JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – For the second time in three days Carson-Newman produced a walk-off victory as John Sharpe's RBI double sealed a 6-5 series finale win following a 13-3 victory to seal a South Atlantic Conference series sweep Monday at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex over Coker.
"The final exam is a weekend series like this," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "It's like job well done with two walk-offs. We always talk about finishing through the line, don't finish to the line. Today showed that the finished through the line of the regular season. Coaches, we are extremely proud of their efforts, especially the seniors with the weekend they had. We get to be blessed to be on the outside watching it."
It had been three years since the Eagles last had a walk-off win but now the club has two over the last three games. Carson-Newman (31-17, 12-11) runs its winning streak to a season-high nine games having won eight in-a-row against the Coker (16-27-1, 7-17).
For the sixth time in Griffin's tenure, the squad records at least 30 wins in a season while finishing over .500 in SAC action for the third time in the last four years.
Sharpe finished the series 7-for-10 at the plate with five doubles, four RBIs and four runs scored leading his team to a 31-19 advantage on the scoreboard. Jordan Griffin (Ellerslie, Ga.) went 5-for-9 with four RBIs and three runs scored. Overall in the three-game set, seven different players drove in multiple runs and scored at least twice.
Game One: CARSON-NEWMAN 13, Coker 3
The Eagles rattled off the final 13 runs of the game and retired 27 of the final 34 batters in the game. The bullpen fired seven scoreless innings giving up four hits and a walk with six punch outs.
Luke Friedman (Gilbert, Ariz.) secured his third win of the year with four scoreless innings. Austin Conner (Sevierville, Tenn.) fanned a career-high five over the final three innings to earn a save for the second-straight weekend.
Coker came out of the gates swinging with a pair of singles to center to open the game. Larry McCabe ambushed the first pitch of his at-bat launching his 10th homer of the season over the scoreboard in right field to give the Cobras a 3-0 lead before an out was recorded.
Griffin's crew loaded the bases with two outs in the bottom of the first as Mark Treadway (Friendsville, Tenn.) ripped the first pitch into left field to get the Eagles within two before a strikeout left the bases loaded.
C-N scored two to tie the score at three in the third inning courtesy of a sacrifice fly from Michael Wroth (Chicopee, Mass.) and a bases loaded hit batsmen to Alan Silva (Sevierville, Tenn.) with one out. The Eagles stranded the bases loaded for the second time after having the sacks full with one out.
In the bottom of the fourth, the home side took their first lead of the game when Wroth singled to the gap in left-center field to put runners at first and second. Two batters later after a sacrifice bunt, Jordan Griffin (Ellerslie, Ga.) laced a base knock down the left-field line past the third baseman to bring home the pair and stretch the margin to 6-3.
Carson-Newman sent 10 men to the plate in the bottom of the fifth inning scoring six times to swell the bulge to 12-3. Wroth started the onslaught with a two-run single back up the box. Griffin provided a run-scoring double to left-center field before Silva legged out a two-run triple with two outs. Cal Smith (Kellar, Texas) capped the scoring with a flare into center field to plate Silva.
Adding insurance in the ninth, Kilian Daughtry (Simpsonville, S.C.) plopped a double down the line in right field to bring home Connor Powell (Rogersville, Tenn.) getting the margin to a final score of 13-3.
Nine different Eagles scored a run and six different men drove in runs. Wroth led the team with four RBIs going 2-for-3 with two runs scored. Griffin went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and Silva drove in a career-high three.
McCabe had two of the team's seven overall knocks on the day driving in the lone three runs as the club went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position compared to an 8-for-15 clip by the Eagles.
All four pitchers used by the Cobras allowed at least one run in the game with Jake Moore throwing the final 3 1/3 innings giving up one run on two hits and a walk.
Game Two: CARSON-NEWMAN 6, Coker 5
Similar to game one of the day, Coker leaped out to a 3-0 lead before the Eagles stepped to the plate. Reilly Hall singled with one out to get a run in. A two-out walk to Lake Lybrand loaded the bases. Matt Swiderski flipped a ball over the first base bag for a two-run double as eight men came to the plate.
Two hit batters and an error loaded the bases for the Eagles in the bottom of the first. Two sacrifice flies to each corner outfielder pulled C-N within one at 3-2 after a frame.
The Cobras scored twice in the top of the fourth despite the ball not leaving the infield. Two walks and a bunt single loaded the bases. An infield single by Tanner Crosby in the hole at shortstop and a fielder's choice ground out pushed the lead to 5-2.
Tanner Wofford had retired nine straight batters when John Sharpe (Franklin, Tenn.) roped a double to the wall in right-center field, the first hit of the day for his club. Malik Kyle (Jefferson City, Tenn.) pulled a ball through a hole on the right side of the infield to get the Eagles within two. C-N loaded the bases in the frame but a pop out to catcher ended the rally.
With two outs and no one on base in the fifth, Sharpe ripped a double off of the wall in right field. Kyle watched ball one before launching his fourth roundtripper of the season just shy of the scoreboard in right field to tie the score at five.
Coker loaded the bases with no one out in the top of the seventh. Ryan Victory (Brentwood, Tenn.) picked off the runner at third base. After a walk, he struck out the next two batters swinging to keep the game level at five.
"You have to go to the next pitch," Victory said. "What me and Ethan always talk about is stepping off of the back of the mound, taking a deep breath and thinking what I can do different next pitch. I trusted what Ethan was calling. I trust the seven guys behind me."
With one out, Griffin and Treadway laced singles to the outfield to put two men on base for Sharpe. The senior worked the count to 3-1 before smacking a ball over Swiderski's head in right field to the fence to bring in the walk-off winner.
Victory earned his second win of the season working three scoreless inning with four strikeouts, his most since a career-high eight on Feb. 18, 2019.
Kyle went 2-for-2 with four RBIs to match a career high in the category while Sharpe was a flawless 3-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored. The rest of the team combined for a pair of hits.
Wofford was hit with the loss falling to 1-3 on the year giving up six runs, five earned in 6 1/3 innings with six punch outs and one walk.
The Eagles are the No. 6 seed in the SAC Baseball Championships starting Thursday night at 7:30 p.m. C-N's opponent will be determined later in the evening. All of the games in the tournament can be found on cneagles.com/live with the Eagle Sports Network providing the coverage.
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