Lady Eagles pick up doubleheader sweep behind Kelley’s big day
Carson-Newman’s Brittany Hefner waits to make a tag on Thursday.
JEFFERSON CITY – Sara Kelley (Ooltewah, Tenn.) bombed a pair of home runs and laced a double to right field to match the school record for total bases as a part of a six-RBI day that helped guide Carson-Newman (2-0) to a doubleheader sweep of Lees-McRae (0-6).
The Eagles run-ruled the Bobcats 8-0 in game one before a 4-0 win in the second half of the twin bill.
Kelley’s 10 total bases tie her with teammate Brittany Hefner (Talbott, Tenn.), Bri Shoemake and Whitney Hickam for the single game record.
Kelley also joins Hefner and former Eagles Mary Shealey and Sara Little as the only players to homer twice in a single game this decade.
“She’s a senior and every year that young lady has gotten better,” C-N head coach Vickee Kazee-Hollifield said.
“She used to be a line drive hitter, but now she can send the ball so far. That’s what’s fun about this team too; four through nine in the order can put it out of the park.”
The Eagles improve to 22-3 in opening game contests and 46-4 in games that are a part of opening day doubleheaders
Game one: C-N 8, Lees-McRae 0
Carson-Newman’s offense took a moment to get rolling in game one, but when it did, it started with a bang.
The Eagles went down one-two-three in the first inning; however, Hefner led off the second with a screaming double through the heart of the infield. Up came Kelley, who homered in her first at bat of the season on a 1-0 count to put the Eagles up 2-0.
C-N kept the offense rolling in the third after back-to-back singles to start the inning from Braleigh Angel (Hixson, Tenn.) and Elayana Siebert (Knoxville, Tenn.). With both runners in scoring position, Kelley lanced a line drive into right that plated both runners to push the Eagles’ lead to four.
Kelley would strike again in the fifth after Hefner tripled to right to lead off the inning. This time, Kelley’s homer would clear the pine trees in right to put the Eagles ahead 6-0. C-N would add another run in the inning when starting pitcher Sarah Howard (Georgetown, Ky.) grounded out to second to bring Audrey Woodby (Knoxville, Tenn.) in from third.
C-N completed the run rule win off a Hefner RBI. Hefner reached on a fielder’s choice to second while Angel strode home.
Howard picked up the complete game shutout and nearly pulled off a no-hitter in her first start for the Eagles.
The sophomore pitched 5.2 innings of no-hit ball; however, Sadie Slagle blooped a ball over Howard’s head into no man’s land behind the mound. Hefner fielded the ball cleanly from short, but her throw to first was a fraction of a second late.
Game two: C-N 4, Lees-McRae 0
Carson-Newman’s offense stalled out in the second game of the doubleheader; however, the Eagles defense remained strong.
Kalyn Davis (Danville, Ky.) secured the win in her first career start. She only allowed four base runners in her complete game shutout, but the Eagles erased three of those – one with a pickoff, one with a double play and one with a cannon from Hayley Burnette (Rossville, Ga.) to catch a runner stealing at second.
“I think coach Nancy Branim called a good game,” Kazee-Hollifield said. “For the most part we had command of our pitches and worked ahead in the count and that’s always good to see.”
The Eagles got their run production in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings. Woodby sliced a single through the right side in the fourth to open up the scoring after Hefner made it to third thanks to a double and then a passed ball.
The fifth started with a white hot shot into center from Brittany Bass (Auburn, Ga.) that resulted in her standing on third base. A ground ball to second from Kelli Hensley (Knoxville, Tenn.) brought her home.
Lees-McRae pitchers Celeste Shepherd and Charlie Dutton walked in a pair of runs in the sixth to round out the scoring.
The Eagles hit the road Friday for their first ever meeting with Fort Valley State.