Carson-Newman Baseball: Tom Griffin Previews Northwood 2-16-17
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – In its final non-conference tune-up prior to start of South Atlantic Conference play, Carson-Newman plays host to Northwood for a three-game series at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex beginning Friday at 2 p.m. with the series wrapping up with a noon games on Saturday and Sunday.
"When you get a team coming from up north that is playing for the first time you're not sure what you are going to get," Carson-Newman coach Tom Griffin said. "They're not sure what to expect as they get started. I got a chance to watch them work out yesterday on our field. They are a physical looking group. We know they are returning a lot of players from last year. We are going to get an opponent that is really excited about playing. I know we are going to be able to match that intensity and passion."
2016 was the first season that Carson-Newman and Northwood met on the diamond as the Eagles captured three of the four contests on Feb. 19-20, 2016 winning a pair of one-run games and a 12-6 affair while dropping a 6-0 decision.
On day one, Ryan Addington hit a walk-off double to left field in the bottom of the seventh inning to win game one 3-2 while the second game saw a six-hit shutout tossed by Northwood in a 6-0 victory.
The final day of the series saw C-N win game one 12-6, which featured the first three-triple outing by the program since a 24-18 win over Anderson (S.C.) on Feb. 13, 2008, while the pitching staff dominated the Timberwolves (2-3) en route to a 3-2 win in the second contest. The hurlers struck out 20 T'wolves and walked just seven batters in 16 innings.
Senior Brandon Roberts finished the day 4-for-7 with seven RBIs, while Hunter Wood went 2-for-3 with a home run and three runs batted in during his game one start.
Overall, C-N is 10-3 against teams from the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference having played Ashland, Grand Valley State and Tiffin.
A season ago the Timberwolves recorded a 25-24 overall record that included a 14-16 mark in league play for a seventh-place finish just missing the league tournament in a conference that saw three teams make it to the postseason.
In the 11-team GLIAC, Northwood was pegged for a fifth place finish in the preseason coaches' poll marking its highest prediction as a member of the league dating back to 2011.
The biggest piece missing from the 2016 group is second-team All-GLIAC catcher Cody Kuzniczci. He led the team in batting average (.363), slugging percentage (.549), runs (46), hits (70), doubles (18), home runs (six) and total bases (106). The backstop signed with the Quebec Capitales of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball.
Despite the loss of Kuzniczci, it is a veteran group returning with 12 seniors and 10 juniors led by honorable mention all-league pitcher Shawn Larner and third baseman Dan Pulver. Larner made 21 appearances out of the bullpen a year ago posting a 1.78 ERA racking up five saves. Pulver led the team in RBIs with 42 while tallying five triples.
Northwood begins its season Thursday afternoon with a doubleheader at Milligan before its trip to Mossy Creek. The Timberwolves do not play a home game until April 8 playing the first 26 games of the year away from home.
In 2016, coach Jordan Bischel's team was the best in the league at drawing walks at 214 on the year while being hit by 61 pitches but a .287 batting average push the squad to the middle of the pack in OBP at .389.
In the field, Northwood was 168th in D2 with a .954 fielding percentage while walking an average of four batters per game and punching out just six batters per nine innings.
Each game of the series will be brought to fans with a video and audio stream on cneagles.com/live starting 10 minutes prior to the first pitch on the Eagle Sports Network with "The Appalachian Electric Cooperative Countdown to First Pitch".
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