JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Ryan Victory produced a career effort and Carson-Newman expanded its lead late to topple Alderson Broaddus 8-2 in the series opener Friday afternoon at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex for its seventh straight win in a home opener.
"Victory really settled down and utilized what the umpire was giving him," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "You have to figure out what the umpire's zone is. How much are they going to give you? I thought Victory and [Ethan] Goforth did a great job establishing what the umpire was giving us and utilizing that. You have to have command to be able to do that and that is something Ryan Victory has."
Carson-Newman (4-1) has not lost a home opener since Feb. 21, 2012 running the string to seven in-a-row. The Eagles are now 22-4 as a Division II program in home openers and 12-2 under Griffin winning the third-ever meeting with Alderson Broaddus (0-1).
On the first pitch of the season to the Alderson Broaddus lineup, Tyler Amedure drove a pitch on the inner half over the fence in left field to put the Battlers ahead 1-0.
The Eagles did not waste time in the bottom of the first. On the first two pitches from Zach Salmon, Ethan Goforth (Blacksburg, Va.) doubled down the left-field line and John Sharpe (Franklin, Tenn.) floated a single to right moving to third on a missed cut-off man. Malik Kyle (Jefferson City, Tenn.) stepped in and shoveled a 1-2 offering into left field to plate the duo and put the Eagles ahead 2-1.
Defensive blunders provided a big chance for the Battlers in the top of the fifth. A misplayed fly ball, a throwing error and hit batter loaded the bases. Amedure hit into a fielder's choice to tie the game. Ryan Victory (Brentwood, Tenn.) picked up a strikeout and Goforth threw out a would-be base stealer to end the threat.
Alderson Broaddus starter Zach Salmon had retired 13 in-a-row before Michael Worth (Chicopee, Mass.) and Micah Genter (Jasper, Tenn.) drew walks with one out in the bottom of the fifth. Following a punch out, John Sharpe (Franklin, Tenn.) punched a base hit into left field to score Wroth and give the Eagles the lead back at 3-2.
"The kid settled down," Griffin said. "I thought he did a nice job as far as his mixing of pitches. He's a senior and pitched a lot for that club. He did a good job. We got a little anxious where we were chasing some things out of the zone. We would like to see a little more discipline but that will come. The key is to stay within the game and later in the game we took advantage of the opportunities that presented themselves."
The Battlers put runners at second and third base with no one out in the top of the seventh. After a grounder to Wroth at third base allowed him to retire the lead runner, the Eagles called upon Matt Bradley (Talbott, Tenn.) from the bullpen for a strikeout and a ground out kept the home team on top.
A one-out single from Genter started a mini-rally from the Eagles in the seventh. Twelve straight balls allowed two walks and a hit batter to bring home Genter. A ground out from Tyler Thompson (Gallatin, Tenn.) made it a 5-2 contest.
With two outs and runners at first and second, Goforth drove a ball that short-hopped the fence in right field. Both men scored as the catcher ended up at third base with a triple. Sharpe followed by pulling a ball inside of the third-base bag to score Goforth and stretch the bulge to 8-2.
Victory set career highs in innings pitched and punch outs going six innings allowing two earned runs on three hits and walk while striking out eight on 99 pitches.
"We always talk about one pitch at a time," Victory said. "Obviously [it wasn't the start] I wanted but that doesn't change the fact that we just go to the next pitch. You have to be able to flush it. It was the worst way to start obviously. I had great defense behind me and I trust Ethan and whatever he throws down."
The top three in the order for the Eagles went 6-for-13 at the plate as each man drove in a pair. Goforth went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored and Sharpe went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run scored.
Bradley was flawless over 2 2/3 innings on the mound with a pair of strikeouts needing just 24 pitches, 18 of which were strikes.
Salmon took the loss despite allowing three earned runs over 5 2/3 innings with four strikeouts yielding four hits and three walks.
The clubs play a doubleheader Saturday afternoon beginning at noon with broadcast coverage airing in audio and video forms on cneagles.com/live courtesy of the Eagle Sports Network.
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