JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (19-7, 1-1 South Atlantic Confernece) will have to contend with one of the best offenses in the South Atlantic Conference when Anderson (20-6, 2-0 SAC) rolls into Mossy Creek for a doubleheader Thursday at 2 p.m.
Anderson has hit more home runs than any other team in the conference with 28. The Trojans also have the most hits in the league with 247 and the second highest team batting average a .327
"They are obviously a very good team, and you expect that out of one of Tommy Hewitt's clubs," head softball coach Vickee Kazee-Hollifield said. "He had a bunch of returning starters returning from the last year. It shows in what they've been able to do at the plate. However, their pitching has also really come along."
The Trojans have a 1.43 ERA as a team, the second best figure in the conference behind Lenoir-Rhyne. Kayla Pepper leads the conference with her 0.77 ERA.
Anderson has two of the conference's most potent bats. All-SAC catcher Cailah Niles is third in the league in RBI with 30 and fourth in the league in home runs with six. Breanna Hagerty has hit eight dongs and leads the conference in moon shots.
With 53 career home runs, Niles is the South Atlantic Conference's all-time leader for the category. She has the third most home runs among active players in Division II. With 201 career RBI, Niles also has the third most runs batted in among active players in Division II.
Both Carson-Newman and Anderson are tied for the fifth most shutouts nationally. They have each kept 11 teams scoreless.
Carson-Newman's .978 fielding percentage is the fifth best in country and the top mark in the South Atlantic Conference.
Lacie Rinus (Murreesboro, Tenn.) leads the South Atlantic Conference in batting average with a .487 tally. She also leads the league's pitchers in Ks with 97.
Rinus and Katie Pritchett (Ringgold, Ga.) are both riding career-long hitting streaks. Rinus has his successfully in nine straight games and is looking to join Kristen Toppel (Roanoke, Va.) and Abby Fiessinger (Benton, Ky.) as active Eagles with double-digit hitting streaks in their careers. Meanwhile, Pritchett has reset her career-long streak with seven straight games with a knock.
The Eagles have won eight of their last nine games and on paper, appear to be one of the hottest teams in the region. However, thanks to Mother Nature and a slew of cancellations and postponements, the Eagles have seen the field just once in the last 13 days.
"That's been one of the more challenging aspects to this season," Kazee-Hollifield said. "I felt like we were turning a corner (when C-N won eight straight at one point). We don't use it as an excuse, but it's hard to stay on a roll when you aren't playing. I hope that we are able to battle through it."
First pitch between the Eagles and Anderson is set for 2 p.m. Thursday. Coverage will be available on the Eagle Sports Network online on the Eagle Sports Network at cneagles.com/live.