JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – A three-game series against 14th-ranked Northwood is next on the docket for Carson-Newman as the Eagles ride a nine-game home winning streak entering the weekend series.
The two schools play a doubleheader on Sunday starting at noon before concluding the series on Monday with a 2 p.m. first pitch at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex.
"Northwood is an outstanding ball club with everything they have returning," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "It will be their first game. They will be juiced and ready to play and get out of the gym. We saw them last year and that was a great club.
"The key for us is to get better each day – learn about ourselves. I think they job that [assistant coaches] Mark [Allen Bounds], Brandon Roberts and Matt Lambert have done has been outstanding in helping these guys become better."
Carson-Newman and Northwood have squared off seven times over the last two seasons with the Eagles holding a 5-2 overall edge winning three of four in 2016 and two of three in 2017. The Eagles have won nine straight home games since a 4-3 loss to Lenoir-Rhyne on April 1.
The last time the Eagles hosted a non-conference ranked team came on March 15, 2016 splitting a doubleheader against 10th-ranked Belmont Abbey. C-N has lost its last two three-game series against nationally-ranked foes dating back to three-game sweep of 19th-ranked Tusculum on Feb. 15-17, 2013. For the last series victory over a ranked non-conference club, you have to go back to Feb. 14-15, 2009 when the Eagles swept 22nd-ranked Northern Kentucky.
Overall, C-N is 12-4 against teams from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference having played Ashland, Grand Valley State, Northwood and Tiffin.
The Eagles will be the first game of 2018 for the Timberwolves over a challenging first week that features nine games over the week against C-N, Mars Hill, North Greenville, Lewis and Trevecca Nazerene. Northwood's first 24 games of the year are away from home with 11 slated in Kissimmee, Fla. before hosting Purdue Northwest on March 29.
In 2018, it was a banner year for coach Jordan Bischel's team with the first GLIAC regular season and tournament crowns. The skipper was the Midwest Region's Coach of the Year after besting the program mark for wins by 16 games. The regular season title was captured with a four-game lead and the Timberwolves won all four outings it played in the GLIAC Tournament with a 16-0 and 8-4 triumph over Tiffin to hoist the trophy.
Northwood made its first appearance in the NCAA Championships in program history earning the top seed and winning its first three games over Kentucky Wesleyan, Drury and Quincy. However with the region title on the line, Quincy edged the Timberwolves 4-3 and 2-0 on May 22 to steal the championship and halt the upstart year.
Four players earned preseason all-region selections from the NCBWA as senior pitcher Tyler Jandron and sophomore outfielder David Vinsky were tabbed to the top club while senior first baseman Ryan McClelland and senior pitcher Ian Dimitrie picked up a spot on the second roster.
Vinsky and Jandron were All-Americans a year ago. Vinsky set single-season schools records in hits, extra base hits, doubles, total bases, and runs batted in posting a .449 batting average with a team-high 60 RBIs. All four of his home runs came on the road in the month of April. Against C-N he went 9-for-13 at the dish with three doubles and five RBIs. He was held hitless just six times in 59 games and had a 19-game hitting streak in April through May.
Jandron was the GLIAC and Midwest Region Pitcher of the Year after going 12-1 with a 2.37 ERA and 102 strikeouts in 91 innings pitched. He was a finalist for the Brett Tomko Division II Pitcher of the Year after winning the pitching triple crown in the GLIAC. He worked six innings on Feb. 18, 2017 against C-N earning a victory with six K's and two runs allowed on five hits and two walks.
All three games over the weekend will be featured on cneagles.com/live starting 15 minutes prior to first pitch on the Eagle Sports Network with "The AEC Countdown to First Pitch".
- CN -