Big innings power Eagles to sweep of Crusaders

VIDEO: Vickee Kazee-Hollifield Interview

VIDEO: Highlights

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (4-2) hung three crooked numbers on the board en route to a doubleheader sweep of North Greenville (3-3) Wednesday afternoon at the Vickee Kazee-Hollifield Softball Complex. 

The Eagles took game one 3-1 behind a three-run first before tallying a 7-1 win in the nightcap thanks to a four-run second and three-run fourth.

"I think after our last outing we needed to come out and show a little more fire and a little more agressiveness at the plate," said coach Vickee Kazee-Hollifield. "I want to win every ballgame. There's still some things that we have to do. I think we can be a really tough team down the stretch and I want my players to feel that way as well."

KaraLynne Levi (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) led the charge for the Eagles offensively.  She notched her first career home run and went 3-for-6 at the plate on the day with three runs batted in. 

Allison Webster  (Charlestown, Ind.) and Lacie Rinus (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) grabbed wins in the circle. They combined for 14 strikeouts on the afternoon.

GAME ONE: Carson-Newman 3, North Greenville 1

After North Greenville threatened with a bases-loaded situation in the first, Carson-Newman countered with a three-run frame. 

C-N had runners on the corners with one out for KaraLynne Levi (Murfreesboro, Tenn.).  The freshman ripped a ground ball through the left side of the infield to bring Abby Fiessinger (Benton, Ky.) in from third.

Katie Pritchett (Ringgold, Ga.) followed with her first hit of the season, a double that was smashed off the wall in right center.  Taylor Scott (Huntington, W. Va.) and Levi scored from two and three bases away, respectively, to put C-N up 3-0. 

Carson-Newman threatened again in the third but failed to draw blood.  A pair of walks sandwiched around a Levi single juiced the bases with two out. However, Webster popped up to second to end the threat. 

North Greenville cracked the scoreboard with a run in the fifth. Christie Riley reached on an error at second to start the inning.  She scored from three bases away on a double to left by Shayna Finley.  Finley got gunned down trying to move to third on the throw 7-6-2-5 for the first out of the inning. Riley's run was unearned. 

The Crusaders threatened in both the sixth and seventh innings, but never could draw closer than two runs as Webster shut the door. 

In the sixth, a two-out single gave the Crusaders a pair of runners on the pond, but Webster fanned Grace DeBoer for her eighth strikeout to get out of the inning unscathed. 

A pair of one-out walks put the tying run on for NGU in the seventh, but Webster got punchout number nine of the afternoon and induced a pop up to short to retire the side and collect her second win of the year. 

The only run Webster allowed to cross was unearned.  She walked four against the nine Ks and gave up four hits.

"That's what you expect from Alli," Kazee-Hollifield said. "She's a workhorse and she's going to fight her way through. It was about the end of the fifth inning I asked her "Alli, are you good?' When she gives you the OK, you're going to let her go. I can't think of anyone you'd rather have in the circle at that particular time."

Amanda Coffrin was saddled with the loss for NGU.  The junior gave up five hits with three walks against six strikeouts.  She dropped to 1-1 on the season. 

GAME TWO: Carson-Newman 7, North Greenville 1

North Greenville was the first team to threaten in game two.  In the top of the second, the Crusaders loaded the bases with a pair of walks and a hit batter. However, Lacie Rinus (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) induced a groundout to Abby Fiessinger (Benton, Ky.) at second to end the threat. 

Carson-Newman also used the second to put runners in scoring position. Walks to Pritchett and Webster gave the Eagles a pair on the paths with one out.  After a pop up to second, the Eagles would capitalize with two out.  Rinus helped out her own cause with a base hit to right that brought a pinch-running Kennedy Richardson (Elizabethton, Tenn.) in to score.  The right fielder bobbled the base hit, allowing Rinus to mosey over to second and Webster to trot in. The fielding error helped C-N push the lead to 2-0. 

The bases were loaded with two out in the frame following a 12-pitch walk to Kristen Toppel. Fiessinger then got plunked. Taylor Scott (Huntington, W.Va.) came through in the clutch with a two-RBI single down the left field line that brought in Rinus and Toppel.  The single extended the lead to 4-0.  The Eagles got three base runners in the frame via bases on balls and two more who were hit by pitches.  The Eagles only needed two hits in the inning to take the 4-0 lead. 

North Greenville got on the board in the third.  Rivers led off the inning with a double to the wall and moved to third on a ground out.  Megan Johnson then hit a ball to short. C-N's Toppel fielded cleanly and looked off the runner at third, but her throw to first was in the dirt and outside the reach of Scott.  Rivers came in to score and Johnson reached on the E6. 

Carson-Newman got a run back in the fourth.  Rinus started the inning with a single to left before moving to second on a Kristen Toppel (Roanoke, Va.) sacrifice.  She sprinted home when Fiessinger ripped a ball up the gut. 

The Eagles would add to their lead later in the inning.  KaraLynne Levi (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) blasted a moonshot into the pine trees in left to put C-N up 7-1.  The home run was the first of her career. 

Rinus grabbed the win in the circle for the Eagles.  She moves to 2-1 on the year after allowing two hits.  She walked six and struck out five. 

Anna Rogers was hit with the loss for NGU, she falls to 2-1 on the year.  She went the first 1.2 innings and surrendered four runs and three hits before giving way to Kayla McCarson, who finished out the game with three more runs allowed. 

Carson-Newman heads to Bristol, Tenn. for its first road contest of the season.  The Eagles take on King Saturday at 1 p.m.