JEFFERSON CITY, – Carson-Newman (3-1) got potent pitching and a couple timely hits to squeak out an eighth consecutive doubleheader sweep over Lees-McRae (2-6) Saturday at the Vickee Kazee-Hollfield Softball Complex.
The Eagles took game one 2-1 before triumphing in the nightcap 1-0.
“The difference between today and King is that we kept the ball down,” head softball coach Michael Graves said. “We kept the ball moving down today. It certainly showed on the scoreboard.”
Lacie Rinus (Murfreesboro, Tenn.) dealt a three-hit shutout in the nightcap. NicKollette Ferguson (Erwin, Tenn.) logged a 5.1 inning start with one run allowed before Makayla McCarthy notched her second career save.
Katie Eakes (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) led C-N at the plate with three hits in six at bats and a go-ahead run in game two. Leah Sohm (Knoxville, Tenn.) also tallied three hits on the day.
“Katie golfs a lot,” Graves said. “The first couple swings she tried to go oppo. I told her to put the wedge up and see how far she could hit it with the driver. We’re certainly glad she got going.”
Carson-Newman was just 3-for-17 with runners in scoring position.
“My biggest pet peeve is leaving runners on base,” Graves said. “You can’t hit ground balls to third base when you’ve got runners on first and second. That’ll be our focus from here on out.”
Carson-Newman grabbed the lead in the third with some timely hitting. Leah Sohm walked then stole second. Macey Hughes (Corryton, Tenn.) golfed a ball to shallow centerfield. Hughes reached on the base hit, then raced to second as the centerfielder Sarah Beth Thomas ole’d the ball off of a bounce. That allowed Sohm to sprint home on the error to give C-N a 1-0 lead.
The Eagles added to it with two out thanks to KaraLynne Levi (Murfreesboro, Tenn.). She shot a double to the gap in right center, plating Hughes for a 2-0 lead.
Lees-McRae got a run back in the top of the fifth. Abby West tallied her first hit of the sending a line drive to left center. She moved to second on a sacrifice and scored on a Thomas single back up the box to cut the Eagle lead to 2-1.
The Bobcats threatened again in the sixth, getting the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position. But Makayla McCarthy (El Cajon, Calif.) doused the flames and retired two with two in scoring position to help cement the win.
She mowed down the Bobcats in order in the seventh.
NicKollette Ferguson (Erwin, Tenn.) logged the win in the circle. She worked a 5.1-inning start surrendering seven hits, a run and struck out two.
McCarthy worked a flawless final 1.2 innings in relief. She fanned two.
Charlsy Traylor took the complete-game loss for Lees-McRae to drop to 0-1. She gave up seven hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
GAME TWO: Carson-Newman 1, Lees-McRae 0
Carson-Newman got all the offense it needed in the sixth inning. Katie Eakes (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.) clobbered a 2-2 pitch over the wall to lead off the frame and stake Carson-Newman to a 1-0 lead.
That would be all the offense the Eagles would require to collect the win.
C-N missed out on chances in the second and third innings when it had runners on scoring position with less than two outs. The Eagles came up empty both times.
Lees-McRae only had one runner get into scoring position on the day.
Rinus got the win to improve to 1-1 on the year. She fanned six and only walked one in her three-hit shutout.
Raygan Rensing was a hard-luck loser. She gave up six hits and the lone run on the home run. She struck out three and plunked two.
The Eagles return to action Sunday against Tiffin. First pitch is at noon. Coverage is available on the Eagle Sports Network at cneagles.com/live. =