JEFFERSON CITY – Carson-Newman (22-6, 3-1 South Atlantic Conference) carried a pair of one-run leads into the seventh inning against Brevard (11-16, 0-4 SAC) at The Vick Wednesday afternoon. Needing insurance runs, the Eagles’ scored a combined 14 runs in the seventh to cinch off an 8-3, 15-5 doubleheader sweep of the Tornados.
“This is what I believe this team is capable of doing,” Carson-Newman head softball coach Vickee Kazee-Hollfield said. “They have the propensity to turn that on any time. That’s what we have to do – get that run production. We’re getting on base and timely hits are happening.”
The Eagles scored four runs in the seventh inning in game one before their nine-run seventh in game two. That inning represents the second most runs scored in a frame by C-N this season.
Caitlyn Lance (East Ridge, Tenn.) provided the clutch hits for Carson-Newman. She had a pair of bases-clearing doubles to cement both victories for the Eagles.
“I felt like a couple times that they were walking Hef in order to get to Lance,” Kazee-Hollifield said. “Any coach will smile when that next kid gets a key hit. She’s knocking in those runs and I’m happy to see that for her.”
Lance had six RBI between the two games. Kelli Hensley (Knoxville, Tenn.) reached base nine out of her 10 plate appearances while going six-for-seven at the dish. Jessica Morgan (Ooltewah, Tenn.) turned in a three-for-four day with three walks.
The Eagles had to deal with Brevard pitcher Jamie Hrobak, who entered the contest second in the SAC in strikeouts.
“With a pitcher like that, you have to be more aggressive than the pitch coming in,” Kazee-Hollifield said. “The frustrating part is watch the third strike come in; we have to be more ready to protect the plate in those situation.”
Game one: Carson-Newman 8, Brevard 3
Carson-Newman jumped out to a one-run lead in the first inning thanks to a leadoff single from Hensley and an RBI double to right from Brittany Hefner (Talbott, Tenn.).
The Eagles will build their lead to four runs after 4.5 innings thanks to RBI singles in the fourth from Elayna Siebert (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Brittany Bass (Duluth, Ga.) and a Morgan single to left in the fifth.
Brevard, however, would not go quietly into the night. The Tornados countered with a three-run fifth. A Dallas Heaton infield single to third brought in a run, as did a Casey Whitaker dropped sacrifice fly to right. The Tornados concluded their scoring in the fifth when Alyssa Miller stole home.
Kalyn Davis (Danville, Ky.) entered in place of starter Sarah Howard (Georgetown, Ky.) in the circle and got the Eagles out of the inning when Lauren Parker lined into a double play back to Davis.
C-N got more than enough insurance in the eighth inning to secure the victory. With the bases loaded and one out, Lance sent Hensley, Morgan and Hefner home to give the Eagles a four-run cushion.
Just in case that wasn’t enough, Siebert singled up the middle to bring in Lance and set the final margin at 8-3.
The Eagles were six-for-nine in the game with runners in scoring position.
Sarah Howard picked up the win after pitching the first 4.1 innings to move to 9-4 on the season. Davis got a save in relief – her second of the year – with 2.2 innings of shutout ball.
Hrobak took the loss to the Tornados to drop to 7-6 on the year. She fanned six Eagles but walked four on 135 pitches.
Game two: C-N 15,
The Eagles had to fight back from a three-run deficit in game two after Brevard jumped out to a 3-0 lead after three innings.
The Eagles were 0-4 this year when trailing after four, but they managed to buck that trend in the fifth. Carson-Newman brought 10 batters to the plate and scored six runs to take a lead it would not relinquish.
Audrey Woodby (Knoxville, Tenn.) doubled in Bass before scoring on a dropped fly ball by the centerfielder on a fly ball by Haley Taylor (Jefferson City, Tenn.). The Eagles tied the game on a Morgan single down the leftfield line.
That set the stage for Lance, who cranked a bases-clearing double inches fair down the left field line to produce a 6-3 lead for the Eagles.
Brevard would get two back in the bottom of the frame. The Tornados got one on a Kinsey Parish double to left center and another on a Michelle Ray single through the right side.
Again, needing an insurance run in the seventh, the Eagles got way more than necessary.
Back-to-back triples from Bass and Siebert extended the Eagles lead to three runs in the seventh. Woodby drove in her second run of the game with a single to center on a bloop shot and then came in on a passed ball. A two-RBI Sara Kelley (Ooltewah, Tenn.) double and Bass RBI double rounded out the Eagles scoring.
Howard collected her second win of the day, this one in relief of Davis. Howard went 4.2 innings, allowed five hits and two runs.
Alyssa Miller took the loss after surrendering the six runs in the fifth to fall to 2-6.
The Lady Eagles don’t wait long as they road Saturday for a doubleheader at Catawba at 1 p.m.
-From Contributing Reports