ANDERSON, S.C. – With just ten games remaining in the regular season, including six on the conference slate, the Anderson University baseball team will be looking for its third consecutive victory and sixth win in eight decisions when the Trojans visit Mars Hill for a three-game South Atlantic Conference series this weekend at Henderson Field.
First-pitch for Friday's series opener is scheduled for 3 p.m., with Saturday's twin bill slated for a noon start.
WHO: Anderson Trojans (16-23, 8-13 SAC) vs. Mars Hill Lions (19-21-1, 9-12 SAC)
WHERE: Henderson Field; Mars Hill, N.C.
WHEN: Friday, 3 p.m. / Saturday, Noon
Live Stats: AUTROJANS.COM
Anderson (16-23, 8-13 SAC) will be looking to take a big step toward claiming its second appearance in the postseason in four years when the Trojans and Lions face off. With six games left on the rigorous league schedule, Mars Hill is eighth in the conference standings, while the Trojans are one game behind in the battle to reach the eight-team South Atlantic Conference Tournament later this month.
The Trojan offense has come alive in April, as AU has scored a combined 73 runs and recorded 80 hits over their seven games, with AU seeking to earn its second straight series win over a league opponent after taking two of three from Wingate last week.
Sophomore Dillon Carpenter is tied for 15th in the league with his team-leading .358 batting average, while standing eighth with 41 RBI and 21st with a .533 slugging percentage. The Charlotte, N.C., native has 15 multi-hit games on the season, including five in the last seven contests. Classmate Matthew Overton continues to lead the SAC with 42 walks on the season and ranks eighth with eight home runs, while batting .311.
Senior Tyler Miller is also batting .311, while junior Jackson Strange has elevated his batting average 45 points, to .303, in the last 10 days. Redshirt freshman Chandler Castleberry has five home runs the last seven games and is tied for fifth in the league with 13 homers on the season.
Sophomore right-handed reliever Christian Carpenter leads the pitching staff with three wins and 17 appearances out of the bullpen, while sophomore Brent Reynolds paces the Trojan hurlers with a 3.81 ERA in 11 appearances, including three starts on the mound. Junior Matthew Stanley leads the squad with four saves.
LAST TIME OUT
Strange, Castleberry and senior William Thomas combined to drive in ten runs, as AU opened its four-game road swing by outscoring Lander, 14-10, last Tuesday night at Dolny Stadium.
Strange was 4-for-5 on the night, with a two-run homer, a double and a pair of run-scoring singles, while driving in four runs. Miller was 2-for-4 with a pair of singles, with junior Brandon Odachowski adding a double and a single. Carpenter was 2-for-6, with a pair of singles and Castleberry posted his team-leading 13th home run of the season and drove in three runs, while drawing two walks. Thomas also recorded three RBI with a fifth-inning triple.
Christian Carpenter evened his record at 3-3 on the season, while allowing a run on two hits in 1 2/3 innings of relief. He struck out four and walked one.
The Trojans scored two runs in the top of the first inning and again in the top of the third to claim a 4-1 lead before the Bearcats answered to take a 5-4 edge with a four-run fourth inning.
But AU countered by sending 14 batters to the plate in the top of the fifth and erupted for 10 runs, highlighted by Thomas' bases-loaded triple, to take a lead it would not surrender.
Lander added two runs in the sixth and three more in their final at-bat to set the final score.
SCOUTING THE LIONS
Mars Hill was tabbed to finish tied for fifth, alongside Carson-Newman, in the South Atlantic Preseason Coaches' Poll, after posting a 29-21 overall record last season, including a 14-9 mark in conference play and a fourth-place finish in the league.
The Lions are arguably one of hottest teams in the conference and have won 12 of their last 13 decisions, including 10 straight at one point. Similar to the Trojans, hot bats have keyed their recent success, as MHU has averaged 11 runs per contest during the 13-game span, including 35 runs in last weekend's three-game sweep at Carson-Newman.
THE SERIES VS. MARS HILL
The Trojans and Lions have met 28 times since the 2007 season, with Anderson holding an 18-10 advantage in the all-time series. The Trojans have won eight of the last 10 matchups.
AU wraps up the regular season with a season-high seven-game homestand by welcoming Limestone to the Electric City for a rare Monday doubleheader. The Trojans and Saints will square off at 4 p.m.