GREENWOOD, S.C. – Carson-Newman (8-0) rallied from a four-run deficit in game one of the day against Lander (7-4) before pounding Claflin (5-5) in a run-rule win on day one of action at the Bearcat/Fleet Invitational at Doug Spears Field.
Carson-Newman came back from a 5-1 deficit to beat Lander to start the day before obliterating Claflin 13-0 in five innings in the night cap.
"I'm proud of the way we battled, but we need to quit being cardiac kids," Graves said. "We played the final three innings of the Lander game like it was 0-0. Credit to the kids for responding, but we have to start like that.
"Abby Fiessinger is hitting the ball like I've never seen it. I was glad we were able to keep that momentum rolling from the Lander game against Claflin."
The Eagles pounded out 26 hits between the two games of the doubleheader.
The wins give Carson-Newman its first 8-0 start since the 2017 season. The Eagles began that year 11-0 for the third best start in school history.
GAME ONE: Carson-Newman 7, Lander 5
Lander grabbed the opening advantage by taking advantage of an Eagle miscue. Sydney Grimes reached to start the game after an error at first. Two batters later, Brianna Surrento doubled to the wall in right to drive her in to put the Bearcats up 1-0 in the bottom of the first.
Kelly McCormick followed it up with a two-run jack to put the Bearcats up 3-0.
Carson-Newman got a run back in the top of the second. KaraLynne Levi (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and Taylor Scott worked a one-out walk and a one-out base hit to give the Eagles a pair of base runners. Ashlyn Cooper (Friendsville, Tenn.) moved the pair into scoring position with a deep flyout to center.
Valerie Seay (Cross Plain, Tenn.) delivered the timely knock with a bloop single to left to plate Levi and pull C-N within a pair of runs.
However, Lander countered with a timely, two-out knock of its own in the bottom of the second. Surrento delivered a dying quail into left field that found grass to score two and stretch Lander's lead to 5-1.
Carson-Newman responded with a run in the top of the third. Lacie Rinus (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and Abby Fiessinger (Benton, Ky.) started the inning off with back-to-back singles. After a pop up and a punch out, Levi looped one through the left side of the infield to plate Rinus and pull C-N within three, 5-2.
After Rinus worked a 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the third, Carson-Newman's offense got to work in the fourth.
Cooper doubled to lead off the frame and moved to third on a Seay groundout. Leah Sohm hit an infield single and then stole second to give C-N a pair of runners in scoring position with one out.
That set the stage for Rinus. She banged a double off the wall in left to plate both runners and pull C-N within a run.
Carson-Newman loaded the bases with a base hit from Fiessinger and a fielder's choice from Allison Rager (Elkview, W.Va.). Haley Caldwell (Kenova, W.Va.) worked a nine-pitch walk to bring in the tying run, before Levi gave C-N a 6-5 lead with a sacrifice fly to left.
The Eagles nearly did more damage in the inning, but Lander centerfielder Shannon Antonini made a diving grab of a Scott line drive to save at least two runs and hold Carson-Newman to a four-spot in the fourth.
Carson-Newman got an insurance run in the top of sixth when Fiessinger led off the frame with a solo home run, the second of the year for her, over the fence in left center. That put the Eagles up 7-5.
Rager entered in the circle in the sixth after Rinus walked one batter and plunked another without recording an out. Rager brought her fire hose to the party and quenched the Flames without allowing a run.
She then worked around a one-out single to seal the win in the seventh.
Rinus improved to 2-0 with the win. She worked 5.0 innings, gave up six hits and five runs, four of which were earned. Rinus walked three, hit one and only struck out one.
Rager logged her first save of the season with two relief innings of one-hit, shutout ball.
Ashley Vinson took the loss to fall to 3-2. The Eagles tallied nine hits and six runs off her in a 3.1 inning start.
Rinus also did work at the plate with a 2-for-5, two-RBI effort. Fiessinger went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and the solo shot.
GAME TWO: Carson-Newman 13, Claflin 0 (five innings)
Carson-Newman wasted little time in pouncing on Claflin in the night cap, dropping a seven-spot on the Panthers in the top of the second.
KaraLynn Levi led off the top of the second by ripping the second home run of her junior campaign over the wall in left field.
Scott singled and Ashtyn Patterson (Andersonville, Tenn.) got walloped to give the Eagles a pair of base runners for Seay.
The sophomore doubled off the wall in left center to plate Scott and move Patterson to third. Sohm wore a pitch to load the bases with no one out and the Eagles up 2-0.
Rinus then blooped a ball into center that scored Patterson and Seay to stake C-N to a 4-0 advantage.
Fiessinger kept the party rolling with a two-run single to center for a six-run second. A Scott bases loaded sacrifice fly rounded out the scoring. Scott missed a grand slam by three feet on the deep fly ball to left center.
Carson-Newman kept at it in the third with three-run frames in the third and fifth innings.
Abby Hicks got her first career win in the circle to improve to 1-0. She twirled the complete-game shutout. Hicks struck out three and didn't walk anyone.
The Eagles are back at it again tomorrow against Erskine at 10:00 a.m. and Claflin again at 12:30 p.m. Follow @cnathletics for live updates of both games.