JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Dillon Cate did not allow a hit over 7 1/3 innings as Carson-Newman allowed one hit in the ninth inning to Northwood in the final game of the doubleheader to earn a 5-0 win over the Timberwolves Sunday afternoon at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex.
"It was an unbelievable performance," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "That's a very club offensively, defensively and on the mound. It's a solid team. His performance with that many strikeouts and no hits it doesn't get better than that. He kept them off balance. His slider was very effective. He located well enough."
Northwood (1-1) won the first game 5-4 despite seeing the Eagles put the winning run on base in the bottom of the seventh.
Cate was masterful with a career-high 15 strikeouts on the day while throwing 142 pitches, 83 for strikes and only allowing six balls to be put in play on the day. The Sevierville, Tenn. native allowed six walks and hit a batter in his effort.
"I felt really comfortable," Cate assessed. "Other than the first inning I settled in and felt really comfortable with my slider. I started pitching backwards throwing my sliders in fastball counts, fastballs in slider counts. They really couldn't get comfortable in the box. Ethan Goforth did a really good job staying on the same page as me."
According to the record keeping, the Eagles set the high water mark during the Division II era, 1994-present, for team strikeouts in a game and Cate resets the high mark for individual punch outs. Previously Dustin Batson against Catawba on April 15, 2016 in 11 innings and Quinton Yocom against Tusculum on Feb. 18, 2015 in 9 1/3 innings had the mark of 14.
GAME ONE: NORTHWOOD 5, Carson-Newman 4 – 7 innings
The first game snapped a five-game winning streak on the year for the Eagles and a nine-game home winning streak.
With one out in the top of the second, Nick Palmer worked the count full after falling behind 0-2 before launching a ball into the wind that carried over the right-field fence down the line. Two batters later, Travis Janes ripped the first pitch to right field that tipped off of the glove of a leaping Micah Genter (Jasper, Tenn.) and over the fence for a homer to push the margin to 2-0.
In the top of the third, Ryan Mclelland launched an 0-1 offering with one out well over the scoreboard in right field for a solo blast. Following a David Vinsky double to left-center, Javier Martinez singled threw the right side of the infield to score Vinsky and expand the edge to 4-0.
After two ground outs started the bottom of the fourth, the Eagles ignited a rally. A single to center field by John Sharpe (Franklin, Tenn.) and a double to left-center by Brendan Campbell (Yardley, Pa.) put runners at second and third base for Cal Smith (Keller, Texas). The junior bounced a ball down the third-base line out of the reach of Karam and into the corner to plate the duo and cut the deficit in half at 4-2.
Vinsky hit a solo home run to right field in the top of the fifth and Brett Langhorne (Mechiancsville, Va.) rifled his third roundtripper of the year as the team's traded dingers to make it a 5-3 game.
In the bottom of the seventh, Northwood miscues allowed C-N to start a rally. A hit batsman and a dropped fly ball in left field put the tying run on base. After a sacrifice bunt, Cade Snapp (Seymour, Tenn.) struck out but the ball went to the backstop to allow a man to score and put runners at the corners with one out. Ethan Goforth (Blacksburg, Va.) stuck out and Colby Morgan (Hixson, Tenn.) grounded to short to end the game.
"We are sitting there in the bottom of the seventh with an opportunity to win the game with your 3-4-5 hitters," Griffin stated. "Perfect for us. Their guy does an outstanding job to get out of that."
Dalton Long (Powell, Tenn.) took the loss for C-N allowing five earned runs on six hits and two walks over 5 1/3 innings on the rubber while striking out five.
Ian Dimitrie (1-0) earned the victory while tossing a complete game for the Timberwolves allowing third earned runs on seven hits and a base on balls while recording five K's.
Langhorne and Campbell eached notched a pair of knocks for the Eagles while Vinsky led the Timberwolves by going 3-for-4 with two runs scored.
GAME TWO: CARSON-NEWMAN 5, Northwood 0
The Eagles scored first in the bottom of the second courtesy of a pair of two out hits. Sharpe ripped a double inside the first-base bag for two-base hit. Campbell followed by lining a single into right to plate Sharpe and put C-N on top 1-0.
C-N added a run in the bottom of the fifth frame to make it a 2-0 contest. Campbell laid down a bunt single up along third base. On an errant pick-off throw, Campbell motored to third base. After a walk and a sacrifice bunt there were runners at second and third for Langhorne. The senior grounded a ball to second base to score Campbell and stretch the margin to 2-0.
After plunking a man to lead off the third, Cate retired the next 11 before walking Vinsky with two outs in the sixth inning. With one out in the eighth, the right-hander issued a walk to Ryan Mclelland on his final pitch of the day. Will Gardner (Morristown, Tenn.) came in and induced a fly out to right and struck out Javier Martinez looking.
In the bottom of the eighth inning, C-N added to its lead with three runs. A double steal saw Langhorne steal home. RBI singles from Morgan and Campbell scored a run to make it 5-0 entering the ninth.
In the top of the ninth, the Timberwolves loaded the bags with two outs but Gardner eventually K'ed Colin Mclelland to punch out the side for the team's 19th strikeout of the afternoon. Overall, Northwood left 10 men on base in the game.
Gardner earned his fourth save of the year going the final 1 2/3 innings with four punch outs, one walk and one hit.
Campbell went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored while Morgan chipped in a two-hit effort for the Eagles offensively.
The series wraps up Monday at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex starting at 2 p.m. Broadcast coverage starts at 1:45 p.m. on The Eagle Sports Network with audio and video streams available on cneagles.com/live.
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