JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Riding one of the longest winning streaks in the country, second-ranked Belmont Abbey journeys to Carson-Newman's campus for a 3 p.m. first pitch on Tuesday afternoon against the Eagles.
"It will be good to play at home," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "It's a good club. Chris Anderson does a fantastic job and they are going to be really good. We are playing against the game not the team. If we can be clean. Obviously we have shown what we are capable of doing so it's just a consistency thing. If the energy and the passion is there that's all we can ask for."
The last time Carson-Newman (19-15) beat a top-five team came on Feb. 8, 2013 when the Eagles blanked fifth-ranked USC Aiken on the road in the first game of a three-game series. Chris Armstrong threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings allowing three hits before Ryan Fillers closed out the effort. Current assistant coach Brandon Roberts started at third base and went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.
Belmont Abbey (28-5) will match the highest ranked team to play at Mossy Creek since 1990 as second-ranked Tennessee Wesleyan beat the Eagles on March 4, 2003 by a score of 10-6. The Eagles are 0-3 against teams ranked second losing to Wesleyan on April 2, 2003 and in the College World Series to Kennesaw State on May 23, 1999 by 11 at 16-5.
The only time that the school has defeated a top two team in the nation came on May 14, 1999 in the NCAA South Regional when the Eagles beat No. 1 Florida Southern 4-3 in 11 innings. That Mocs team featured second baseman and pitcher BJ Leach who was named the ABCA National Pitcher and National Player of the Year.
Tuesday marks the fifth time in the last six meetings that the clubs tangle with the Crusaders ranked. The Eagles won 7-3 on March 15, 2016 but have lost the last three such outings. The Eagles hold the all-time edge in the series 22-15 with a 10-4 record on their home field.
When the two teams tangled on March 14, C-N scored the first three runs of the game and lead 5-4 going into the bottom of the third. The Crusaders turned around and 11 times in their next four at-bats to win 15-9.
Four C-N hitters recorded at two knocks on the day as Colby Morgan (Hixson, Tenn.) drove in three and scored twice to pace the offense. Overall nine batters had at least one poke on the day.
Josh Genthe led the charge for Belmont Abbey by going 4-for-4 with five RBIs and a run scored while doubling three times. Six of the eight Crusaders that registered a hit had two or more.
Belmont Abbey has won 10 straight games and has not played in six days since beating Winston-Salem State last Wednesday 11-3. It is the third-longest active streak going in Division II as Illinois-Springfield has won 15 in-a-row and North Greenville has rattled off 11 straight.
Coach Chris Anderson's team has won eight straight road games and is 18-2 in true road affairs in 2018. It is by far the most road wins of any team in America as Montana State-Billings holds 14 victories. The last road loss for the Crusaders came on March 9 in the first game of a three-game set with sixth-ranked Mount Olive, 5-3.
Offensively few teams in the country can compare to what the team has produced on the year. Belmont Abbey is first in the nation in doubles (99), second in hits (387), third in walks (178), fourth in scoring (9.5) and slugging percentage (.554), fifth in batting average (.332) and sixth in home runs (47). In 18 of the team's 33 games, the Crusaders have produced double-digit runs including seven of the last 10.
Colin Rosenbaum leads the team in hits (52) to rank second in Division II while compiling a .406 batting average and a .513 on-base clip. The senior is 8-for-11 with three RBIs and five runs scored in his last three games against the Eagles.
Luke Cureton leads the nation in doubles with 21 and runs scored with 46 on the season. He is ninth in runs batted in with 40 while blasting eight home runs. He is 4-for-9 in the last three games against C-N with four runs and four RBIs.
The Eagle Sports Network will air the games with video and audio options on cneagles.com/live starting at 2:50 p.m.
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