JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Two of the best pitching staffs match wits when No. 20 Carson-Newman (3-1) meanders to the Palmetto State to take on North Greenville (3-1) Tuesday afternoon at Jan McDonald Field.
Carson-Newman can boast of Lacie Rinus (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and Morgan Crawford (Chickamauga, Ga.). Together, Carson-Newman's duo has only given up one earned run on the year, the low water mark in the South Atlantic Conference.
Meanwhile, North Greenville's starting pitcher combination of Amanda Coffrin and Jaelin Griffin has combined for 28 punchouts, the most of any duo of pitchers in Conference Carolinas.
"It's not just Amanda Coffrin, Jaelin Griffin is formidable too," head softball coach Vickee Kazee-Hollifield said. "They're both pitching it well early this year. Coffrin has picked up where she left off last year. She's a very good rise ball pitcher. We'll have to be aggressive at the plate."
Both Rinus and Coffrin rank in the top five in Ks for both the South Atlantic Conference and Conference Carolinas. Rinus has fanned 18 across 14 innings, while Coffrin has struck out 15 across 14 frames.
Crawford is the only pitcher in the South Atlantic Conference who has yet to surrender an earned run this year. Coffrin is one of three pitchers in Conference Carolinas without an earned run allowed.
Carson-Newman and North Greenville have split each of the last two double-headers in Tigerville, with Carson-Newman winning the both first games and the Crusaders taking each of the night caps.
The Eagles lead the all-time series 20-2.
KaraLynne Levi (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) went 3-for-6 with three RBI, two runs scored a double and a dinger through the doubleheader the last time the Eagles and Crusaders played, a sweep for C-N at The Vick.
Carson-Newman is coming into the twinbill after a fortuitous seven-day, mother nature-induced layoff.
"We're happy we had a little time off because four kids have had the flu and two more have been battling stomach bugs," Kazee-Hollifield said. "I'll never make excuses for our team, but we have not been healthy of late. We're battling through that, just like a lot of other teams are. I'm not happy that it happened, but I am happy that it's been when mother nature's wiped out games."
Both Abby Fiessinger (Benton, Ky.) and Lacie Rinus (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) have tallied a hit in every game of the season thus far for Carson-Newman. Haley Caldwell (Kenova, W.Va.) has entered the fray as a freshman, hitting two home runs in her first 12 career at-bats.
"West Virginia's done well for us," Kazee-Hollifield said using the state-based nickname for Haley Caldwell. "We're looking for more consistency with her, but as far as a freshman coming in, she's been productive. We all need to pick it up with our hitting as a team so that we're more productive throughout the order."
First pitch between the Eagles and Crusaders is set for 1 p.m. Follow @cnathletics on Twitter for live updates throughout the game.