JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – After wondering around various road venues in the Southeast for 40 days and 40 nights, seventh-ranked Carson-Newman (14-1, 1-1 South Atlantic Conference) is finally back at home.
The Eagles welcome the SAC's top scoring offense in Lincoln Memorial (23-5, 1-1 SAC) for a Wednesday afternoon twin bill at 2 at the Vickee Kazee-Hollifield Softball Complex.
The Railsplitters lead the league in nine offensive categories, topping the league charts in at-bats (739), runs (213), hits (250), doubles (61), RBIs (188), extra-base hits (96), on-base percentage (.432) and walks (106) and hit-by-pitch (23). LMU is second in home runs (26) and fourth in triples (nine).
The Railsplitters are 11th in the country in runs per game, scoring 7.42 a contest. LMU has scored double-digit runs on eight occasions this year and run-ruled six of their foes.
LMU has already played two ranked foes this season, splitting with then No. 18 Young Harris and No. 20 Wingate.
The Railsplitters are off to their hot start in part due to freshman catcher McKenzie Henry. She leads the league in RBI with 37 and is second in home runs with nine. Henry has driven in multiple RBI on 11 occasions. She has a run batted in in all but six of the Railsplitters 28 games. Henry is fifth in the country in RBI.
However, it's far from Henry. Lincoln Memorial has 10 players who have started at least half the Railsplitters' games who are hitting north of .295. The Railsplitters can toss out a starting nine where every player in the order hits better than .300.
While LMU has been the premiere team in the SAC at scoring runs this year, the Railsplitters have struggled at times in the circle.
LMU sports a league-worst 4.01 ERA. The Railsplitters also allow nearly a home run a game, the highest figure in the league as well.
That could be problematic against a Carson-Newman team that has a certain fondness for the long ball. C-N has homered in all but two games this season. The Eagles have homered an average of 1.53 times per game, a figure that ranks third in the country.
Furthermore, the Eagles have been dynamic in the circle. Senior hurler Allison Rager (Elkview, W.Va.) is second in the conference with a 1.15 ERA. As a whole, Carson-Newman has the 13th lowest team ERA in the country at 1.62, a figure that also leads the South Atlantic Conference. That figure is aided by a defense that has accrued a .980 fielding percentage, the third-best in the country.
Carson-Newman has been elite at responding to opponent's scoring. Of the Eagles 86 runs this year, 43 have come in unanswered fashion after an opponent has taken a lead on C-N.
The Eagles have been dynamite through the middle innings of games. C-N has outscored teams 61-4 through innings three through six. Opponents have scored just one run across the fourth and fifth innings of games.
Carson-Newman has won eight of the last 10 games with the Railsplitters. The Eagles have swept their last two doubleheaders with LMU in Jefferson City and four of their last five. LMU's only win at Mossy Creek in the last decade came in 2013 in a 15-6 triumph over the Eagles. The Railsplitters set a record that day pounding out 19 hits, the most the Eagles had ever allowed.
First pitch between C-N and LMU is set for 2 p.m. Wednesday. Coverage of the game will be available on the Eagle Sports Network at cneagles.com/live.