JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. --- Carson-Newman swept a South Atlantic Conference doubleheader from visiting Tusculum on Wednesday, winning the opener 2-1 and capturing game two by a score of 7-2.
With the wins, the Eagles (38-10, 15-3 SAC) remain tied for first place in the conference with Lenoir-Rhyne heading into a showdown for the league championship on the road with the Bears on Saturday. The Pioneers (24-22, 8-10 SAC) will visit Catawba in their final conference twinbill Saturday at 1 p.m.
Game 1: Carson-Newman 2, Tusculum 1
The Eagles' Lacie Rinus (21-5) allowed a first-inning run, but was able to outduel the Pioneers' Taylor Plemons (11-12), who gave up runs in the first and third.
Tusculum took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Taylor Battle led off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch by Rinus and scored on a sacrifice fly by Michelle Miller. In the bottom of the first, Abby Fiessinger led off with a double and Kristen Toppel followed with a walk. After a strikeout and a fielder's choice left runners at first and second with two outs, KaraLynne Levi delivered a single to bring home Toppel with the tying run.
Carson-Newman went ahead 2-1 in the third as Fiessinger led off with a single and scored on a two-out double by Rinus. The Eagles threatened in the fourth, loading the bases on a single and two walks, but Plemons ended the threat by getting a popup for the final out.
Tusculum tried to rally as Miller had a two-out single in the fifth, Taylor Johnson had a leadoff single in the sixth and Treslyn Reese picked up a two-out pinch-single in the seventh, but Rinus retired the side each time to finish off the victory.
Rinus allowed seven hits and one earned run while striking out eight and walking none for the Eagles, while Plemons gave up two earned runs on six hits in six innings with five strikeouts and three walks.
Johnson led the Pioneers by going 2-for-3 at the plate, while Battle, Miller, Emily Hester and Robin Stoner each finished 1-for-3. Fiessinger was 2-for-3 with a walk for the Eagles, with Toppel walking twice and scoring a run.
Game 2: Carson-Newman 7, Tusculum 2
A four-run third inning helped propel the Eagles to a 7-0 lead, and Alli Webster took a shutout into the seventh inning before the Pioneers broke through with two runs. Rinus singled, walked twice and scored three runs for the Eagles while Katie Pritchett went 2-for-3 with three runs batted in for Carson-Newman in the nightcap.
Tusculum threatened in the first against Webster as Miller and Hester picked up back-to-back singles with one out, but a strikeout and a fielder's choice brought the inning to an end. Carson-Newman opened the scoring in the last of the second against Pioneer starter Eliza Davis as Rinus walked, took second on a sacrifice and scored on a single by Cheyenne Boles.
In the third, the Eagles scored four runs on an RBI double by Taylor Scott, an RBI single by Rinus, an RBI single by Pritchett and an error to go on top 5-0. Carson-Newman added two more runs in the fifth on a two-run single by Pritchett, but the would-be winning run was cut down at home plate on a double steal attempt.
Tusculum put two runners on base in the sixth on a single by Miller and an error, but a groundout kept the Carson-Newman lead at 7-0. The Pioneers finally broke through in the seventh as Stoner and Rachel Wisner opened the inning with back-to-back singles, with pinch-runner Shelby Griffin scoring on a groundout by Morgan Mahaffey. Battle added an RBI single to drive in Wisner, but Webster got the final out on a groundout.
Miller went 3-for-4 with three singles for the Pioneers, who had eight hits in the game. Scott was 2-for-4 with two runs scored for the Eagles, while Toppel was 2-for-3 with a walk and a stolen base.
Webster (17-5) gave up eight hits and two earned runs with no walks and four strikeouts for Carson-Newman. Davis (7-5) worked 2 2/3 innings for Tusculum, allowing five hits and four earned runs with a walk and a strikeout. Allison Pate threw the final three innings for the Pioneers, giving up two runs on four hits with a strikeout and two walks.