WINGATE, N.C. --- Alex Llerandi scored three of his game-high five goals during a six-goal run by Wingate University as the 15th-ranked Bulldogs defeated Tusculum University 12-5 in South Atlantic Conference men's lacrosse action Saturday afternoon at Graham Gill Field.
Conor Gronbach scored four goals for the Bulldogs (10-3, 6-1 SAC), who outshot the Pioneers (6-6, 2-5 SAC) by a 58-21 margin and had a 17-3 edge in faceoffs. Wingate led 5-1 at halftime and held Tusculum scoreless for a stretch of 32 minutes, 6 seconds from late in the first quarter until late in the third quarter.
Lorenz Brown had two goals and an assist for the Pioneers, with Liam Macdonald contributing a goal and an assist. Nate Raymond and Jordan Daniel also scored for Tusculum, which had only 12 shots on goal in the match and turned the ball over 23 times.
The Bulldogs jumped to a 3-0 lead after seven minutes on goals by Llerandi, Joe Cooper and Gronbach before the Pioneers got on the scoreboard on a man-up goal by Daniel with 5:19 left in the first quarter. Wingate scored both second-quarter goals, from Bobby Padden and Dominic Piazza, to carry a 5-1 lead to halftime.
The Wingate lead grew to 9-1 with 6:13 left in the third quarter as Llerandi scored three times and Gronbach added his second of the day. Macdonald broke the Bulldog run by scoring with 3:13 left in the third quarter, but two goals from Gronbach, one with 35 seconds left in the third quarter and the second with 32 seconds gone in the fourth, gave Wingate an 11-2 lead.
Raymond cut the margin to 11-4 with 13:09 left, then Brown scored twice in a three-minute span sandwiched around the fifth of the afternoon from Llerandi as Wingate carried its 12-5 lead for the final 6:37.
Connor Coleman led the Tusculum defense with three caused turnovers and a pair of ground balls, with three ground balls apiece for Keegan Bell, Macdonald and Raymond. For Wingate, James Houston had a team-high seven ground balls along with four caused turnovers and Sean Moran had five ground balls. Llerandi, Ryan Ormerod and Padden each had four ground balls, and Wyatt Weiseman was 13-for-16 on faceoffs in the match.
Tusculum was successful on 22 of its 29 clear attempts and went 1-for-3 with the man advantage. Wingate was 20-for-23 on clears, including all 15 tries in the first half, and failed on both of its extra-man opportunities.
Pioneer keeper Ross Geiger finished with 14 saves and Alex Cordero had seven saves for Wingate, six in the first half.
Tusculum will conclude its regular season on Saturday, April 20 at Pioneer Field against Catawba, starting at 3 p.m.