CLEVELAND, Tenn. – Finding an early groove to 2019, Carson-Newman hits the road for the first time since the opening weekend of the season Monday afternoon for a 4 p.m. first pitch from Olympic Field against Lee.
Only Catawba's 11-1 record this season is better than Carson-Newman's 10-2 beginning to 2019. It is due in large part to the team's offense that leads the South Atlantic Conference in runs (109), on-base percentage (.435), home runs (15), stolen bases (32), walks (74) and fewest strikeouts per game (6.3).
From an individual standpoint, Michael Wroth (Chicopee, Mass.) leads the league in RBIs with 20 and home runs with four after a monster three-game stretch that saw the junior go 7-for-13 at the plate with two bombs and 10 RBIs.
Ethan Goforth (Blacksburg, Va.) and Tyler Thompson (Gallatin, Tenn.) have each scored 15 runs, good for second in the conference. Five Eagles are listed in the top 20 of walks with four ranking in the top 18 of on-base percentage.
Despite allowing the most home runs on the rubber this season, C-N's pitching staff is the league leader in strikeouts per nine innings at 11.18, nearly a full punch out higher than any other team. The Eagles are in the top four in each of the other pitching categories.
Carson-Newman has its sights set on maintaining a series lead over Lee (5-5) holding a 10-9 through the first 19 meetings in the series. The Eagles have lost two straight losing back-to-back one-run affairs and have lost three-straight in Cleveland since an 8-6 win over a then 13th-ranked Flames unit on Feb. 11, 2003.
The last time the clubs met at Olympic Field came on March 8, 2017 when Nathan Wierzgac drove a 2-1 pitch to start the 11th inning over the fence in left-center field wall for a walk-off 6-5 win. Eric Lynch went 4-for-5 with a run driven in and two runs scored.
Last season when the clubs met at Mossy Creek, Lee overcame a five-run deficit scoring three in the eighth and one in the ninth to win 10-9 on Feb. 20, 2018. Peyton Meeker hit a two-out solo home run to left field to seal the win.
The Flames opened up Gulf South Conference play over the weekend taking the final two from Valdosta State after being shutout in the series opener. With a 5-2 record at home, the club has not yet won a game on the road going 0-3. A year ago, the unit went 27-26 overall and 16-13 in conference winning the first two in the league championships before falling to West Georgia and Mississippi College.
At the plate, only two regulars are hitting above .300 for a team that is hitting .195 collectively. Lee has only game with double-digit hits, a 10-hit effort in the first game against Saint Leo on Feb. 8. Nineteen of the team's 56 hits have gone for extra bases.
Miguel Pimentel is the team's top hitter tallying a .355 batting average with a couple long balls and five driven in. Last season, he had an RBI double in five trips to the dish from the cleanup spot versus C-N.
On the mound, three pitchers have combined for one out but 11 of the staff's 42 earned runs. Take that group out and the hurlers have an ERA of 3.46 with seven pitchers holding a mark below three.
The Eagle Sports Network will be on site to bring you the audio broadcast on cneagles.com/live starting 10 minutes prior to the first pitch.
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