Eagles seek to snap streak as Catawba invades the Creek
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – After dropping both games of a doubleheader to Columbus State Wednesday, Carson-Newman (15-5) softball finds itself in a position it hasn't been in in 2013. The Eagles have lost three straight, but will try to rebound Saturday as South Atlantic Conference play begins with a doubleheader with Catawba (17-7).
Catawba swept a doubleheader with the Eagles last season before Carson-Newman won a game between the teams in the SAC tournament.
The Indians can boast of one of the top pitchers in the league in Carly Tysinger. The freshman phenom won the league's first three Pitcher of the Week awards.
"She's a complete pitcher," C-N head softball coach Vickee Kazee-Hollifield said. "She's got all the pitches. She throws it extremely well and does a good job of keeping batters off balance. We've been hitting a lot in practice so hopefully we'll be prepared for her."
Tysinger leads the conference in wins (12), shutouts (five) and strikeouts per game (9.97). She has nearly double the strikeouts as the next closest pitcher. Tysinger has sent 132 batters packing via a K while LMU's Samantha Smith comes in second with 64.
Carson-Newman will attempt to chase Tysinger from the circle with a lineup that continues to be the most potent in the SAC.
The entirety of the Eagles' order bats better than .300. Brittany Hefner (Talbot, Tenn.) leads Carson-Newman and the SAC in total bases (81), RBI (45) and homeruns (11). Hefner has more than double the RBI of the next closest player on the leaderboard, Alexis Burrell of Wingate and her 22.
"Offense is great, but we've got to get better on the defensive side of the ball," Kazee-Hollifield said. "We're giving up it seems like a walk and a hit an inning. We've got to cut down on that."
Sara Kelley (Ooltewah, Tenn.) will try to continue an eight-game hitting streak that's seen her raise her batting average 50 points to .328. The third baseman is second on the team with six homeruns and 19 RBI.
"We've got to learn how to finish," Kazee-Hollifield said. "In our games now, I don't care how far ahead you are, you have to finish the job."
The Eagles and Indians get rolling at 1 p.m. Saturday. Live video and stats are available on the Coca-Cola Eagle Sports Network on cneagles.com.