GREENWOOD, S.C. – Carson-Newman (9-0) got timely two-out knocks and overcame a sluggish start to down Claflin (5-7) 6-3 Saturday afternoon at a sodden Doug Spears Field at the Bearcat/Fleet Invitational.
Less than 24 hours after run-ruling Claflin 13-0 in five innings, it was the Panthers who jumped out to an early advantage before the Eagles rallied.
"I am very disappointed in our start to the game and then our overall effort in the game," Graves said. "It's always good to get a win but that effort is not acceptable for this team. We are too talented for that to happen. We will fix it quickly."
Carson-Newman scored all but one of its runs with two outs; the Eagles were 5-for-10 at the plate for two-out hitting.
Abby Fiessinger (Benton, Ky.) paced Carson-Newman at the plate with a 3-for-3 day. She drove in a pair of runs and scored twice herself.
Claflin jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first thanks to some small ball tactics and a miscue from the Eagles. Kaidaisa Damon started things out with a single to left center. A bunt single and a sacrifice got the Panthers a pair of runners in scoring position.
Chaston Huntley delivered a deep fly ball to right that allowed Damon the opportunity to tag up and score, giving the Panthers a 1-0 lead. Claflin added to it a batter later. A ground ball from Jada Ames ate up Leah Sohm (Knoxville, Tenn.) at short, allowing LaKaylin Lee to score an unearned run and produce a 2-0 lead for Claflin.
Carson-Newman wasted little time in leveling things up. With Abby Fiessinger (Benton, Ky.) on second after a base hit, Haley Caldwell (Kenova, W.Va.) came to the plate. The West Virginian smashed the third home run of her sophomore campaign and the 11th of her career over the wall in left.
The Eagles took the lead in the bottom of the second via the long ball. Ashlyn Cooper (Friendsville, Tenn.) blasted off with a dinger to left. The one-out solo shot put C-N up 3-0. However, Carson-Newman was hardly done.
After a Valerie Seay (Cross Plain, Tenn.) groundout, Carson-Newman brought its two-out bats to life. Sohm hit an infield single, then scored from three bases away on a Rinus double that hugged the left field line.
Then, Fiessinger punched one over the fence in center off a 2-1 pitch to put the Eagles up 6-2. Fiessinger's blast was the third of her junior year, it brings her within 12 bombs of her parents getting her the sweetest puppy ever.
Claflin made things interesting in the seventh. The Panthers scored a run and loaded the bases to get the tying run on board, but Ashtyn Patterson (Andersonville, Tenn.), KaraLynne Levi (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and Taylor Scott (Huntington, W.Va.) turned a 5-2-3 twin killing to end the game and cement the 9-0 start.
Rinus notched the complete-game win in the circle. She surrendered nine hits and three runs, two of which were earned. Rinus struck out four and didn't walk anyone en route to improving her record to 3-0.
Lee took the loss for Claflin to drop to 2-3.
Carson-Newman's nightcap with cancelled due to rain. The Eagles are back in action Wednesday at King.