JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (16-7, 3-7 South Atlantic Conference) finally moves on from the month of March. The Eagles welcome rival Tusculum (17-13, 5-5) to the Vickee Kazee-Hollifield Softball Complex for a doubleheader Tuesday at 2 p.m.
The Eagles will look to return to their February form offensively after a month of March where Carson-Newman turned in its worst month-by-month batting average in the last seven years.
The Eagles hit .353 for the month of February and were averaging 6.81 runs per game. In March, Carson-Newman hit .198 as a team and averaging 2.9 runs per game. Carson-Newman's .198 average is its lowest monthly total since hitting .231 for the month of April in 2016.
The March swoon took the Eagles from second in the league in batting average to second to last. The Eagles now average .275 at the plate for the season.
"We've been killing it in the cages, we've been killing it off of live pitching in practices," head softball coach Michael Graves said. "We have to make that adjustment though in the games once we get in games."
For some context, the Eagles' .353 average for February ranks as the fourth-highest month-by-month average since 2013. The 2013 team hit .390 for the month of February to take the cake for the high water mark.
This year's month of March is by far the worst month Carson-Newman has had hitting the ball in that same span. In fact, it is just the third month where the Eagles have hit below .275. In April 2013, the Eagles hit .247 to go along with that .231 average from April 2016.
Abby Fiessinger (Benton, Ky.) and KaraLynne Levi (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) are the only two players for Carson-Newman hitting on the plus side of .250 for the last month. Fiessinger has a .375 average, while Levi is batting .310 in that span.
Fiessinger has clobbered eight doubles, and has four, two-double days in the last month. Levi homered four times in March.
The Eagles Carson-Newman has swept the last two doubleheaders with Tusculum played at the Vickee Kazee-Hollifield Softball Complex. The Eagles 9-1 and 7-6 wins in 2015 clinched Carson-Newman a South Atlantic Conference title. Carson-Newman leads the all-time series with the Pioneers 43-15. Carson-Newman has taken seven of the last nine in the series.
If the season were to end today, Carson-Newman would set a new South Atlantic Conference and school record for fielding percentage. The Eagles have a .978 fielding percentage, which ranks as the fifth-best tally in the country.
Tusculum has struggled at times this year in the circle. The Pioneers have a 3.97 team ERA, the highest in the SAC.
Carson-Newman will be looking to sweep its first league doubleheader in more than a year. The Eagles walked off twice against Wingate last year on March 30, but have either split or been swept in every conference doubleheader since.
First pitch between the Eagles and Pioneers is set for 2 p.m. Tuesday. Coverage will be available on the Eagle Sports Network at cneagles.com/live.