AUGUSTA, Ga. – No. 11 Carson-Newman (11-0) matched the third-best start in school history by sweeping Augusta (1-9) for the first time in Augusta Tuesday afternoon at the Augusta Softball Field.
After a 10-day layoff, the Eagles gritted out a 2-0 win in game one before using a massive eight-run fourth to carry the load in an 11-2 run-rule win in the night cap.
"We started out slow again," head softball coach Michael Graves said. "It showed that we hadn't been able to get on dirt and play live ball for 10 days. However, like we've shown all year long, once we get down we respond. Trailing doesn't faze us. While I appreciate that mentality, I don't want that to be a habit. We have to start jumping on people."
Every Eagle who had an at-bat in game two tallied a hit, while Allison Rager (Elkview, W.Va.) powered Carson-Newman in the circle in game one with a three-hit, complete-game shutout.
"Allison's pitching in game one, she was on," Graves said. "She was throwing hard. She had good movement. She's obviously has put together a great start to her senior year."
The Eagles are 11-0 for the first time since 2008. The start matches that year's team for the third best in school history. C-N started 19-0 in 1994, while the 1993 team ran through the regular season unbeaten, 24-0, before falling to Elon in the SAC tournament for the best start in program history
"We took too many strikes today," Graves said. "I think some of it goes back to the layoff. We took pitches that were strikes and had to battle back from being behind. We had done a good job of pouncing on strikes. That's part of not playing for 10 days and seeing true live pitching."
The Eagles extended their winning streak over the Jags to six games and lead the all-time series 12-5.
GAME ONE: No. 11 Carson-Newman 2, Augusta 0
After stranding five through the first five innings, Carson-Newman finally got rolling in the sixth.
Allison Rager (Elkview, W.Va.) and Haley Caldwell (Kenova, W.Va.) led off the frame with singles to center and left. After a line out to center field, Taylor Scott (Huntington, W.Va.) ripped a base hit inside the third base bag. Rager raced home to give the Eagles a 1-0 edge.
Ashlyn Cooper (Friendsville, Tenn.) gave the Eagles and insurance run with an RBI groundout to short, scoring Caldwell. That would be all Carson-Newman needed to collect a 2-0 win.
Rager shut down the Jaguars. Augusta only had two runners get into scoring position on the day and never had a base runner get to third.
The senior matched a career high for strikeouts with eight. She only surrendered one base on balls. Rager improved to 6-0 on the year with the win. She also tallied a multi-hit effort in the win.
Morgan Hunter took the loss to fall to 1-4. Hunter surrendered eight hits and two runs, only one of which was earned. She struck out seven Eagles and didn't walk a batter.
GAME TWO: No. 11 Carson-Newman 11, Augusta 2 (six innings)
Carson-Newman got on the offensive early in game two. Abby Fiessinger (Benton, Ky.) knocked a one-out double to the left centerfield alleyway before Rager drove her in with a single into right to give C-N a 1-0 advantage.
Augusta countered in the bottom of the third. A hit batsman and an intentional walk gave the Jaguars a pair of base runners with one out. After a strike out, Cici Castillo and Kelsea Hunter both delivered two-out RBI singles to stake Augusta to a 2-1 lead.
It wouldn't last long.
Carson-Newman belted three home runs in the top of the fourth to race in front. Carson-Newman clobbered three bombs and sent 13 to the plate as a part of an eight-run frame. The final five runs in the inning all came with two outs.
Cooper got the party started with a two-run bomb to give the Eagles back the lead 3-2. A Rinus double followed a Leah Sohm (Knoxville, Tenn.) single to stretch the advantage to 4-2.
After a groundout and a walk, Caldwell came to the plate. The sophomore smashed a three-run blast to left to push the advantage to five. KaraLynne Levi (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) gave C-N back-to-back jacks for the second time this year to bring Carson-Newman's bulge to six runs, 8-2.
Valerie Seay (Cross Plain, Tenn.) fired the final brace of the frame with an RBI double to right.
Rinus went the distance in the circle to improve to 4-0. Rinus fanned seven and walked one while only allowing four hits on the day. Both runs she surrendered were earned.
Katy Caldwell took the loss in a 3.1-inning start to fall to 0-2. She gave up six hits and five runs.
Carson-Newman returns to action Saturday at Limestone. First pitch with the Saints is slated for 1 p.m. Follow @cnathletics on Twitter for live coverage of the game.