JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. --- The Carson-Newman University baseball team rallied with three runs in the eighth inning and held off a late rally in the ninth as the Eagles edged visiting Tusculum University 4-2 Friday afternoon at the Silver Diamond Complex in South Atlantic Conference play.
Tusculum (19-11, 7-3 SAC) out-hit the Eagles by a 12-7 margin, but the Pioneers left 12 runners on base and hit into three double plays as TU has its four-game winning streak halted.
Trailing 2-1 and facing NCAA Division II National Pitcher of the Week Charles Hall, C-N's Ethan Goforth and John Sharpe led off with back-to-back singles. Malik Kyle bunted the two base runners into scoring position. Tyler Thompson hit a single to bring in Goforth with the tying run. An outfield throwing error on the play brought in Sharpe with the go-ahead run and moving Thompson to third. TU reliever Christian Cuba took over for Hall and he would give up a sacrifice fly to Michael Wroth to plate an insurance run.
In the top of the ninth, C-N reliever Hunter Long (1-0) got a pair of pop ups to bring the Eagles one out away from the win. But Tusculum battled as Daulton Martin reached on an infield single and Bryson Ford lined a single up the middle to put the tying runs on base. But Long ended the game when Nate Montgomery lined out to the shortstop for the final out.
Hall (4-1) suffers his first loss of the season as he went 7.1 innings, allowed four runs (3 earned) on seven hits, two walks and posted 11 strikeouts. Hall, who established a D-II single-game national record with 22 strikeouts a week ago against Queens in his last outing, has struck out double-digit batters for a remarkable seventh straight outing. His 99 strikeouts this year are the most in the country and are already the third-most in school history.
C-N starter Greg Valentine held the Pioneers to two runs as he scattered nine hits, walked one and posted three strikeouts.
TU had a golden chance to break through in the second inning as Montgomery and Bradley Evans led off with consecutive singles. But a fly out and a double play ended the threat.
TU scored its second run of the game when Martin led off the sixth with a solo blast to right field for his team-leading seventh home run of the season.
The Eagles got the run back in the bottom of the sixth as Goforth led off with a walk, moved to second on a wild pitch and scored on Kyle's one-out double to left. Thompson singled to put two runners aboard, but Hall ended the sixth with a fly out and a strikeout.
In the seventh, TU placed the first two batters on base as Zack Finchum singled and DeHaven walked. After a pop up on a bunt attempt, Valentine was relieved by Nick Adkins who got a strikeout and a foul out to keep it a one-run game.
Martin went 3-for-5 at the plate to lead the Pioneers, while the trio of Montgomery, Evans and Garrett Dupuis all had two hits for the visitors. Thompson was the lone player in the C-N line-up to finish with multiple hits.
The two teams will wrap up the three-game SAC series on Saturday with a noon doubleheader.