Pioneers sweep Falcons in baseball home opener

Daulton Martin hits this grand slam in the first game to spark Tusculum to a DH sweep over Notre Dame College (photo by Chuck Williams)
Daulton Martin hits this grand slam in the first game to spark Tusculum to a DH sweep over Notre Dame College (photo by Chuck Williams)

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. --- Daulton Martin went 5-for-9 with five RBI including a grand slam as the Tusculum University swept a doubleheader over visiting Notre Dame College (Ohio) Friday at Pioneer Park in TU's home opener.

The Pioneers (3-7) pounded out 13 hits while pitchers Charles Hall and Kent Noe combined on a 15-0 shutout over the Falcons (0-2).  TU won the night-cap 7-4 behind the strong pitching effort of starter Zach Sanders.

Game 1: Tusculum 15, Notre Dame (Ohio) 0

Martin's grand slam sparked a 7-run fourth inning in the opener as the Pioneers prevailed 15-0.  Hall tossed six masterful, shutout innings as he scattered four hits, two walks and struck out 10 to improve to 2-0 on the season and has yet to give up an earned run in his 17 innings this season while boasting a remarkable 32-3 strikeout to walk ratio.  Noe pitched the final three innings to record his first career save as he allowed two hits and three strikeouts of the 11 batters he faced.

Notre Dame opened the game with back-to-back singles by Lukas Thompson and Zach Santoro.  But Hall got out of the early jam with a pair of strikeouts and a caught stealing on the bases.

In the bottom of the second, TU broke through on Seth DeHaven's two-run triple to the gap in right field and a 2-0 lead for the Pioneers.

In the fourth, Tusculum sent 11 batters to the plate and posted five hits in the frame including Martin's grand slam over the right field wall for his third home run of the season.  Bryson Ford reached on a walk, stole second and came into score on Jarel McDade's one-out single.  Two batters later, Nate Montgomery lined a double down the left field line to bring in McDade with the Pioneers' seventh run of the inning.

Martin added his fifth RBI of the game on his one-out double off the wall in right field.  TU plated three runs in the seventh and one more in the eighth to cap the Tusculum scoring.

Meanwhile, Hall and Noe blanked the Falcons including Noe's perfect 1-2-3 inning in the ninth to snap the Pioneers seven-game losing streak.

Martin went 3-for-5 with two runs scored, while McDade and Zack Finchum finished with two hits each.  Freshman shortstop Jaden Steagall went 1-for-2 with a double and four runs scored.  Besides the 13 hits, Tusculum also drew seven walks and while six TU batters where hit by pitch, which is tied for the third-most hit batters in a single-game in school history.

For the Falcons, Thompson accounted for two of the Notre Dame's six hits.

Game 2: Tusculum 7, Notre Dame (Ohio) 4

Tusculum scored in five of its six innings at the plate led by Ford's 3-for-3 performance as the Pioneers won the second game 7-4.

Sanders pitched 6.2 innings, allowed five hits, four runs, one walk and two strikeouts in his 93-pitch effort as he evened his record at 1-1 on the season.

The Pioneers totaled 11 hits including four doubles while as TU scored one run each in the first, second , fourth and sixth innings, along with three runs in the third.

Trey Hinton put the Pioneers on the board in the first inning with his two-out single.  DeHaven reached with a two-out double in the third and scored on Steagall's RBI single to right field.  In TU's three-run frame in the third, McDade came through with a RBI single followed by a two-run double from Finchum as the Pioneers led 5-0.

Heading to the seventh inning leading 7-0, Sanders carried a one-hitter into the final frame.  But the Falcons made a furious rally in their final at-bat scoring four runs on five hits including a two-run triple by Matt Richards to chase Sanders out of the game.  TU reliever Austin Collins gave up a two-out RBI single to Joseph Paskell, but ended the game on a fly out.

The two teams will wrap up the four-game weekend series on Saturday with a doubleheader beginning at 2 p.m.  The first game will be a nine-inning contest followed by a seven-inning game in the weekend finale.