April 6, 2013

Top offenses on display as Eagles head to Anderson

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman (26-12, 8-4 South Atlantic Conference) heads to Anderson (30-9, 7-4 SAC) for a matchup between offensive powers with major implications on the SAC standings with three series left if the regular season. 

The Eagles are in third, a game back of league leading Tusculum and Mars Hill.  Anderson is a half game back of the Eagles in fourth and a half game ahead of Lenoir-Rhyne and Catawba. 

"The first conference game we played, I reminded our kids that we're playing for a conference championship," Carson-Newman head coach Vickee-Kazee Hollifield said. "The preparation stays the same and we've got the same chance that everybody else does."

The Trojans lead the league in team batting average (.341), runs (267) and hits (370), while C-N is tops in the SAC in home runs (45), and triples (16) and slugging (.546). 

Even individually, the teams battle for the top spots in several statistical categories.  Jessica Neidigh ranks first in the league in batting average with a .496 figure, while the Eagles' Brittany Hefner (Talbot, Tenn.) acts as a runner up with a .480 average. 

The leaders flip around with Hefner's 70 RBI to Danielle Swygert's 41.  Hefner is two RBI away from tying the school and SAC single season record set in 2001 by Staci Fish. 

Kazee-Hollifield said that makes the Eagles' pitching paramount.

"They're hitting the ball extremely well," Kazee-Hollifield said. "We have to do the job to keep them off balance at the plate.  They are one of the most aggressive teams in the batters' box that I've seen this year.  One through six in the order can hit the ball well."

Carson-Newman can boast of the top two homerun hitters in the league in Hefner – with a school record 17 – and Sara Kelley (Ooltewah, Tenn.).  Kelley's 10 homeruns are two off the old school record of 12. 

The Eagles have won four straight including three consecutive one-run games.  Anderson has lost three consecutive games.  The Trojans' game versus LMU which the Trojans lost 5-3 is not included in that streak.  It was completed under protest and will be resumed Monday in the third with the Railsplitters leading 5-0.       

First pitch Saturday is set for 1 p.m. 

-CN-