VIDEO: Press Conference
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Anderson (34-21) started the day with five straight hits and built a seven-run lead before withstanding a late rally from No. 21 Carson-Newman (29-12) to upset the Eagles and knock C-N out of the 2019 Southeast Regional.
The Trojans advance to the sub-regional championship game to face LMU Saturday at noon with the 8-5 win. The Trojans will need to win twice to secure a spot in the super regionals, while LMU only needs one win to move on.
"I'm proud of this team," Carson-Newman head softball coach Michael Graves said. "They did a great job all year long fighting to the finish, and they did that again today."
The Eagles outhit the Trojans 10-8, but Anderson made Carson-Newman pay for four hit batters and two walks. The Trojans went 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position, while the Eagles were 4-for-10.
Carson-Newman used small ball tactics to grab the lead in the top of the first. Lacie Rinus (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) led off the inning with an infield single to second. She moved to second and third on a pair of ground outs before Allison Rager (Elkview, W.Va.) knocked a ball over the head of the Trojans diving second baseman Kasey Grant to give C-N a 1-0 lead.
Anderson battled back quickly in the bottom of the first. The Trojans started with five straight hits to chase the starter Rinus from the game. Kayson Boatner tied the game with a double down the right field line.
"I felt bad for Lacie," Graves said. "I didn't think she threw poorly. Her ball was moving and Levi confirmed that. Lacie has been successful for us. However, Anderson just did a good job hitting the ball where we weren't, you'll win ball games like that."
Then, Morgan Charter and Breanna Hagerty gave the Trojans a 3-1 lead with singles up the middle and through the right side from Morgan Charter and Breanna Hagerty, respectively. An RBI fielder's choice from Sydney Belcher to second and a bloop knock to right from Gracie Williams gave the Trojans a 5-1 advantage when the dust settled.
The Trojans tallied two more in the bottom of the third with two-out RBI from Megan Majeski and Joshlyn Martin to stretch the advantage to 7-1. Another run came across in the bottom of the fourth on Sydney Belcher sacrifice fly to stretch the lead to 8-1.
Meanwhile, Harlie Duncan kept Carson-Newman off balance in the circle before the Eagles were able to get to her in the fifth.
"Hats off to Anderson's Harlie Duncan," Graves said. "She did a good job of keeping us off balance. Early in the game she got us to chase some balls in the dirt. Her ball moved and she pitched a great game."
Carson-Newman chipped away at the deficit in the top of the fifth. Rinus knocked a one-out double to right off the wall. Abby Fiessinger (Benton, Ky.) drove her 11th home run over the wall in right for a two-run shot off a 1-0 pitch to pull Carson-Newman within five, 8-3.
After a Caldwell double and Rager single, KaraLynne Levi (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) drove in the final run of the frame with a sacrifice fly to left to pull Carson-Newman within grand slam range, 8-4.
Kayla Pepper entered in the circle and finished out the game with two innings of two-hit, one-run ball.
Carson-Newman brought the tying run to the plate in the seventh. Rager poked a one-out double down the left field line. Levi followed with a base hit opposite field to right to score her and set the final margin at 8-5. The Eagles threatened for more. An error on a fielder's choice brought the tying run to the plate with one out. However pop ups to right and short ended the Eagles' season.
Duncan got the win in the circle to improve to 17-8. She struck out three and allowed four runs off eight hits. Pepper closed up shop on the win.
Rinus took the loss, allowing five hits and five runs without recording an out. She falls to 11-4.
Rinus and Rager led Carson-Newman at the plate. They both tallied three-hit days. Fiessinger and Levi both drove in two for C-N.
Martin and Belcher led the Trojans at the plate. Martin went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored. Belcher drove in two.