JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – With rain washing out Tuesday's originally scheduled game against Shorter, Carson-Newman turns its sights towards Wednesday afternoon at 2 p.m. with King coming to town aiming for an eighth win in nine games to begin the year.
"The chemistry is really good," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "The guys care about each other. They're working extremely hard and doing the right things on and off the field. That's something that is more important than anything else. The record is irrelevant making sure we doing what we are supposed to be doing, be our best and treating others the way we want to be treated. We are doing that right now."
Off to its best start since 2014, Carson-Newman is 7-1 and looking to record an 8-1 mark out of the blocks for the first time this millennium. To find the last time the Eagles were 8-1 was during the 1999 campaign when the squad reached the Division II World Series. Coach Gary Rundles led his unit to an 11-1 start and 25-4-1 before they lost two in-a-row for the first time during the championship season.
After starting the home slate 4-0, the Eagles are seeking a 5-0 beginning to play at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex for the first time since 2014. The last 6-0 opening came in 2002 with an 8-1 and 12-2 record to open play at home. The best start since 1990 came during the 1993 season when the eventual World Series qualifier won the first nine.
�� Now Playing: Walk This Way - Aerosmith �� pic.twitter.com/KxW5tSg1G3— Carson-Newman Athletics (@CNathletics) February 11, 2019
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 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 Tornado bounced back by sweeping Virginia-Wise at home winning a pair of one-run games and a two-run affair. The pitching staff took a step forward in the second weekend allowing 10 earned runs compared to 26 in week one. However the defense yielded seven unearned runs and has committed nine errors.
At the plate, the team has launched nine long balls as 28 of the club's 50 knocks have gone for extra bases. Four of the last five outings have featured at least two dongs. They have only attemped five steals, with four being successful.
Trader Flora is off to a strong start with three home runs through six games but he has struck out nine times in the first 18 at-bats of the year. 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 game will air on cneagles.com/live in video and audio formats with the Eagle Sports Network providing the sights and sounds from the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex.
- CN -