Eagles play long ball in doubleheader split with Railsplitters

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – The Carson-Newman Eagles (11-8, 6-6 South Atlantic Conference) smacked five home runs against the Lincoln Memorial Railsplitters (10-5-1, 8-3 SAC) as the Eagles won game one 6-3 and fell in game two 10-7 Saturday afternoon at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex.

"We were better today," head coach Tom Griffin said of his team's overall effort. "We were better in a lot of facets. There were more positives than there were negatives. I love the way we competed today and got after it."

GAME ONE: Carson-Newman  6  Lincoln Memorial  3

The Eagles surged out of the gates in the top of the first inning when junior center fielder Evan Kirkpatrick (Jefferson City, Tenn.) singled to set up junior left fielder Bo Ausmus (Jefferson City, Tenn.) who crushed the first pitch he saw over the fence in left field to put the home team on top 2-0. Junior right fielder Cody Fox (Seymour, Tenn.) laced a triple to the gap in right center and came in to score on a single by junior shortstop Bryan Everhart (Greeneville, Tenn.).

After the Railsplitters pulled within two runs in the fourth inning, Ausmus belted his second round tripper of the day on a 1-0 pitch that cleared the fence in left center to make it a 4-1 Eagle lead.

Senior right-hander Dustin Dunagan (Winder, Ga.) ran into trouble one time in the ball game as he faced seven batters in the sixth inning. The righty allowed a leadoff single to center fielder Jonathan Lowe who scored on a sacrifice fly by Josh Coker. Designated hitter Colin Buckner singled home a run and the Carson-Newman advantage was just one run.

Ausmus drew a walk on six pitches to start the bottom of the eighth inning. After a strikeout, Fox blasted a 0-1 pitched well over the fence down the line in left field to extend the Eagle lead to 6-3.

Dunagan retired the final nine batters of the game as he earned his first nine-inning complete game of his career and his second consecutive complete game. The senior threw 106 pitches allowing six hits and two walks with five strikeouts to improve to 2-1 on the season.

"I think the mentality he is bringing to the table," Griffin said of his starting pitcher's success. "His stuff has always been good. Believing in his stuff has been the inconsistency. There has been a conviction in his last two outings. I'm very proud of his efforts."

GAME TWO: Lincoln Memorial  10  Carson-Newman  7

Lincoln Memorial jumped on Eagle starter Vince Apicella (Dillsburg, Pa.) in the top of the first plating three runs in the inning capped by a two-run opposite field blast by the left-handed hitting Coker.

Sophomore designated hitter Joe Tipton (Dandridge, Tenn.) led off the bottom of the stanza with his second home run of the season, on a 2-0 pitch that just cleared the fence in right center.

The Railsplitters blew the game wide open in the top of the third inning when they sent 11 men to the plate. Eagle pitching plunked three different batters in the frame as Lowe delivered the big blow, a grand slam over the centerfield wall that put the Eagles in a 10-1 hole.

Carson-Newman was not quite done. After scoring a run in the third inning on a passed ball, the home club exploded for five runs in the fifth inning. Kirkpatrick laced a double down the left field line to score senior second basemen Trace Rogers (Simpsonville, S.C.). Tipton scored on a wild pitch. With two runners on base and two outs, Fox hit his third home run in as many ball games with a moon shot over the left center field wall to make it a 10-7 deficit.

In the last of the seventh inning, Kirkpatrick drew a walk with one out. Ausmus lined a double to the wall in left field and the Eagles had the tying run coming to the plate with just one out. Sophomore first basemen Shade Jett (Talbott, Tenn.) and Fox struck out swinging to end the ball game.

Between the two contests, Ausmus went 4-for-6 with two homers, three RBI and three runs scored while Fox went 4-for-8 with a pair of blasts, five RBI and three runs scored.

"You want consistency," Griffin said of his expectations for this week. "We're not playing our best baseball. The other encouraging thing is that we all felt in the last inning that we were still going to win the game."

Carson-Newman will make the trek west to take on Trevecca Nazerene Tuesday afternoon for a 2 p.m. first pitch. Pregame coverage begins at 1:50 p.m. on the Eagle Sports Network.

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