JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – With two weeks to go in the regular season, Carson-Newman hosts a Limestone team that the Eagles have won three of four against this season on Tuesday at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex starting at 3 p.m.
"We are about work ethic," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "We are about passion and energy. As a coach you have to have that balance because it doesn't matter what point of the year it is. They will do that because we have leaders that make sure that guys will come in with a focus and a purpose."
Carson-Newman (23-17) has two of the top hitters in the country in Tyler Thompson (Gallatin, Tenn.) and Ethan Goforth (Blacksburg, Va.). Thompson is fifth nationally in batting average, .454, and on-base percentage, .550, while Goforth leads the country in runs scored, 57, and total bases, 113.
For Thompson, he started the year 1-for-5 in the opener before rattling off five straight hits. On the year, his batting average has not been below .422 since the opener with that mark coming in the middle game of the Lincoln Memorial series on March 10. He followed that with three multi-hit games in-a-row. Since that point over the last 17 outings, the sophomore has 12 multi-hit games including each of the last four.
Goforth has a similar run as he went 0-for-4 in the first game of 2019 and has since not seen his average dip below .357 since the opening series of the year. The junior's 12-game hitting streak is the longest by an Eagle since Paul Kirby hit safely in 16 games in 2017. During that span, he has upped his average 32 points to .400 thanks to going 23-for-47 where he has scored 19 times.
Limestone (13-26) and C-N played a four-game series in Gaffney to start the season with the Eagles coming away with three victories. While the C-N offense hit seven homers and stole nine bases, it was the pitching staff that stole the show. On the mound, the Eagles posted a 3.77 ERA and punched out 38 batters in 31 innings.
Thompson led the way offensively going 8-for-13 with a homer and six RBIs with John Sharpe (Franklin, Tenn.) leading the team in run produced with seven driven in hitting a pair of long balls. Goforth had six hits scoring four times during the series.
The 36 runs scored by the team over the weekend was the most in the first four contests of a campaign since scoring 40 in 2009. The Eagles win three of their first four games of the year for the first time since 2014 when the squad started the year 7-1.
Limestone enters Tuesday's festivities after being swept at Belmont Abbey mustering eight total runs in the series after winning six of its previous seven entering action. The team had an eight-game losing streak prior to the string.
Overall this year, the Saints are posting five runs per game this year to rank near the bottom 50 in the country despite sitting in 23rd with 40 homers. The team's batting average is .254 to rank 207th with only one regular hitting above .280, Trace Whetsell's .331 mark.
In the first four games against the Saints this year they shut down 2018 all-region selection Chase Allen to the tune of a 1-for-13 weekend after he hit two bombs and drove in seven against the Eagles last year. He leads the team in 2019 with nine long balls and 34 RBIs.
Limestone is one of the better defensive teams in the country with a Conference Carolinas-leading .968 mark. The team committed 23 errors in February but has made 18 miscues over the last 24 games with 16 errorless outings overall.
On the mound, the roster has a 6.33 ERA, good for 195th in the nation giving up nearly five walks per game. The team has surrendered 40 roundtrippers on the year with 13 of the last 18 games seeing a ball leave the yard at least once. There was an eight-game stretch in March where the Saints gave up 16.
Fans can watch or listen to the game for free by visiting cneagles.com/live for the links provided by the Eagle Sports Network.
- CN -