over the fence in right field for a home run to tie the score at three.

With one out, Langhorne laced a base hit back up the middle and stole second base two pitches later. On a 3-2 pitch, Charlie Brown (Sevierville, Tenn.) lined a base hit through the right side of the infield to plate Langhorne. The Eagles loaded the bases with one out as Morgan scored Brown with a ground out to second to stretch the lead to 5-3.

Long lasted 4 2/3 innings allowing three earned runs on five hits and three walks while striking out 11 marking the second straight outing with at least 10 punch outs.

"I am locating the fastball really well right now," Long stated. "Coach Bounds has been working with me on that. As a pitcher you are wanting to keep them off balance in the box with your timing and varying speeds. Me and Goforth work really well together. It worked really well today."

Will Gardner (Morristown, Tenn.) worked the final two stanzas to earn his second save of the year striking out the final five men he faced.

"I knew we had fantastic pitching from Dalton Long and when Greg Valentine got it to me for the sixth," Gardner said. "When I got in there I just trusted what Ethan Goforth was going to put down. I was acting as more of a facilitator than I was pitching trusting the defense behind me."

Morgan drove in three men while Goforth had a pair of knocks to pace the C-N offense on the day. Wise was limited to five total hits.

The Eagles are slated to go on the road on Tuesday and pay the Shorter Hawks a visit for a 2 p.m. first pitch from Rome, Ga. in the team's final road outing before South Atlantic Conference play commences.

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