WINGATE, N.C. — Wingate reliever Kyle Brady fired 2.1 innings of perfect baseball to pick up his first save of the season as the Bulldogs held off the Carson-Newman Friday night in North Carolina.
The Eagles (13-11, 9-4 SAC) tied the game in the sixth before Wingate (16-12, 9-4 SAC) pushed a run across in the sixth and seventh to pull out the win.
C-N’s loss to the Bulldogs, coupled with a Catawba win over Lenoir-Rhyne creates a three-way tie atop the SAC standings halfway through league play.
The Eagles have lost four straight after winning four in-a-row.
Carson-Newman nearly snatched the lead in the sixth. With runners on the corners, Bo Ausmus tripled down the right field line. Peter Rajkovich easily scored from second, but Zach Long was gunned down at the plate trying to score from first.
A Kevin Franchetti single to third would score Ausmus to tie the game, but Wingate starter Ben Currie would get the Bulldogs out of the inning the next at bat when Cody Fox lined out to first.
Wingate would recapture the lead in the bottom half of the frame on a Bill Kreps triple.
The Eagles would threaten in the seventh, but Brady slammed the door on C-N. Carson-Newman had two on with one out when Rajkovich laid down a sacrifice bunt along the third base line to push Evan Kirkpatrick and Bryan Everhart into scoring position.
In a major jam, the Bulldogs turned to Brady in favor of Currie. After working the count full against Brandon Roberts, Brady got the freshman to fly out to center to end the inning and the threat.
The Eagles wouldn’t get another base runner the rest of the way as Brady retired seven straight to closeout the contest.
Ausmus and Franchetti provided the pop at the plate for the Eagles. Ausmus was one-for-two with a pair of RBI, while Franchetti belted his fifth home run of the season to complete a two-for-four, two-RBI day at the plate.
Carson-Newman’s three (Long), four (Ausmus) and five (Franchetti) hitters accounted for five of the Eagles six hits.
Wingate’s dominant hitter came in the form of Blake Prince, who was three-of-four at the dish with a pair of RBI.
When the Eagles got base runners, they were successful. Carson-Newman went four-of-eight at the dish with runners on base. However, the Eagles got the leadoff aboard in three innings and were just one-for-nine with two outs.
Chris Armstrong picked up the loss (4-3) after tossing 6.1 innings, striking out four and walking three. All six runs he surrendered were earned. The 10 hits Armstrong surrendered were a season high – he hadn’t given up more than three.
Ryan Fillers went 1.2 innings in relief for the Eagles. He struck out nearly half of the batters he faced.
The Bulldogs’ Ben Currie picked up the win to move to 3-1.