JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Two of the best pitching staffs in America will match wits when Carson-Newman (12-6) and Limestone (12-5) collide for a doubleheader at 1 p.m. Saturday at The Vickee Kazee-Hollifield Softball Complex.
The Eagles' pitching staff is fifth in the nation with seven shutouts this season. Limestone's staff ranks eighth in the country with five scoreless outings so far this season. Opponents are hitting .206 off the Eagles pitching staff and .208 off the Limestone staff.
"Last year they were a very strong team and pitching was their forte," head coach Vickee Kazee-Hollfield said. "It goes beyond that for them though, they have speed and good hitters. They are a formidable overall team."
Carson-Newman's Lacie Rinus (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) is third in the country with her 75 strikeouts.
Courtney Smith and Josie Weber for Limestone have been lock down pitchers for the Saints. Smith is a flawless 7-0 in the circle with a 1.12 ERA. Weber is only 4-5 in the circle, but has been a hard-luck loser a bit. She has 1.32 ERA.
Carson-Newman's typical game-two pitcher Morgan Crawford has a 6-1 record. She ranks third in the South Atlantic Conference in wins.
Carson-Newman's pitching staff has been backed up by a defense that has been nothing short of sensational,
The Eagles rank fourth in the nation with a .981 fielding percentage and fifth in the nation in shutouts with seven.
Carson-Newman won 24 of the first 25 meetings against Limestone, but the Saints have owned the series of late. Limestone has swept the last two doubleheaders between the two teams.
The Eagles will look to take advantage of timely hits. Carson-Newman was 6-for-19 with runners in scoring position (.315) in their 10-6 come-from-behind, extra-innings win over Concord on Tuesday.
However, the Eagles are hitting a paltry .231 with runners in scoring position for the season.
"Our runs batted in are very low for the number of at bats and hits that we've had," Kazee-Hollifield said. "We're getting the hits and getting people on base. I hope it's contagious. Morgan Crawford was a spark at the plate for us against Concord. I hope that was the corner that we needed to get around to get us going."
First pitch between the Eagles and Saints is set for 1 p.m. Saturday. Pregame coverage will be available on the Eagle Sports Network online at cneagles.com/live