Merriken goes deep in Tornados doubleheader loss to Eagles

Brevard falls 6-3, 5-3 against Carson-Newman

Jefferson City, Tenn. - The Tornados fell in both games in the doubleheader against Carson-Newman on Saturday afternoon as Brevard saw comebacks fall short in both contests in falling 6-3 and 5-3.

Brevard falls to 8-9 (4-4 SAC) on the season, while Carson-Newman improves to 8-11 (5-3 SAC).

Game One: Carson-Newman 6, Brevard 3
Box Score

Eric Renegar, Champ Stuart, Chad Funkhouser and Kramer Clark all had multiple hits for the Tornados, but Carson-Newman rode a complete game performance by Robby Thigpen in recording the 6-3 victory in the series opener against the Tornados.

Johnathon Chaplain (1-2) suffered the loss, pitching five innings while striking out six against the Eagles, while Thigpen (3-1) retired seven on strikes in the victory for Carson-Newman.

Mason Guymon brought in the first run of the contest with an RBI double to right centerfield, scoring Lance Rorex from second base to put the Eagles up early. A bunt single advanced Rorex to third, before Zach Long brought him home with a sacrifice fly to put the Eagles up 2-0.

Long brought home his second RBI of the contest in the fifth, scoring Philip Duncan with a base hit to put another run across the plate for Carson-Newman. Rorex added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth, driving in Lucas Mohon and Ben McKinney to put the Eagles up 5-0 heading into the final three innings.

Brevard put their first run across the plate in the top of the eighth as Cody Queen brought in Clark with a sacrifice fly, ending the shutout bid. Mohon answered with a solo home run to lead off the bottom of the frame to keep the advantage at 6-1.

The Tornados attempted a comeback in the final frame as Stuart led off the inning with a double and moved to third on Funkhouser’s single. Christian Christopoulos drove Stuart in with a sacrifice fly to left field and Renegar added an RBI single in the frame, but Thigpen closed out the game retiring the final batter to take the win.

Game Two: Carson-Newman 5, Brevard 3
Box Score

Zach Merriken drilled a two-run home run for the Tornados in the top of the sixth inning, following a leadoff triple by Robinson, but a bases-clearing double by Bo Ausmus gave the Eagles an early lead they would not relinquish in completing the sweep on the first day of action at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex.

Dylan Lee (2-1) suffered his first loss on the season, going 2.1 innings, while Casey Smith pitched 3.2 innings of shutout baseball in relief. Chris Armstrong (2-2) went five innings for the Eagles in recording the victory, while Ryan Fillers picked up his second save of the season in the contest.

Brevard struck first in the contest as Merriken reached on a single to lead off the top of the second inning. Merriken advanced to around the bases, reaching third with two outs before Randy O’Dell singled through the right side of the infield scoring Merriken to give the Tornados their first run of the contest.

Carson-Newman answered with four in the bottom half of the frame as Lucas Mohon led off the inning with a base hit and a walk and a BC error loaded the bases with one out. Ausmus followed with a double down the left field line, clearing the bases to give C-N the early advantage. Phillip Duncan brought him home with a groundout later in the inning to put the Eagles up 4-1 after two innings of play.

A pair of walks and a wild pitch chased Lee from the contest and Lance Reed made the Tornados pay, driving in Ben McKinney with a one-out single to push the lead to four. Smith retired the next two C-N batters on strikes to end the Carson-Newman threat.

Brevard cut into the lead in the top of the sixth as Robinson led off the frame with his first triple of the season. Merriken followed with a home run, clearing the centerfield fence and ending the afternoon for Armstrong as Brevard halved the deficit at 5-3. However, Brandon Timmeron cut the Brevard run short retiring the side to keep the Tornados at bay.

After the Eagles were set down in the bottom half of the sixth, Fillers retired the Tornados in the top of the seventh inning to close out the game in favor of the hosts.

The Tornados and Eagles conclude the South Atlantic Conference weekend series on Sunday, March 4th, with first pitch of the nine-inning contest coming at 1 p.m.

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