GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- The Carson-Newman baseball jumped out to a four-run lead and held off a pair of Tusculum rallies as the Eagles prevailed 7-4 Friday night at Pioneer Park in South Atlantic Conference action.
Carson-Newman (24-20, 14-11 SAC) scored all of its runs with two outs and got 2-for-4 performances from John Sharpe and Charlie Brown. The Eagles take over sole possession of third place in the league standings while Tusculum drops into a tie for fourth place with Lincoln Memorial.
The two teams will wrap-up the three-game series and the SAC regular season on Saturday with a 1 p.m. doubleheader.
C-N starter Dillon Cate tossed 6 1/3 strong innings as the right-hander allowed four runs on eight hits, with four walks and seven strikeouts to raise his record to 6-2 on the year. Reliever Greg Valentine recorded his first save of the year as he pitched 2 2/3 shutout innings allowing one hit, two walks and posted two strikeouts.
The two teams finished even in hitting as both accounted for nine hits each. Tusculum was led at the plate by Daulton Martin who went 2-for-5 including his team-leading 18th double of the season. Catcher Nate Montgomery also tallied a pair of hits in the loss.
Carson-Newman parlayed two hits and a Tusculum error in the game's first run in the opening inning with Brendan Campbell coming up with a two-out single up the middle.
The Eagles got a two-out, two-run single off the bat of Sharpe in the second inning to make it a 3-0 contest. C-N added a run in the fourth inning before Tusculum responded with a scoring tally in the fifth frame.
Carson-Newman got a run back in the top of the sixth as Brown singled and later scored on Brett Langhorne's two-out double, his 14th of the season to make it a 5-1 game. In the bottom of the sixth, Tusculum cut the Carson-Newman lead to two at 5-3 on Ford's two-run double to left centerfield.
The Eagles got the runs back in the top of the seventh as Ethan Goforth was hit by a pitch for a second time on the night and Jordan Griffin legged out a bunt single. The two moved up a base on a balk and both would score on Brown's two-run single to center for a 7-3 C-N lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, Jarel McDade hit a line drive over the left field wall for his team-leading 10th home run of the season to cut the C-N advantage to 7-4. Montgomery and Colby Skeen followed with back-to-back one-out singles. Valentine relieve Cate and got Zack Finchum to ground into an inning-ending double play.
TC reliever Mitch McCain retired the Eagles in order in the eighth with a pair of strikeouts. In the bottom of the frame, the Pioneers put together a two-out rally as Ford was hit by a pitch and Jake Wapinsky drew a walk. But Valentine struck out Martin to halt the rally.
The Eagles drew three walks in the ninth inning to load the bases with one out. Colin Johnston took over for McCain and got a strikeout and a ground out to end the inning to keep the Pioneers within reach.
In the bottom of the ninth, Montgomery got a one-out single which was followed by a Skeen being hit by a pitch and Finchum drawing a walk to load the bases and bring the potential game-winning run to the plate. The Eagles stayed with Valentine on the mound as he got an infield fly out and a fielder's choice put-out at second to end the game.
Tusculum starter Charles Hall (4-2) suffered the loss as he went six innings, allowed five runs (four earned), seven hits, three walks and seven strikeouts.