JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – No. 20 Carson-Newman (4-2) will look to correct some struggles with runners in scoring position when the King Tornado (0-0) comes to town for a 1 p.m. doubleheader with the Eagles Thursday at the Vickee Kazee-Hollifield Softball Complex.
Carson-Newman went 1-for-24 with runners on second or third in a Tuesday doubleheader split with North Greenville.
"We've got to fight better when we're at the plate," head softball coach Vickee Kazee-Hollifield said. "We're cheating ourselves out of quality at-bats and we absolutely have to put a stop to that."
Carson-Newman is hitting .206 as a team for the season with runners on second or third. Haley Caldwell (Kenova, W.Va.) has been Carson-Newman's most projective batter with RBI opportunities. She is 3-for-8. Lacie Rinus (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) has knocked two doubles in three chances at the plate with a runner on second or third.
While the Eagles have struggled to get runners on in, they've had no problems getting the leadoff batter on base.
The first player to hit in an inning gets on base 51 percent of the time for the Eagles. Kristen Toppel (Roanoke, Va.) leads the Eagles in that regard, she's been aboard four out of the five times she's led off a frame.
Kazee-Hollifield is thankful that the Eagles get to turn around so quickly for a game after a week off.
"The nice thing about this is is that we get to play again in two days," Kazee-Hollifield said. "We need to play period. We need to see pitches, we need to see the field, and I'm glad we get to do that against King so quickly after playing NGU."
Carson-Newman has won nine straight over the Tornado ever since King took an 8-3 decision over the Eagles in 2012.
Last year against the Tornado, KaraLynne Levi (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) went 5-for-9, including a four-hit day in game one, with three RBI.
King opens its season Wednesday afternoon against Lincoln Memorial.
King was picked third in the Conference Carolinas preseason poll, between North Greenville and Erskine, who C-N has split a pair of doubleheaders with.
The Crusaders return five all-league performers from a year ago, including a pair of all-region selections from a 32-win team from a year ago. Outfielders Hannah Riddle and Kaycee Casteel represented King on the NFCA All-Region team a year ago.
The Tornado's 32-19 campaign a year ago went down as the second most wins in school history.
The Tornado offense was one of the best in Conference Carolinas, leading the league with a school records in hits (462), batting average (.324), on base percentage (.399) and slugging percentage (.450).
First pitch between Carson-Newman and King is set for 1 p.m. Thursday. Coverage will be available on the Eagle Sports Network online at cneagles.com/live.