ANDERSON, S.C. – With four South Atlantic Conference series to go in 2019, Carson-Newman hits the road for a three-game series against Anderson starting Friday at 6 p.m. with a doubleheader on Saturday starting at 1 p.m. from Memorial Stadium.
With a 6-10 record in March, these three games are the final contests of the first losing month for the team in seven months when the unit went 6-9 in February 2017. That club closed out the year strong reaching Championship Monday in the league tournament winning 10 of the last 14 contests of the year.
"There's nothing else we can do in April," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "March has been brutal for us and I can't wait for it [to end]. We have to get to April somehow. There is nothing else to say because it has been engrained since day one of being here on our expectations how to play this game, how to serve and how to be great teammates. It's up to them to figure out at some point as well."
The series started in 2001 with the two teams playing in each of the last 15 seasons. Carson-Newman (20-13, 3-8) holds a 28-8 overall lead and a 14-5 advantage when playing on the road versus Anderson (11-20, 2-10).
The Eagles have won each of the last four meetings and 10 of the previous 13 outings winning the three-game series over the last four campaigns since dropping two out of three on the road in 2014.
Looking back at 2018, the programs squared off four times with Griffin's crew coming out ahead in all four courtesy of a 50-20 differential on the scoreboard that included a 26-12 shellacking on March 17. It was the highest run total by the Eagles since throwing up a program record 29 runs against Mars Hill in 1988. It was not the highest scoring affair in the all-time series, however. C-N beat Anderson 24-18 on Feb. 13, 2008.
Outside of the three-game set at Mossy Creek, the Eagles staved off elimination in the SAC Tournament behind a complete game, 11-strikeout effort from Matt Bradley (Talbott, Tenn.). Overall, he fired 10 1/3 innings on the season yielding seven hits and two walks over two outings versus the Trojans.
As a team, the Eagles posted a .368 batting average as all but two regulars hit at least .353. Tyler Thompson (Gallatin, Tenn.) tallied a crisp .500 clip going 7-for-14 with three doubles. Ethan Goforth (Blacksburg, Va.) went 9-for-19 driving in seven runs to pace the lineup.
Coach Joe Miller's crew opened the season 6-3 but is 5-17 since Feb. 24 entering this weekend with the longest losing streak in the conference of five games. The Trojans have dropped 13 of their last 16 since they last won two straight games on March 2 against Lenoir-Rhyne.
Anderson is last or 10th in the league in 15 different categories. It is the lowest scoring team in the conference on the year posting five runs per game having scored a total of 33 in 12 conference contests. The hitters are hitting .219 with 101 punch outs in 370 at-bats.
Seven teams nationally have fewer stolen bases this year than Anderson's seven. It has been nine games since the last recorded bag theft as the lineup has a total of two in four tries over the last 22 contests.
Of the six players with at least 60 trips to the dish this season, none have a batting average above .300. Chandler Castleberry is the team's top option with a .280 mark and five homers after finishing fourth in the league with 16 bombs a year ago.
On the mound, the hurlers are 252nd out of 260 clubs in hits allowed per nine innings with over 13 per game posting a team ERA of 7.07 on the year. They do have two solid options. Will Gee, who gave up seven runs in a third of an inning last year against C-N, has a 3.82 ERA in 40 innings, good for 12th in the league. That mark is 1.42 in three home starts.
Out of the bullpen, Christian Carpenter has seven saves to tie with Bradley for the top mark in the conference and rank third in the country. Despite giving up at least a run in two consecutive outings, he has allowed two runs, one earned in 15 1/3 frames at home with 20 punch outs.
All three outings will feature an audio feed on cneagles.com/live starting 10 minutes before first pitch from Memorial Stadium with the Eagle Sports Network providing the call.
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