KODAK, Tenn. – Behind strong efforts on the mound and a robust offense, the seventh-seeded Anderson baseball team pulled off an upset by knocking off sixth-seeded Carson-Newman, 9-4, in the opening round of the 2019 Pilot/Flying J South Atlantic Conference Baseball Championship, Thursday night at Smokies Stadium.
Anderson (20-29) jumped out to an early lead and made it hold up, while winning four of its last five decisions and advances to meet top-seeded Newberry, Friday at noon. With the win, the Trojans snapped a six-game skid at hands of Carson-Newman.
Carson-Newman (31-18), which entered the postseason as one of the hottest teams in the conference, had its' win streak halted at nine games.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
Redshirt junior Dillon Carpenter was 3-for-3 at the plate and reached base in all six trips to the plate. The Charlotte, N.C., native posted a three-run double, two singles, a pair of walks (one intentional) and was hit by a pitch in the eighth inning. He finished the night with three RBI and three runs scored. Left fielder Matthew Overton added a single, a solo home run and also drove in a run with a bases-loaded walk in the eighth. Senior Brandon Odachowski was 2-for-4 with a pair of singles and a walk, with senior Jackson Strange notching two singles and three RBI.
Sophomore second baseman Will Lindsey posted a pair of singles and scored two runs in five at-bats, while Chandler Castleberry reached on a single, a walk and was hit by a pitch. Redshirt junior Joseph Strange also reached on a single and a walk.
Senior Will Gee (5-6) captured the win after allowing just three runs, while scattering nine hits over six full innings. He fanned four batters and walked just one. Senior reliever Christian Hendrix tossed 1 1/3 innings of relief and gave up one run on four hits. Freshman right-hander Lucas Smith worked the final 1 2/3 innings and did not surrender a hit or walk a better, while recording three punchouts.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Trojans jumped out to an early 3-0 lead with a run in the top of the first inning and added two more in the top half of the third, while Gee held Carson-Newman scoreless through the first four innings and limited the Eagles to just three singles through four frames.
AU built a 6-0 advantage by sending seven batters to the plate in the top of the fourth, with Carpenter's one-out, three-run double providing the damage.
Carson-Newman used back-to-back, two-out doubles in the bottom of the fifth to trim AU's lead to 6-3, but Overton's third homer of the season – a shot over the left-field wall – rebuilt the Trojan advantage to four runs.
The Trojans sent eight batters to the plate and added two more runs in the eighth, with C-N notching a run with one out in the bottom of the eighth to round out the scoring.
• As the eighth seed in last year's SAC Tournament, AU trounced Lenoir-Rhyne, 16-2, in the opening contest.
• After winning three games in last year's SAC Championship, the Trojans are now 4-2 in the postseason event over the past two seasons.
• The Trojans are 5-6 overall in four appearances in the SAC Championship.
• Will Lindsey extended his hitting streak to six games.
• Trevor Weisner, Dillon Carpenter and Cody Adams all stretched their hitting streaks to five games.
• Chandler Castleberry has reached base safely in his last 21 games.
• AU has averaged nearly 11 hits and eight runs per game over their last eight outings.
• Trojan pitchers have allowed fewer than six runs per game over the last 11 contests.
• AU hurlers have averaged just 2.1 walks per game over the last 11 contests.
• Carson-Newman used eight pitchers on the night, including five hurlers in the eighth inning.
The Trojans advance to meet eighth-ranked and top-seeded Newberry, Friday at noon, with the double-elimination portion of the championship being played Friday – Monday.