Yocom, Eagles shut out Newberry, claim series
Carson-Newman’s Evan Kirpkpatrick, left, barely beats the tag from Newberry catcher Chas Goodwin to score a run during Sunday’s home South Atlantic Conference game at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex in Jefferson City. The Eagles won 2-0 to win the series over the visiting Wolves.
JEFFERSON CITY — It hasn’t been the season Carson-Newman right-hander Quinton Yocom expected to have, but with a 2-0 complete-game shutout win over Newberry Sunday at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex, Yocom might be peaking at the right time.
Yocom (3-4) spread eight hits across nine innings with only one walk and seven strikeouts.
“I really got my off-speed working,” Yocom said. “My location with my changeup and curveball was huge. In the past, I couldn’t find the zone with it. Today, I got everything working and it paid off for me big time.”
Carson-Newman (19-21, 11-13 SAC) came into the weekend on a three-game skid and added to it with a 4-2 loss in the series opener against Newberry (20-21, 11-13 SAC) Saturday. The Eagles gutted out a 2-1 victory in game two of the three-game series Saturday night with Vince Apicella on the hill. It was a performance that inspired Yocom to flip his season Sunday and give C-N the series win, 2-1.
“I tried to keep them off-balance, mixed up my pitches and tried to keep them guessing,” Yocom said. “Our season is on the line. If we’d lost yesterday, the season could have been over. I love that confidence that yesterday’s pitchers gave us. It’s good to have three guys that can go out there and chuck it.”
C-N needs every win it can get to stay eligible for the South Atlantic Conference postseason tournament. At 11-13, the Eagles are tied with Newberry for the sixth spot. Only eight teams make the tournament and with just six conference games to go on the schedule, C-N couldn’t afford to lose Sunday and Yocom delivered every time he needed to.
“He (Yocom) called his own game today for the most part,” C-N coach Tom Griffin said. “It was his game and he was in complete control. His location, his breaking ball, his change-up and his great demeanor on the mound. He and (C-N catcher) J.D. Cowart were outstanding.”
Center fielder Evan Kirkpatrick finally joined the home run club, belting a solo shot in the third to give Carson-Newman a 1-0 lead. Kirkpatrick followed that up with a double in the bottom of the fifth. Kirkpatrick would end up scoring by barely missing a tag at home on a Peter Rajkovich RBI, making him directly responsible for both runs on the board. Kirkpatrick finished the game 2-for-3 with an RBI.
“The guys had been giving me a hard time,” Kirkpatrick said. “They were saying I wasn’t in the home run club yet. I had to prove them wrong today. Luckily I got a good pitch and I took it out. He (Newberry pitcher Jake Nidiffer) got down early so I figured he would throw me some fastballs. He did and I threw my bat at it and gave it a ride.”
Nidiffer (3-2) took the loss, going 6.1 innings, giving up four hits, two runs and no walks with six strikeouts.
Tusculum 10, Brevard 2
BREVARD, N.C. — Jeremiah Tullidge went 3-for-4, while John-Austin Shepard pitched seven strong innings in Tusculum College’s 10-2 South Atlantic Conference baseball win over Brevard College Sunday afternoon at Gil Coan Field.
The Pioneers (24-14, 13-10 SAC) capture the weekend series 2-1 for TC’s fourth consecutive series triumph and sixth overall for the season. Tusculum’s 13-10 league mark has TC currently in fourth in the SAC standings.
Tullidge also accounted for a pair of RBI with a double and scored two runs. Scott Gibson posted a 2-for-3 performance.
Shepard, who was making his third mound start of the season, scattered six hits, allowed one run, two walks and five strikeouts in his seven innings of work to even his record at 4-4.
Brevard plated a run in the bottom of the first inning, but Tusculum answered with a four-run third inning which was sparked by a RBI doubles from Tullidge and Heath Comerford and a two-run homer off the bat of Taylor Foster, his fourth round-tripper of the season. Comerford’s double was his 12th of the season to extend his hitting streak to 13 consecutive games and has reached base safely in his last 28 straight outings.
TC took advantage of a pair of BC errors in the fourth inning to score three times for a 7-1 Tusculum lead. TC added another run in the fifth on a Chris Waylock bases-loaded walk, and two more tallies in the sixth frame as the Pioneers eclipsed the 10-run plateau for a 12th time this year.
-By Adam Greene, Tribune Correspondent