Rorex's walk-off caps sweep of Newberry in home finale
JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – Carson-Newman's third baseman Lance Rorex hit his first two career home runs as an Eagle, including a walk-off on the first pitch of the seventh inning in Game 2, to lead the Eagles to a South Atlantic Conference sweep of visiting Newberry on Saturday at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex. The Eagles controlled Game 1,winning 12-4. Rorex's blast led to a 7-6 final in Game 2.
With the wins, the Eagles move to 24-23 overall and finish the year 13-14 in South Atlantic Conference play. Newberry falls to 12-15 in SAC play and 19-27 overall. Both teams advance to this week's Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament beginning Thursday in Forest City, N.C.
Rorex was 3-for-4, (7-for-9 on the day) in his final game at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex including his first two home runs as an Eagle and a third line-drive double off the top of the fence in left.
Fellow senior Kyle Koeneman added two home runs in the sweep to stay among the nation's leader with 18 home runs on the season.
Game 1 – Carson-Newman 12, Newberry 4
Starter Chris Armstrong pitched C-N's fourth complete game of the season and Kyle Koeneman hit his 17th home run of the year as C-N never trailed in the opener, winning 12-4.
Armstrong (WP, 3-2) went the distance for the Eagles in his first start in two weeks. He scattered 10 hits, all singles, allowing three earned runs and striking out six.
C-N took it s first lead of the series in the bottom of the first when Lance Rorex chopped a single through the left side, scoring Zach Long. Long reached earlier in the inning with a single off the bare hand of Newberry starter Mario Rojas.
C-N took advantage of a handful of Newberry errors in the third to break the game open, taking a 5-0 lead. Long blasted a solo home run to left to lead off the inning and quickly give C-N a 2-0 lead.
The Eagles would wrap a pair of walks and a hit batsman around back-to-back RBI singles by Rorex and Evan Kirkpatrick to extend the lead. Rojas' throw to second on Bo Ausmus' sacrifice bunt attempt pulled shortstop Brendan Sheridan off the bag to keep the bases loaded with no outs.
Reliever Jonathan Rosenberg came on to record three straight outs to pitch out of the jam without any further damage.
The Eagles pulled away with five unearned runs in the fifth. Koeneman pounded a hanging breaking ball from Rosenberg over the left field fence for a three-run home run as the big blow in the inning.
Newberry got a two-run single from Zach Morgan in the ninth to score the game's final two runs.
Koeneman and Rorex did the damage for the Eagles. ROrex finished 4-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored, while Koeneman was 1-for-2 with a three run home run and three walks. He scored twice.
Scaggs led the Newberry offense with another multi-hit game. He was 2-for-3.
Game 2 – Carson-Newman 7, Newberry 6
Lance Rorex hit the first pitch in the bottom of the seventh inning over the left field fence for his second home run of the game, setting off a wild celebration for the Eagles as C-N won in walk-off fashion, 7-6.
Rorex's blast sent the Eagle seniors off in style in their final home game, culminating with a team dog-pile halfway up the first-base line when his teammates finally chased down Rorex.
The game started with the same dramatics it ended as the Eagles turned to the long ball in the first inning.
Following an RBI single by Albert Baur in the top of the first to give Newberry a 1-0 lead, Koeneman hit his second home run of the day in the bottom of the inning and Rorex roped his first home run, a two-shot, down the left field line as the Eagles built an early 4-1. Koeneman's blast carried over the fence in right centerfield for his 18th of the season.
Newberry cut into the lead with a pair of runs in the second off of C-N starter Ben McKinney.
Centerfielder Kevin Rufus doubled into the gap in left center for the Wolves first extra-base hit of the day and Welsey Camp followed with a doubled off the wall in left to score two, cutting the C-N lead to 4-3.
The Wolves took the lead in the fourth, capitalizing on a leadoff walk with back-to-back singles by Rufus and Camp to take a 5-4 lead. Both squared up balls back up the box on Eagle reliever Ryan Fillers.
Carson-Newman grabbed the lead back in the fifth on an RBI double by Rorex and a throwing error by Newberry reliever Alex Roberts.
Roberts fired wide of first base on a sacrifice bunt by Lance Reed to give the Eagles runners at the corners with no outs. Rorex followed with a double off the top of the wall in left to plate Koeneman, who drew a leadoff walk.
C-N ran itself out of potentially a big inning following the error, as Cody Fox was tagged out at the plate on a botched squeeze play and Trace Rogers was picked off at second. Newberry walked three Eagles in the inning to load the bases twice.
The Wolves tied the game in the bottom half as Rufus laced a line drive double to left to score Zach Morgan, who walked to lead off the inning.
C-N threatened to take the lead in the sixth as the Eagles moved a runner into scoring position on a Kirkpatrick single, but reliever Evan Brown struck out Reed to end the threat.
Newberry nearly took the lead in the seventh on one out double by Robby Scaggs in the seventh had Baur on the move toward home with the go-ahead run, but a perfect relay by Trace Rogers from shallow left center gunned down Baur at home to preserve the tie and set up Rorex's dramatics.
Ryan Fillers (WP, 6-5) picked up the win for the Eagles in relief battling through a couple of tight jams.
Camp and Rufus each had three hits to lead the Newberry attack. They combined to go 6-for-8 with three runs scored and five RBIs.
Rorex and Koeneman combined on a 4-for-5 effort with three home runs, six RBIs, and five runs scored.
Rorex is batting .593 over his last seven games, dating back to a 5-for-5 effort against Lincoln Memorial on April 6 at Smokies Park.
Carson-Newman will play in the 2012 Food Lion South Atlantic Conference Tournament beginning on Thursday. Seeding will be announced late Saturday evening.