Goforth carries Eagles to 11-8 opening win over Timberwolves

VIDEO: Game Highlights

VIDEO: Tom Griffin Interview

VIDEO: Ethan Goforth Interview

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Ethan Goforth launched two home runs and scored four times as a three-run seventh snapped an 8-8 tie to lead Carson-Newman to an 11-8 series-opening victory over Northwood Friday afternoon at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex.

"This is their first series," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "Fortunately, we have played nine games. That is a huge advantage. That is a really good club. Offensively, you have pressure one through nine in that lineup. [David] Vinsky is one of the best hitters I've seen – he's outstanding. He's hard to pitch to. He's actually fun to watch on this side. The miscues certainly helped and taking advantage of that. I don't think we played as clean as we needed to. We had a couple miscues and misplays with communication. The key is when you have mistakes and can still win ball games that's a good thing."

It is the seventh straight win for the Eagles marking the first time since March 21-31, 2017 that the program has a string of that length. The last time Carson-Newman (9-1) won more than that was an 11-game string from Feb. 20 through March 8 that started against the Timberwolves.

Goforth went 3-for-5 with two RBIs and four runs scored from the top of the lineup. He is five for his last nine at the plate over the last two games with six runs scored.

"I knew after the first AB that I got a fastball and hit it pretty well," Goforth said. "I knew that that he was going to change. He definitely got me on the third at-bat, the strikeout. It was a good pitch sequence by him. I made some small adjustments and took it one pitch at a time."

Northwood (0-1) hit four home runs on the day as the Eagles had allowed 10 through the first nine games of the season entering Friday's festivities.

The first two men reached for the Eagles in the bottom of the first but a fly out to right field and a strikeout saw them standing at first and second with two outs. A balk and a wild pitch brought home Ethan Goforth (Blacksburg, Va.). Kilian Daughtry (Simpsonville, S.C.) ripped a single through the middle of the infield to make it a 2-0 contest after a frame.

A double and a bunt single opened the top of the second inning for Northwood. Miles Hardy drove a sacrifice fly to right field to cut the deficit to 2-1. The Timberwolves put men at second and third with one out before Ryan Victory (Brentwood, Tenn.) notched a strikeout and a fly out to center to end the threat.

There were two outs and no one on base when Goforth stepped to the plate in the bottom of the third. The junior was ahead in the count at 3-1 when Jake Gross left a fastball over the plate that Goforth crushed over the wall in left-center field to get the two-run lead back at 3-1.

Jordan Griffin (Ellersie, Ga.) lined a ball down the third-base line on the first pitch of the bottom of the third inning for a double. A ground out to second base moved him to third base. Following a strikeout, Mike Wroth (Chicopee, Mass.) rolled a hard-hit grounder to the left of the shortstop and into left-center field to score Griffin and stretch the lead to 4-1.

Victory retired the first two batters of the fourth on two pitches before Cole Brooks ripped a double down the left-field line. Keaton Sackett crushed a 2-1 pitch over the wall in left field and David Vinsky followed with a solo blast to center field on a 1-0 delivery to tie the tally at four.

Defensive mistakes by Northwood in the bottom of the fourth allowed the Eagles to regain the lead with two runs. With men at first and second and one out, Tyler Thompson (Gallatin, Tenn.) hit a grounder to the second baseman position directly behind the second base bag. Kyle Ziegler booted it as Micah Genter (Jasper, Tenn.) hustled home from second. Griffin hit into a fielder's choice to third but Sackett airmailed first base as the ball rolled around the right-field line scoring Thompson and changing the score to 6-4.

Nick Palmer launched a 0-1 offering out of the park to left field to lead off the top of the fifth pulling the Timberwolves within a run at 6-5.

Goforth hit his second home run of the contest on the first pitch of the bottom of the sixth stanza, hooking the ball inside of the left-field pole. A passed ball and a base hit moved Thompson to third base with one out. He came in to score on a failed pick-off attempt that was dropped by the first baseman expanding the difference to three at 8-5.

Vinsky hit a no-doubter to Mossy Creek on a 3-1 pitch to lead off the seventh inning for Northwood. Two-straight errors, one by each infielder on the left side, put two men on base. A one-out double that split the gap in right field by Ziegler and a ground out tied the score at eight.

The Timberwolves pitching staff walked a batter and hit four men in the bottom of the seventh inning. A double to right field with one out from Thompson allowed C-N to regain the lead. Back-to-back hit batsmen with two outs scored runs to run the lead to 11-8.

Matt Bradley (Talbott, Tenn.) earned his sixth save of the year firing the final two innings. He allowed the first two to reach in to the top of the eighth before retiring the final six with three strikeouts.

Four other Eagles notched multi-hit efforts as Kyle, Thompson, Griffin and Daughtry all had a pair of knocks. Eight of the nine regulars reached bases at least twice on the day.

Vinsky finished the game with a 4-for-5 line with the two homers leading the group's 14 hits on the afternoon. Three of the four pitchers allowed a run as Zac Sharp faced one batter earning a strikeout in the seventh.

The Eagles and the Timberwolves roll along in the series with a doubleheader slated for Saturday afternoon starting at noon with nine- and seven-inning games airing on the Eagle Sports Network.

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