JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – One of the hottest teams in Conference Carolinas makes the jaunt over to Mossy Creek for a Monday afternoon doubleheader with Carson-Newman (24-14, 6-8 South Atlantic Conference) at 2 p.m.
Erskine (19-11, 10-0 Conference Carolinas) sits atop the Conference Carolinas table with Limestone. Both teams have unbeaten league records and the Flying Fleet come into Mossy Creek the winners of 10 straight.
The Flying Fleet hasn't lost since March 15 when Augusta swept Erskine 4-2 and 6-5. Since the month of March, Erskine is 14-2. That includes a sweep over Anderson. Aside from Augusta, no one has scored more than five runs on Erskine during its recent run of good form.
"There's no question Coach Hawkins has them playing well right now," head softball coach Vickee Kazee-Hollifield said. "We need to get off the roller coaster and maintain a strong level of play. Our kids' effort is there, but there have been moments where we've played undisciplined and it's cost us. I hope we're to close this season strong with still a lot to play for."
The Eagles have lost three consecutive and are on the verge of doing some that hasn't happened often in program history. In the program's 33-year history, the program has just the five four-game losing streaks. Carson-Newman is trying to avoid matching the school record for consecutive losses - a five game streak in 2012 with losses to Wingate, Augusta (twice) and Lenoir-Rhyne (twice).
To snap that streak and contend with the Flying Fleet, the Eagles will have to contend with one of Conference Carolinas best hurlers.
Erskine pitcher Morgan Hendrix is third in Conference Carolinas with a 0.84 ERA. Her 104 strikeouts are the fourth most in the league. Hendrix is top 25 in the country in shutouts, she blanked the Eagles earlier this year 1-0.
Erskine's pitching staff has the 13th best strikeout to walk ratio in the country and the best margin in Conference Carolinas. The Flying Fleet's pitchers strike out 3.25 batters for every one that they surrender a base on balls.
Hendrix twirled a four hit shutout earlier this year against Carson-Newman before the Eagles pounded out a season-high 13 runs off of 13 hits in the night cap. Ashlyn Cooper (Friendsville, Tenn.), Abby Fiessinger (Benton, Ky.) and Janelle Benzick (Virginia Beachs, Va.) all went yard in the nightcap to power a potent C-N offense.
Carson-Newman pitcher Lacie Rinus (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) continues to lead the South Atlantic Conference in strikeouts with 157. She also is number one in the SAC in batting average at .467. Rinus has hit successfully in 17 of 18 games.
First pitch between the Eagles and Fleet is set for 2 p.m. Coverage of the doubleheader will be available on the Eagle Sports Network at cneagles.com/live.