Eagles split conference opener with Catawba

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (16-6, 1-1 SAC) picked up a win in a pitcher's duel with Catawba (18-8, 1-1 SAC), but dropped the second game of a doubleheader with the Indians because of errors Saturday afternoon at the Lady Eagle Softball Complex to open SAC play.

Game one: Carson-Newman 3, Catawba 1

Carson-Newman's Cassie Lyons (Knoxville, Tenn.) and Catawba's Carley Tysinger battled in a pitchers' duel, but a three-run fourth inning was enough for the Eagles to claim a conference opening victory. 

Catawba opened the game with a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a sacrifice fly from Sydney Hyder to score Amanda Terry from third. 

However, Lyons (7-5) and the rest of the Eagles defense would shut the door on the Indians for the rest of the game.  As a result, the three-time SAC pitcher of the week Tysinger (12-2) was shackled with just her second loss of the year.   Catawba would get just two base runners past second the rest of the game. 

The Eagles would crack the scoreboard in the fourth inning with three unanswered that would prove to be the difference.  Following back-to-back-to-back singles by Bri Shoemake (Ooltewah, Tenn.), Brittany Hefner (Talbot, Tenn.) and Sara Kelley (Ooltewah, Tenn.) to juice the bases, Bethany Davis (Nicholasville, Ky.) knocked a little looper down the right field line to plate two and give C-N a 2-1 advantage.

A Braleigh Angel (Hixson, Tenn.) single into right would bring around Kelley to round out the scoring for the Eagles. 

Catawba was never able to put the tying run on the rest of the game. 

Game two: Catawba 9, C-N 3

Carson-Newman errors doomed the Eagles in game two.  Catawba used a big second inning aided by three C-N errors.  The Indians took a 5-1 lead in that frame that the Eagles would be unable to surmount. 

Three of the Indians five runs in the inning were unearned.  Gina Gerome reached on an error by Caitlyn Lance at first before an Emily Honeycutt walk.  After a Casey Baucom single to center to score Tysinger from third, the Eagles' wheels fell off.

An Amanda Terry double into left scored two Indians to make it a 3-1 Catawba advantage.  However, on a Mollie Kovalcin popup up to first, Shoemake made a two-run error trying to make an out at the plate that resulted in two more unearned runs coming across in the form of Terry and Baucom.  Two fly outs ended the inning with two runners in scoring position for the Indians.

The Eagles countered with a run in the home half of the third thanks to a bloop shot to center from Kelley to score Elayna Siebert (Knoxville, Tenn.) from third. 

Kaitie Sims (Soddy-Daisy, Tenn.) suffered the first loss of her career to fall to 9-1 in the circle. 

Carson-Newman returns home Wednesday to face LMU. 

-CN-