Eagles, Cobras swap shutouts in doubleheader split

VIDEO: Michael Graves Interview

VIDEO: Highlights

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (16-7, 3-7 South Atlantic Conference) and Coker (25-9, 4-3 SAC) shut each other out en route to a doubleheader split Saturday at the Vickee Kazee-Hollifield Softball Complex. 

Carson-Newman powered its way to a 6-0 win in the opening game of the doubleheader, before Coker tallied a two-hit shutout in the night cap. 

"Hats off to the pitchers. I thought Allison Rager and Lacie Rinus both pitched well," Carson-Newman head softball coach Michael Graves said. "You also have to tip your cap to Christine Carver.  She had a great performance and took full advantage of our refusal to adjust to things at the plate. Until we learn to make adjustments, we're going to have this roller coaster."

Rager fired the complete-game shutout in game one and allowed only four hits.  Rinus carried a hard-luck loss in the nightcap. Christine Carver twirled a two-hit shutout and carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning before Leah Sohm (Knoxville, Tenn.) broke it up with a base hit back up the box. 

Carson-Newman used the long ball in game one to power to the win.  Of the Eagles five hits, all five were for extra bases.  KaraLynne Levi (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and Haley Caldwell (Kenova, W.Va.) both homered in game one. 

"We played the way in game one the way we played the first 13 games of the season," Graves said. "We took massive swings. We took good swings and we hit the ball hard.  Because of how we hit the ball, we put them in a position to make errors."

GAME ONE: Carson-Newman 6, Coker 0

Carson-Newman grabbed the lead in the bottom of the second. KaraLynne Levi (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) led off the frame with a solo bomb to left to put C-N up 1-0.  Levi took a 2-1 pitch out of the park for her team-leading seventh dinger of the year. 

The Eagles threatened for more in the frame, but left the bases loaded with a fly out to center after a walk, an error and a hit batter.

Carson-Newman took advantage of Coker miscues to extend the lead in  the fifth.  Lacie Rinus (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) and Abby Fiessinger (Benton, Ky.) both reached on errors to lead off the inning.  Haley Caldwell (Kenova, W.Va.) made the Cobras pay for the miscues.  The sophomore smashed her sixth home run of the year over the wall in center on a 2-2 pitch to stretch the advantage to 4-0.

Carson-Newman padded the advantage in the bottom of  the sixth, again aided by Coker's fifth error of the day.  Leah Sohm (Knoxville, Tenn.) hit a ground ball back to the circle.  Coker pitcher Taylor Forehand wheeled an underhand  throw in the dirt past first and into foul ground in right.  That allowed Sohm to race to third on a three-base error.  A batter late, Rinus scored her with a triple to the wall in left.  Fiessinger rounded out the scoring by driving in Rinus with a laser beam into the right center alleyway. That set the final margin at 6-0.

Allison Rager (Elkview, W.Va.) logged her third complete-game shutout of the year to improve to 8-4.  She only allowed four hits and struck out two. 

Isabelle Mullen took her first loss of the year.  She allowed one run and two hits in a 4.0-inning start.  Taylor Forehand pitched the final two innings.  She gave up three hits and five runs, two of which were earned.

GAME TWO:  Coker 1, Carson-Newman 0

Coker struck first in game two. Chloe Pelham led off the game with a solo bomb down the left field line.  Pelham smoked a 2-1 pitch for her second home run of the season. 

That would be all the Cobras would need to collect the win. 

Carson-Newman only got runners on second base twice.  Rager reached on an error in the fifth and moved to second on a ground out.  However, a fielder's choice ended that threat for the Eagles. 

Taylor Scott (Huntington, W.Va.) represented the tying run in the bottom of the seventh when she ripped a two-out double to left center.  However, Ashlyn Cooper (Friendsville, Tenn.) hit a fly ball to shallow right center to end the game. 

Coker had chances to add to its lead, but Rinus used a firehose in two instances to quelch the flames. Madison King led off the fifth with a triple, but Rinus struck out the side to keep a run off the board.

In the sixth, Ashley Meckley led off the inning with the double before moving to third on a groundout.  However, Rinus logged two strikeouts to keep that run off the board. 

Rinus struck out eight in defeat, falling to 7-3.  She gave up five hits and the one run. 

Christine Carver tallied the two-hit shutout for her first complete game of the year. She improved to 7-6 with the win.

Carson-Newman is back it Tuesday with a rivalry game against Tusculum.  First pitch with the Pioneers is set for 2 p.m. Coverage will be available one the Eagle Sports Network at cneagles.com/live. 

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