FORREST CITY, N.C. – After beating LMU (26-24) 8-3 in a morning affair to earn a spot in the SAC championship game, Carson-Newman (22-26) faltered in the second meeting between the two teams 9-4 as LMU picked up its first ever SAC baseball tournament championship.
The Railsplitters got three-RBI days from Nick Pressley and Josh Coker, while Wes Fox fired a complete game on the bump for his fifth win of the season.
Evan Jurjevic (New Carlisle, Ind.) was two-for-four with an RBI and a run scored to lead the Carson-Newman offense. Cody Fox (Seymour, Tenn.) went one-for-three with a double, RBI and a run scored, while Kevin Franchetti (Highland, Ind.) added a double and an RBI for the Eagles.
Carson-Newman jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. A leadoff single from Joe Tipton (Dandridge, Tenn.) followed by a Brandon Roberts (Davie, Fla.) single put runners on first and second. Tipton would advance on consecutive wild pitches, scoring the game's first run to put the Eagles on top 1-0. Jurjevic added an RBI single to make it 2-0.
LMU had the answer with three runs in the bottom of the frame. Scott Miller ripped a one-out single up the middle, then went to third on a Rodriguez single. They would both score when Nick Pressley connected on his first homer of the year, a three-run shot down the left field line, over the 25-foot wall to give the Railsplitters a 3-2 lead.
Carson-Newman regained the lead with two runs in the third. Fox plated the first run with an RBI double off the wall in left, while Franchetti's RBI double off the wall in left center drove home Fox to give the Eagles a 4-3 advantage.
Lincoln Memorial had the emphatic response, scoring five runs in the third. Andre Rodriguez tied the game with an RBI single. Pressley followed with a single to load the bases for LMU. Josh Coker cleared the bases with a three-run double to right center, putting the Railsplitters on top by three. Coker drove in nine runs in Lincoln Memorial's two victories on Sunday. Colin Buckner plated Coker with an RBI single to make it 8-4.
A sacrifice fly from Rodriguez in the sixth plated Brandon Morris to make the final margin 9-4.
Wes Todd went the distance to pick up his fifth win of the season, tossing 124 pitches, allowing four runs on eight hits while striking out three to improve to 5-1. Evan Faithfull (Hingham, Mass.) took the loss, falling to 2-1. He allowed seven runs on six hits in 2 1/3 innings, striking out one and walking one.
Lincoln Memorial will learn its postseason fate when the NCAA Tournament bracket is released on May 12.
Carson-Newman hits the road Tuesday for a matchup with nationally-ranked Lander at 3 p.m.