JEFFERSON CITY — The Carson-Newman Eagles baseball team (4-4) will begin South Atlantic Conference play with a three-game series against the No. 19 Tusculum Pioneers (5-2) at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex with games on Friday and Saturday.
The Eagles and Pioneers will begin the series with Friday’s 2 p.m. tilt, before playing a doubleheader on Saturday, with the lid lifter starting at noon.
Senior RHP Chris Armstrong (1-1, 2.53 ERA) will start Friday’s first game of the Tusculum series. The native of Blaine earned SAC Pitcher of the Week honors after getting the victory against no. 5 USC Aiken last Friday, pitching six and a third scoreless innings against the Pacers.
The Eagles will feature senior RHP Alex Britt (0-1, 4.38 ERA) in Saturday’s first game, while sophomore RHP Quinton Yocum (1-1, 4.38 ERA) will pitch in Saturday’s finale.
On Tuesday, the Eagles rallied for four runs in the bottom of the eighth to power past no. 7 Lander 5-3. The Eagles have now won two games over ranked opponents in their last four contests, defeating no. 5 USC Aiken 8-0 on Friday.
The Eagles were scheduled to play Maryville on Wednesday, but that contest was postponed due to rain.
Carson-Newman is led in hitting by sophomore Evan Kirkpatrick, who is hitting .444 (8-for-18) with six RBI. Sophomore second baseman Bo Ausmus leads the team with two homers and 9 RBI through the first eight games of the 2013 season.
Last season Tusculum swept the series against Carson-Newman, winning all three games at Pioneer Park in Greeneville.
The Pioneers are coming off a 48-10 record a year ago, leading the conference with 24 league wins while winning the SAC regular season and tournament titles. Tusculum, coached by 16th year head coach Doug Jones, was picked to finish tied for first with Catawba for the top spot in the preseason SAC coaches poll.
The Pioneers have won their last four games, sweeping a four-game set against Notre Dame (Ohio) this past weekend at Pioneer Park. Tusculum’s only two losses were to the hands of the no. 13 Catawba Indians on Feb. 3 in the Catawba Classic in Salisbury, N.C.