JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. --- Jarel McDade went 5-for-8 with eight RBI on the day as the Tusculum University baseball team swept a South Atlantic Conference doubleheader at Carson-Newman University Saturday afternoon at the Silver Diamond Complex. Tusculum third baseman Trey Hinton also had five hits in the twinbill, scored four runs and drew four walks.
The Pioneers (21-11, 9-3 SAC) won both games by identical scores of 12-8 to clinch TU's fourth consecutive league weekend series. Tusculum never trailed in either game but had to hold off several rallies from the Eagles (20-12, 3-8 SAC) and get 10 games above .500 for the first time this year.
Since starting the season 1-7, the Pioneers have posted a 20-4 record.
Game 1: Tusculum 12, Carson-Newman 8
McDade went 2-for-5 with five RBI including his three-run homer in the ninth as Tusculum won the opener 12-8 and snap a seven-game SAC losing streak to the Eagles, a drought dating back to 2015.
Trey Hinton led the hit-parade for the Pioneers as he reached base in all five of his plate appearances with two doubles, one single and a pair of walks. Nate Montgomery also had two hits for the Pioneers.
Carson-Newman's Tyler Thompson went 3-for-5 including his fifth home run of the season, while Ethan Goforth, John Sharpe and Jordan Griffin each had two-hit performances for the Eagles.
Tusculum dented the scoreboard first in the second inning as Hinton led off with a walk and later scored on McDade's one-out single. Thompson tied the game in the bottom of the second with a lead-off homer to left field.
TU retook the lead in the third as Montgomery singled and moved to second when Bradley Evans was hit by a pitch. Hinton doubled to center to bring home Montgomery and Evans crossed the plate on Chase Wullenweber's sacrifice fly for a 3-1 TU lead.
But back came C-N in the fifth as Goforth hit a two-out single and Sharpe tied the game at 3-3 with his two-run homer to left.
The Pioneers exploded for a six-run, sixth inning as 12 batters went to the plate in frame that included four hits, two walks, a hit batter and three C-N errors as Tusculum led 9-3.
The Eagles chipped away at the deficit in the bottom of the frame as back-to-back walks set the plate for Griffin who blasted a three-run shot over the left field wall and chase TU starter Zach Sanders out of the game. Andrew Willis came on in relief and retired the final two outs to preserve the 9-6 lead.
Willis struck out the side in the seventh but ran into trouble in the eighth as the Eagles plated two runs with two outs thanks to a Cal Smith RBI single and a run-scoring double off the bat of Micah Genter to trim the TU lead to 9-8. But Willis ended the inning with his sixth strikeout of the game.
Tusculum added four insurance runs in the ninth, including a three-run bomb by McDade for his third homer of the season as TU led 12-8 which would be the final score of the contest.
Sanders earned the victory to improve to 4-1 on the season as he went 5.1 innings, allowed six runs on eight hits, walked two and struck out six. C-N starter Matt Bradley (0-3) suffered the loss as he allowed six runs, four earned, four hits, four walks and seven strikeouts.
Game 2: Tusculum 12, Carson-Newman 8
McDade continued his hot-hitting on the day as he went 3-for-3 with a triple and three RBI as the Pioneers completed Saturday's sweep with a 12-8 win over Carson-Newman in the night-cap.
Tusculum vaulted to an 8-2 lead sparked by a six-run, second inning. But like the first game, TU had to fend off a pesky C-N team before holding onto the victory at the end.
The Pioneers finished with 11 hits for the team's fourth consecutive game with double-digit hits and eighth in their last nine.
Thompson answered in the bottom of the first for C-N with his second homer of the day, a two-out solo blast to center field to tie the game at 1-1.
TU mounted its second six-run inning of the day as 12 Pioneers went to bat. The first three batters reach including a Hinton single and walks from Wullenweber and Zack Finchum. McDade stepped up and hit bases-clearing triple to left as the Pioneers led 4-1. DeHaven brought home McDade with a sacrifice fly to make it 5-1. Martin followed with his 18th double of the season and after a C-N, Montgomery posted his second RBI hit in a row as the Pioneers led 6-1. Evans drew a walk to load the bases and Wullenweber was hit by a pitch to cap the six-run frame and extend the lead to 7-1.
The Eagles got a lead-off homer from Malik Kyle to cut the TU lead to 7-2. The Pioneers added a run in the third as McDade led off with a base hit, moved to second on a walk, stole third and scored on Ford's sacrifice fly out to make the scored 8-2. The Eagles scored two times in the bottom of the third thanks to RBI singles from Thompson and Kyle and a TU error as C-N cut the deficit to 8-4.
The Eagles scored a run in the fourth inning to draw within three at 8-5. TU added a run in the top of the sixth on DeHaven's second sacrifice fly of the game to make it 9-5. It would prove to be an important run as Carson-Newman roared back again with three runs in the bottom of the sixth including RBI doubles from Sharpe and Brendan Campbell as C-N was within a run at 9-8 and had the bases loaded with two outs with reliever Austin Collins on the mound. But he maintained the TU lead with a ground out as the game headed to the seventh.
Nine TU batters followed as Tusculum scored three runs in the seventh with the big hit coming on a two-run double from Finchum as the Pioneers led 12-8. C-N would not give up and had the tying run on deck in the seventh, but Collins got a line out to right field to end the game and secure his first collegiate save.
Harbor Jefferson (3-2) picked up the victory in a scheduled-start as he went three innings, allowed four hits, four runs (two earned), no walks and three strikeouts in his 48-pitch outing. Collins pitched the final two innings where he scattered three hits, with one walk, one strikeout and hit two batters.
C-N starter Kyle Cagle was tagged for the loss as the Eagles used seven pitchers in the series finale.
Tusculum returns to action on Tuesday when the Pioneers travel to Lee University for a 6 p.m. contest against the Flames.