JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – For the first time in 2019 Carson-Newman opens the doors to the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex to begin a five-game homestand Wednesday afternoon for a 2:00 p.m. first pitch against King.
Since Carson-Newman (3-1) joined Division II in 1994, the Eagles are 21-4 in home openers including 11-2 under Griffin since he took over in 2006. The Eagles have won six straight home openers with their last loss in a lidlifter at home coming on Feb. 21, 2012 when King (0-3) took home a 10-7 victory.
That stretch has provided some interesting lines as each of the last two years the Eagles have opened with 11-3 and 18 triumphs over Virginia-Wise. The four prior wins were tighter with three straight one-run efforts and a 5-3 win over seventh-ranked Lander on Feb. 12 2013.
Griffin has led his group to a 70-34 record at home since the beginning of the 2015 campaign. In that span the group is posting just shy of eight runs per game scoring 792 over those 104 contests. The pitching staff's earned run average has been between one and two runs better in each of those years with the exception of 2018 when it was a half of a run higher.
When the first pitch flies on Wednesday, the teams will begin their 28th all-time meeting as Carson-Newman holds an 18-9 lead. King won both contests last year snapping a five-game losing streak to the Eagles. The Tornado have never won three in-a-row in the series winning back-to-back on one other occasion, 1990-91.
In both meetings last season, C-N fell behind to the tune of 8-1 before scoring four in the ninth in the first game and 11-4 before the stretch at Mossy Creek. The Eagles mustered just four hits in Bristol before five pitchers yielded at least one run in the home affair.
In 2018, King finished the season 29-19 overall beating Mount Olive 14-1 and 20th-ranked Belmont Abbey 16-14 in the Conference Carolinas Championships before losing to second-ranked North Greenville and Mount Olive to end the year.
Coaches in the league picked the Tornado to finished sixth, one behind the team the Eagles just took three of four from, Limestone, after finishing fifth in the regular season and third in the postseason.
After catching fire in South Atlantic Conference Championships last year, Anderson carried the momentum to 2019 sweeping King at home to open the year. The bats were solid racking up 13 extra-base hits and scoring 21 runs. On the mound, King allowed runs in the final few frames in each contest walking 16 batters over three games.
Trader Flora led the lumber hitting .400 over the opening weekend belting two home runs and driving in five runs. Last year against the Eagles, he went 2-for-6 with a homer, three RBIs and two runs scored.
Returning seven starters from last season, the Tornado led their conference with 20 triples, five shutouts and a .254 opponent's batting average.
The Eagle Sports Network will have the audio stream available on cneagles.com/live starting at 2:15 p.m. with "The AEC Countdown to First Pitch".
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